SLIDESHOW: ‘It's like art - it’s very subjective’ says Limerick photographer

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


“SAY cheeeese” isn’t a phrase you will hear Cormac Byrne utter too often.

“I like taking portraits where the subjects are a little serious and more natural looking, especially when photographing children. It doesn’t date.

“When anyone smiles, their eyes close a little and so the serious expressions are more true of our features,” explains Cormac, who specialises in wall portraits and pieces of art for clients’ homes

He says he “lives and breathes photography”.

“When I see images, I always think about how they were taken and analyse them. It is just the way I am.”

Cormac takes photos of lots of youngsters and has fond memories of his own childhood growing up on Carey’s Road.

“We played gates (soccer on the road using the small entrance gates to the houses as goals). Apart from family, the other big part of my life is sport, in particular, volleyball. I still play and coach the game.”

After school in St Clement’s, Cormac started working in Wang Labs in Castletroy.

“I was always interested in photography and in Wang I got the opportunity to start my photographic journey. I bought a second hand camera which was posted for sale on the work noticeboard.

“There was a darkroom in the company and I remember spending two or three night per week in it up to 1am or 2am sometimes, developing negatives and printing from them. I photographed work events and sporting fixtures and worked on the company magazine, along with two other photographers in the company. There I learned the basics of how to develop film and print.”

Cormac started to shoot weddings for friends and workmates. When Wang closed down, he went out on his own as a full-time photographer.

A studio was built onto his house and then a few years later they extended again to give them an even better studio and reception. Cormac’s meat and drink became studio work with some fashion and commercial work making more of an appearance.

“I was lucky to gain a lot more business after we won a number of Fuji and Irish professional photographic national awards. Every few years I like to enter photographic awards to help with our advertising and also because it gives me the chance to shoot more inspiring images. We have been lucky enough to win European awards for our images three years in-a-row.”

The one question we have asked all participants in this series is, “What makes a good photographer?”

“I would think a great eye, maybe even two of them! It could be any of the following - a great subject, a great occasion, a great moment in history or it can even be just sheer luck… One great photograph could be luck but many great photographs has to mean a pretty experienced and knowledgeable photographer.

“But what might seem a great photograph to one person may not be a great photograph to another. It's like art - it’s very subjective.”

Any objective person would find it hard to criticise any of these photographs.

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