Geoff Greenham is a photographer who fouces on landscape, still life and portraiture (mostly informal). He also uses software to make composite images. His photographs in this year’s ‘Home Ground’ West Cork Creates exhibition “feature places in Skibbereen as they were in 1990 incorporated into images of those same places as they are today. The streetscape and skyline of Skibbereen has changed in the 35 years I have lived here.”
Whether it’s landscape, photo montage, still life or portraiture, Geoff’s imagery strives to capture an emotional response, an elevation of the ordinary to the extraordinary.
The moment of shutter release becomes his moment of insight.
The paradox of looking out through the lens and finding something that lies deep within.
Hi passion is creating and photographing still life compositions. “It’s demanding,” he shares “but you have total control over everything, the lighting, setup, nothing is left to chance.”
Momento mori is a common theme running through his work. “Dead birds, leaves, dried flowers, all reminders of the inevitability of death, we are just passing through.”
Before turning to photography Geoff worked as a stained glass artist for 30 years where he undertook many private, commercial and ecclesiastical commissions.
His last big commission in stained glass was The Glen Church in Cork in 2009-10. “It consisted of 14 huge windows in a repetitive design: I designed a wave going all around the church. It took a year to complete and afterwards I couldn’t look at a piece of stained glass again,” shares Geoff.
Since 2012, Geoff has devoted his energy and creativity fulltime to photography.
Born to a Polish mother in the UK, Geoff is hoping to soon become an Irish citizen. ‘I feel more Irish than anything else,” he says.
When he first arrived in West Cork in the 1970s, on a tour of the South of Ireland on motorbike, he describes feeling “an incredible sensation of ‘home’” when stopping at the lay-by on the N71 that overlooks Roaring Water Bay, the islands and the ruin that is now Jeremy Irons’ refurbished Kilcoe Castle. “I had an unusual sensation of home and belonging, that I could live in this beautiful part of the world, that it was comfortable, that I could set down roots here.”
Years passed and Geoff ended up falling for a Cork woman in Corfu, his future wife, who brought him home to meet her parents.
“Her father suggested we go Skibbereen, the place of his birth and where many of his relatives still lived. So off we set in a rented car and after many introductions and cups of tea, we eventually ended up at the lay-by on the N71 that overlooks the bay, the islands and the castle. Imagine my astonishment to see this view again and to learn that Dan, my future father in law, had been born in the house next to the lay-by.
“Time passed and we eventually inherited land overlooking the lay-by, the bay and the castle, which is where we have lived for the last 32 years.
‘Anseo.’ It’s a mystery why this land spoke to me but I’m thankful to it.”
Geoff is currently exhibiting in The Blue House Gallery, Schull.