Friday, April 24, 2015

Hazel Coonagh


"My name is Hazel and I'm a Dublin based photographer and image maker. I work mainly in editorial photography but I also keep various personal projects and collaborations going in my spare time. I love working with like minded creative people and experimenting with new techniques and ideas, I think it's always important to keep pushing yourself in different directions and to keep evolving and learning for as long as possible."

"I was very curious of photography from a young age. I always loved looking through old family albums as a kid and got my first camera at little market for 2 pounds when I was about 8. I kept playing around with different point and shoot film cameras through out my teenage years, where it started to develop from a hobby to a something I really loved. I got my first fully manual film camera at eighteen and knew from then on that I wanted to be a photographer. I went to college for four years where I studied Visual Communication and have been working as a freelance photographer since graduating in 2010."

"The best thing I find [to break out of a creative block] is to take a break and get your mind off what ever you're having trouble with. Over thinking ideas can destroy them so you're best to clear the head and come back to it later. I also think stress and pressure can kill creativity. If it's not fun anymore then there's probably something wrong and I need to remind myself it's just photography, not brain surgery."

"The Star Wars body painting shoot was great fun and a real team effort. I can't take credit for the idea, I think it was either Bluebird, who plays Boba Fett in the shot, or it was Lois Maples who plays Darth Vadar. Bluebird one of my oldest friends and works as an alternative model and piercer. We have very similar aesthetics so we collaborate a lot, you'll see her in a lot of my other work including the 'Marie Antoinette' and 'Wind Nymph' images. We both love sci-fi and comics so once they needed a photographer for this one she knew I'd jump at the chance. The painting it's self was done by Noeleen Cunningham who is a fantastic make up artist. It's a fairly long process, I can't remember exactly how long but it was a few hours. We shot the ladies in Bluebirds living room and I later comped them onto a backdrop I asked my friend and illustrator Michelle Anderson to do. We all had a great time shooting it and were very happy with how our little tribute turned out!"

"I think I'm drawn to portraits simply because I love people. A strong portrait can be very a very powerful thing, it can help people relate to one another which is something I love about photography. I also love creating characters in more of the conceptual approach to portraits, it's a great way to express the worlds we see in our minds and project parts of who we are on to the subject to share with the world."

"I've lived close to the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin more or less all my life so I've spent a huge amount of time there. All the nature shots you see here are from the gardens. It's a big, beautiful space which was brilliant when I was starting to learn how to use a film camera. I spent hours in there practicing and I guess I just haven't stopped! I love the outdoors and there's nothing really quite as beautiful as the things created in the natural world. The gardens are great to wander around in and forget about the rest of the world for an hour, I love getting up close and seeing the details that we'd usually miss."


"Inspiration comes from everything and anything from nature to subcultures to paintings. I'm inspired a lot by cinema, if I ever take a photo that I think could have been a still from a movie then I'm very happy. My father brought myself and my brother up watching a lot of great films which I think sunk in at a young age and helped me develop an eye for composition. Also my mother used to run a book store in the city called the 'Alchemist's Head', which sold graphic novels and comics. It closed when I was quite young but the illustrations and artworks I'd find had already made an impression on me."

(Interview by Carli Rentsch)

1 comment:

  1. woohoo the amazing Hazel Coonagh! One of Irelands brightest rising stars <3