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Due north

The majesty of Greenland: Irish photographer captures arctic beauty in new exhibition

The exhibition will take place in The Copper House off Synge Street next Wednesday.

FOR MANY PEOPLE the arctic is a place they will never get to see. The epic journey and sparse transport routes put it out of the reach for most travelers.

A new photo exhibition by Irish photographer Daragh Muldowney, however, ventures to capture the natural beauty of Greenland and bring it home for the people of Ireland to experience.

Speaking to, Muldowney described his ambition while taking the pictures for the collection saying, “I wanted my side of it to be a ethereal, alluring body of work that was tied together in one tight concept.”

arctic picture 3 Daragh Muldowney Daragh Muldowney

For the above photograph Muldowney had to venture across the icy wilderness with the assistance of an Inuit hunter to reach a vantage point.

Upon reaching it, getting the light and positioning of the camera correct was important in achieving the right affect.

There was an area I really wanted to get to on this small island. [In Greenland] there was 24 hours of sunlight a day. From 11am to about 4pm, the sun would be shining into my face. It meant the ice moving past me on one side was all backlit by the sun… A reflection from the ice created a darkness.

In post-production the background of the picture was changed to pure black. The reason for this, Muldowney explained, was to show the iceberg in the way that a piece of jewellery might be presented, on a velvet black background. 

Daragh Muldowney / Vimeo

Much of Muldowney’s work to date has focused on nature. A common theme has been capturing abstract natural imagery.

I find there is a healing power in nature – there is a feel good factor there. Even the fact you are getting fresh air. I believe if you focus and really take note you can heighten that healing energy.

arctic picture 2 Daragh Muldowney Daragh Muldowney

The journey to arctic took place for Daragh as part of a journey organised by the Killary Adventure Centre. The exhibition set out last June and traveled from Galway to the fifth largest town in Greenland, Assiaat, which has a population of just 5,000. The journey covered a distance of more than 1,600 miles.

Once in Greenland the exhibition continued north along the west coast.

As part of the journey the crew covered an extensive distance by kayak. They spent two weeks paddling along the coast of Greenland and covered a distance of more than 500 km.

arctic picture 1 Daragh Muldowney Daragh Muldowney

For the journey Daragh was loaned equipment by Canon and given help to process the images for his exhibition. This made it the first time the photographer had shot a body of work on digital equipment.

“They have supported the exhibition… they were great and they gave me the highest quality equipment” said Muldowney. 

With digital there is the temptation to rattle off loads of shots. What I’ve tried to do with this work is to approach it more like I have an analog camera in hand. To be more discerning with each photo I take.

The exhibition will take place next week in the Copper House Gallery off Synge Street. The book from the ‘Out of Thin Air’ exhibition is available to buy here.

Photos: This man’s been documenting life on Ireland’s Wild Western Islands for over 50 years…

Gallery:  18 brilliant winning images from the World Press Photo contest

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