Exhibition at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton

Have you ever been to the Leitrim Sculpture Centre in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim? 

It is a beautiful gallery and I am currently part of an exhibition there, which is very exciting! I have a piece in the exhibition "After the Blacksmith" by Dr Mhairi Sutherland which runs between 16.11.18-01.12.18. Do pop by to see it if you are in the neighbourhood!
Dr. Mhairi Sutherland at the exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith."  Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
Dr. Mhairi Sutherland at the exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith."
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

Using an elusive 19th century photographic album of Leitrim called the Leland Lewis Duncan Archive as a starting point, Mhairi's exhibition is a beautiful mix of photography, ironwork casts and drawings, which have all been "researched, created and presented within the context of Leitrim." The launch was on Friday 16.11.18 and these photographs were taken on the night. It was a wonderful evening, full of beautiful art and fascinating people and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also really enjoyed the whole process of creating my piece for the exhibition and will tell you more about that, but first some photographs that I took before the gallery was full of visitors.
After the Blacksmith - Drawings - Dr. Mhairi Sutherland Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
After the Blacksmith - Drawings - Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
After the Blacksmith - Analogue photographic series - Dr. Mhairi Sutherland Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
After the Blacksmith - Analogue photographic series - Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

After the Blacksmith - Castings - Dr. Mhairi Sutherland Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
After the Blacksmith - Castings of fragment of funerary railing from Manorhamilton Church of Ireland Graveyard - Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

After the Blacksmith -Prints by Sara Leahy, Louise Gallagher, Jonas Dellow. Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
After the Blacksmith - Digital photographic prints by Sara Leahy, Louise Gallagher, Jonas Dellow and Martin Cooke in collaboration with Dr. Mhairi Sutherland.
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

Together with 3 others, I was invited to partake as part of a collaboration with Mhairi, and was asked to create a photograph on the theme "Doubling" while also showing the relationship and contrast between earlier and current photography. I decided to also use the Leland Lewis Duncan Archive as a starting point, and to create a contemporary version/doubling of the photographs found in the archive.

While visiting his sister's house in Leitrim in the late 1800s, Leland Lewis Duncan photographed members of his family as well as their servants and tenants, and meticulously collected notes on each photograph he took. This archive was recently sold to an unknown buyer, so it is difficult to see the photographs in person, but many of the images are gathered in a book called "The Face of Time" by priest and historian Liam Kelly which can be borrowed at the library.
Daughters of the Blacksmith - Drawing by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
Daughters of the Blacksmith - Drawing from photograph ("The blacksmith's two daughters in their Sunday best" 1889, The Face of Time, 1995) - Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography



A photograph in this book which stood out to me, was one of two sisters, dressed in matching black dresses, looking unselfconciously into the camera. I decided to recreate this photograph, but with a modern spin to contrast with 19th Century photography.

Back then, all photography was black and white, so I edited mine in colour. Back then, only natural light was used, so I lit my subjects with flash. Back then, children would often be dressed in matching clothes, while today, my girls at least, pick their own outfits. Back then, people would not have been used to cameras and would often stare straight into the lens. Today, with cameras everywhere, and being the daughters of a photographer, looking into the camera is not a priority. 

Digital photograph by Sara Leahy for the exhibition "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland.
"Ella and Maia, Dromahair, Co. Leitrim, 2018" - Digital photograph by Sara Leahy for the exhibition "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland.


Leland Lewis Duncan also photographed his subjects in their natural environment, in front of their home or workplace. His own family and friends would often be elevated in their posing, while servants and tenants would be standing on the ground, marking a clear social distinction between the two.

I used Coillte's recent clear cutting just outside Dromahair as the apocalyptic backdrop for my photograph, to highlight a current issue - the natural exploitation of my local area. Below is a 2nd version on the same theme. It was hard to pick between the two, which one is your favourite?
"Ella and Maia, Dromahair, Co. Leitrim, 2018, Version 2" - Digital photograph by Sara Leahy
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The four photographers invited to partake in the exhibition were Sara Leahy, Louise Gallagher, Jonas Dellow and Martin Cooke - all members of the Manorhamilton Camera Club. Mhairi had our photographs beautifully printed and framed and they are hanging in the main gallery of the Leitrim Sculpture Centre, alongside her own work. The colourful pieces contrast wonderfully with Mhairi's monochrome work and it was really exciting to see everything come together at the launch last Friday. My piece is named "Ella and Maia, Dromahair, Co. Leitrim, 2018" in a nod to the matter of fact descriptions Leland Lewis Duncan used for his photographs.

Digital photographic print by Sara Leahy Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
Ella and Maia, Dromahair, Co. Leitrim, 2018 - Digital photographic print by Sara Leahy
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

Digital photographic print by Louise Gallagher Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
Just the Two of Us - Digital photographic print by Louise Gallagher
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

Reflections - Digital photographic print by Jonas Dellow Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
Reflections - Digital photographic print by Jonas Dellow
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

Digital photographic print by Martin Cooke Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
Eden Point, Lough Melvin, County Leitrim - Digital photographic print by Martin Cooke
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

After the Blacksmith - Digital photographic prints by Sara Leahy, Louise Gallagher, Jonas Dellow and Martin Cooke in collaboration with Dr. Mhairi Sutherland.
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
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Thank you so much to Dr. Mhairi Sutherland for inviting me to partake. I absolutely loved every second of it! The exhibition is running until the 01.12.18 in the Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Here are a few more photographs from the night of the launch. My girls enjoyed describing their experience of partaking to the visitors. Well, one of them did anyway...!

Exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland   Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
At the exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

Exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland   Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
At the exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography


Exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland   Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
At the exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography

Exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland   Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography
At the exhibition launch of "After the Blacksmith" by Dr. Mhairi Sutherland
Photographed by Sara Leahy Photography