Sligo Photographers and their Art

In sligo we have a wealth of creative talent, not least in the art of photography. During lockdown, where we may have been spending more time on our phones, our local photographers have kept our creative cup filled with beautiful imagery of Sligo landscapes, portraits, wildlife, captures of Sligo business and more.

We spoke with a few photographers about why they love their chosen medium and asked them to show us their favourite images and what they admire in their contemporaries. The images are truly wonderful and breathtaking. Enjoy.

Portraiture and Weddings in Sligo

Ali Stewart is a portrait photographer originally from Clontarf, Dublin but has been living in Byron Bay, Australia for the last 10 years. She only moved back a year ago and always wanted to live in the west of Ireland. she fell in love with Sligo when visiting back in 2017 so thought it would be the perfect place to live seeing as it has the surf on it’s doorstep for her Australian hubby.

Regards starting a photography business in a pandemic Ali said “What an unusual year to move home, there has been so many challenges but we are savouring all the best bits!” she added “I’ve been photographing for as long as I can remember, but started to take it more seriously as soon as I became a mamma, 9 years ago. I love to take a more documentary approach to photography. I adore natural light and love to capture emotive images. I love my images to tell a story. My two children feature heavily in my work because I love seeing the world through their eyes. Ireland has so many incredible photographers that I am stumbling across daily. This little island is a talented bunch. 

Ali Stewart
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Ali Stewart

“Lots of people wish to have more photos of their family on their walls, but find the idea of getting it done stressful…” – Sara Leahy

Sara Leahy is an award winning family photographer based in Sligo and has been helping big-hearted parents decorate their homes with beautiful family portraits since 2016. 

We all know how nerve-racking having your photo taken can be so Sara’s approach is really relaxed, she said “When you get your family portraits done with me, I take care of everything – from printing and framing to making sure you have a stress-free and enjoyable experience throughout. I even do home visits to plan your portraits around your family and the style of your home. And when your family portraits are ready, I deliver them to your doorstep so you don’t have to worry about a thing! So there is no stress – just beautiful family photographs to fill the walls of your home.” She also quoted a very famous fashion photographer when we asked her why she loves taking photos ………“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld”. You can see more of her work on her Instagram page. Aware of all of the wonderful talent in Sligo, Sara added “My favourite Sligo photographer is Eithne Gallagher. Not only is she an amazing landscape photographer, but she is also such great craic!”

To book a free consultation call, please visit: saraleahyphotography.com

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Sara Leahy
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Sara Leahy

Melanie O’Reilly a portrait and landscape photographer is offering outdoor sessions at the moment, obviously due to Covid restrictions but the weather will be looking up soon and Melanie can take some beautiful and timeless photos for you. You can call her on 087 119 2387.

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Melanie O’Reilly
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Melanie O’Reilly

Sligo Landscapes

Ciaran McHugh, a sligo landscape photographer has always been fascinated by photographs, “When I was a growing up the National Geographic magazine came into the house every month and it would have been a big inspiration to me.  I’ve always been amazed by how their photographers manage to bring a landscape to life so vividly” 

Ciaran told Sligo Hub “I’ve been taking photographs since I was 7 or 8 and a while back I came across my very first panorama photograph which was taken from the top of Knocknarea back in the late 80’s. I had taken 4 separate photos with my mum’s point-and-shoot 35mm film camera and used a scalpel to join the shots together on a card mount! One of the best moments for me is when someone emails me a photograph of one of my images hanging pride of place in their house.  Many of my images are often taken in my mind’s eye for years before I manage to get all the elements to align and actually get to take the photograph. So to see a moment in time captured and printed out as a big 2m canvas in someone’s home is a great feeling. 

Photography is incredibly subjective, its all about having an emotional connection with an image.  My own personal favourite image would be one of my earlier panorama photographs, The Glen at Knocknarea. Growing up in Ransboro I spent a lot of time exploring and camping in the glen and have always found it to be a magical place.  Another more recent favourite of mine is Meteor Over Benbulben, taken during the first Lockdown at the foot of Benbulben mountain. This was only my second attempt at star photography. I was just in the middle of 30 second exposure a bit after midnight and watching the sky while I waited. A massive meteor appeared and took 4-5 seconds to cross the sky before spitting in two and burning up at entry to the atmosphere. It was one of the most impressive things I have seen.

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Meteor Over Benbulben

It really was a one in a million shot. In order to capture it I had to be out with my camera and have the shutter open for a timed night exposure with all the correct settings in place for the fireball to blaze into the frame. It was a case of being the right place at the right time – and a huge dollop of luck. The image featured in Astronomy Ireland and was seen well over a quarter of a million times online.”

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The Glen at Knocknarea

Ciaran also admires his contemporaries and said “Sligo is fortunate to have many landscape photographers, no doubt due to our incredible scenery.  Its really very hard to pick a favorite but I am often drawn to the work of Fred Corcoran, probably as his work is both fantastic and also quite different to my own”  You can see more of Ciaran’s work here.

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Image by Fred Corcoran

Wildlife

You may have come across Gavin McGoldrick’s photos via his Instagram feed. His images are of the stunning fauna of Sligo forests, lakes and rivers. When you look at his photos you can’t help but wonder at the amount of patience he has and the skill of course. Some of the animals he captures so perfectly are very timid and rarely seen by your regular person. His prints are for sale, you can contact him via his website.

Gavin told us about his photos below, “the first shot is of an “Irish Stoat” shot taken in Union Wood after sitting for a few hours waiting on a fox to show. I was stoked to get this encounter whilst walking on my ‘tippie toes’ through a wooded area on route to my car. This moment will stay with me for quite some time! One of my favourite animals to photograph. So hard to track down as they have a very large territory. So cute but ruthless little hunters! 

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The image of the Heron is titled ‘ A Rare Moment of Reflection’ The shot was taken at Ballisodare Bay. So much we can learn from the life of a heron. They ooze qualities such as calmness, patience and determination. A real spectacle to watch them take off, in flight or landing. Another I love to spend time with and photograph.

Sligo has so many fantastic photographers, a real treat to scroll the news feed each day seeing all the wonderful shots. I really enjoy seeing what Fred Corcoran posts each day. His work is phenomenal.”

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Gavin McGoldrick

Corey Whyte another wildlife photographer has free downloadable images of lovely robins at the moment. How fab, have a look at his website.

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Judging by the above photographs, which are just a snippet of what’s available, Sligo really does have a great range of talent when it comes to drawing with light. And, we think they bring a little light into our online feeds every day. How about you?

Sligo Hub