Fash­ion Pho­tog­ra­pher Ro­nan Gal­lagher’s se­ries of por­traits for Stella McCart­ney’s # Stel­laByKids web­site cam­paign

Pho­tog­ra­pher Ro­nan Gal­lagher spot­ted his lat­est sub­jects at a fair in his home­town of En­nisty­mon, writes Deirdre McQuil­lan

The Irish Times Magazine - - NEWS -

Dressed in Stella McCart­ney’s faux fur leop­ard print jack­ets, two sis­ters from the Trav­el­ling com­mu­nity strike a pose for Ir­ish pho­tog­ra­pher Ro­nan Gal­lagher. He was in­spired to shoot a se­ries of por­traits for the de­signer’s # Stel­laByKids web­site cam­paign when he spot­ted the Trav­eller fam­ily in his home­town, En­nisty­mon, Co Clare.

“There is a small agri­cul­tural fair that hap­pens in my lo­cal town in Ire­land ev­ery cou­ple of months,” says the doc­u­men­tary and travel pho­tog­ra­pher. “It is noth­ing new or ex­cit­ing for the lo­cals but ev­ery time I have been there I have seen an abun­dance of in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters. There is a group of kids who reg­u­larly at­tend this fair and I thought it would be a great op­por­tu­nity to pho­to­graph them for this par­tic­u­lar project.”

He says the chil­dren, who are are all part of the same fam­ily, were de­lighted to take part. “They were in­cred­i­ble. I just fol­lowed them around the fair and doc­u­mented them, which is my favourite way of shoot­ing. One of the older kids was very in­ter­ested in my job so I gave him a one- on- one les­son. I let him as­sist me chang­ing the lens – he seemed ea­ger to take up pho­tog­ra­phy as a hobby, which felt quite re­ward­ing.”

The for­mer surfer from Bare­field, out­side En­nis, has be­come one of the most sought- af­ter pho­tog­ra­phers in fash­ion, in­ter­na­tion­ally known for his doc­u­men­tary style. He has worked with Gucci ex­ten­sively, and with Kate Moss, and has trav­elled widely for Unicef.

In­ter­pret­ing the Stella McCart­ney kids col­lec­tion in # Stel­laByKids, he chose to cap­ture what he calls the “off mo­ments” of his sub­jects at the En­nisty­mon Fair. The re­sult­ing pho­to­graphs of Trav­eller chil­dren have a unique charm and en­ergy.

Gal­lagher has re­cently be­come a fa­ther, wel­com­ing his daugh­ter Pearl to his fam­ily.

As he com­pleted a fash­ion shoot for Coach Hand­bags in Los An­ge­les, we talked to him about his pho­tog­ra­phy ca­reer. The ma­jor­ity of your work cap­tures peo­ple on and off guard. How did you find your sub­jects? I shoot a lot of street pho­tog­ra­phy. I nat­u­rally fo­cus on sub­jects that fol­low a mun­dane rou­tine like wait­ing for a bus. I like those ‘ off- mo­ments’ when peo­ple just look nor­mal. That’s what in­ter­ests me. How did you get into pho­tog­ra­phy? I grew up on the west coast of Ire­land sur­rounded by amaz­ing land­scapes and surf. My brother got me into pho­tog­ra­phy af­ter re­turn­ing from surf trips and show­ing me pic­tures he had taken. I went out and bought some dis­pos­able cam­eras from my lo­cal phar­macy and started tak­ing pic­tures of my skate­board­ing friends. It just grew from there. Have you al­ways been fas­ci­nated by peo­ple? I love lis­ten­ing to peo­ple’s sto­ries and doc­u­ment­ing in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters. Pho­tog­ra­phy opened up this world for me more than I could imag­ine. What makes an in­ter­est­ing im­age for you? Some­thing that is a lit­tle bit off. I like when an im­age has a nar­ra­tive to it. Alex Webb [the cel­e­brated US Mag­num pho­tog­ra­pher] is a mas­ter of this.

Who is your most mem­o­rable sub­ject? I pho­tographed a guy called Leo Bud Welch in Mis­sis­sippi. He is an 85- year- old blues player who was only re­cently “dis­cov­ered” and who started his ca­reer ( trav­el­ling to play in­ter­na­tional gigs) in 2014. He was of­fered the chance to au­di­tion for BB King in the 40s and 50s, but couldn’t af­ford the trip to Mem­phis at the time so missed the op­por­tu­nity. He is such a tal­ented man and an amaz­ing char­ac­ter. I just re­ally en­joyed

I nat­u­rally fo­cus on sub­jects that fol­low a mun­dane rou­tine like wait­ing for a bus – Ro­nan Gal­lagher

spend­ing time with him and hear­ing about his life and his mu­sic. Would you say there is an el­e­ment of

doc­u­men­tary to your work? Yes, most of my in­spi­ra­tion comes from doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phers. I like to ap­ply that to my fash­ion shots too.

■ The Stella Kids col­lec­tion can be bought on­line at stel­lam­c­cart­ney.com and Brown Thomas, Dublin.

Op­po­site page: Beck­ett check jack­ets, ¤ 175 and Tilly faux fur tiger coat, ¤ 150, with Lil­lian tiger print knit trousers, ¤ 90. Left: fleece base­ball jacket ¤ 108 and trousers ¤ 49, red check coat ¤ 224 with grey trousers ¤ 49. Be­low: Ab­bie faux fur...

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