Finn O'Hara : Statement

Artist Statement:

My environmental portraits begin with the trappings of any given situation. The surrounding site is a significant player in my photographs, as are the experiences and the personalities who live or inhabit the space itself.

When composing my work, I position myself at the eye level of the participants in my images, and use subtle lighting techniques to capture the attention of the audience. I want the viewer to be put in a position relative to these narrative landscapes, directed by compositional and lighting cues, and become an engaged observer of these specific moments. I use large-format film or digital systems to be as precise as possible in retaining layers of the various elements of visual complexity, giving the viewer intimate and minute details of private encounters between myself and my subjects.

Giving Context is a new collaboration with painter Steve Driscoll and myself, which features Driscoll’s contemporary landscape paintings against rural land and cityscapes, framed and set in environments that contextualize the essence of each painting.

Over the years, we have been greatly influenced by our northern Canadian experiences. This collaboration embraces our extensive northern exposures, and finds its influence ranging from the untouched beauty of Boreal forests, to the human impressions left by previous adventurers. We seek to bring our observations, these northern truths, to the collaboration and produce works that invoke within the viewer a reminder of the cycles of the natural world and the impression of northern beauty.
We are interested in the question of narrative, and how photography is distinct from, but connected to, other narrative forms like writing and film. This idea of creating a moment with Driscoll’s painting, that’s frozen and mute, that perhaps ultimately asks more questions than it answers, proposes an open-ended and ambiguous narrative that allows the viewer to, in a sense, complete it. Ultimately, we are interested in this ambiguous moment that draws the viewer in through photographic beauty, intrigue, and indistinguishable tension.