Gillian Hyland's photographs are part of the ongoing project ‘Words in Sight’, which is a narrative photography series that has been inspired by poetry written by the artist over the past decade. The poems portray raw feelings from personal experiences. Each poem encapsulates memories and emotions in words and is then transformed into images, which offer a new perspective on past events.
Hyland’s mesmerizing and supernatural staged images are presented as film stills or dramatic moments from around the world. Hyland’s unsettling mise-en-scène are full of sex and desire, sadness and nostalgia. Narratives that are psychologically evocative - at once sublimely theatrical yet poignant. Frozen in time, solitary and vulnerable moments are presented in glorious technicolor and timeless sets. Hyland describes herself as an image maker and story teller. Her dramatic photographs are based on her own poems, and depict characters in human dramas and isolated emotional situations.
In 2016 the artist travelled to Cuba for a series of images that have proven amongst her most popular. Her work The Road Less Travelled won the Sony Portrait Prize for Ireland. Hyland says of Cuba, “Cuba is so evocative, it is like being in the 1950’s, there is an extraordinary aesthetic there. The mix and the diversity of people is very inspiring, my eyes were constantly drawn to everything around me. It is so unpredictable and striking. The first few days I devoured the streets totally entranced by the chaotic range of buildings, the varied styles all sitting next to each other, and the faded grandeur of a city once soaked in money and glamour. The vibrancy of the people oozes out of them in every sense, from the way they walk, dance, talk and laugh, they enjoy life and live in the moment.”
Capturing her memories and emotions in words she then transforms these into images, offering new perspectives. Composing the shot is a lengthy process. Setting up a shot can take up to three weeks of preparation. Choosing characters, Hyland looks for people who can give something of themselves.
Hyland adds, “I want the viewer to look at my image and see themselves. The use of sets and costumes is part of creating a story that we can all identify with, a past of which we can just recall parts. It’s not about creating a pretty picture, for me it’s the intention that lies beneath it that is truly worthwhile. I’m drawn to the thinking mind behind the face, the subject’s eyes holding a story in their gaze, that is what I aim to capture through my photographs.”
The imagery plays with notions of nostalgia, and taps into society’s cultural understanding of feelings and beliefs. The composition of each image suggests a larger narrative within a single moment. The photograph explores Hyland’s sense of self and society and aims to engage and trigger an emotional response from the viewer.
Hyland’s visual career began as a stylist and set designer. Highly successful, the move to photography was a natural progression in wanting to create her own imagery. Acclaimed for her use of colour and settings, Hyland has used the same title for this body of work since its inception in 2014 and is now bringing her highly regarded pieces together in a covetable hardcover format.
Born in Dublin in 1982 artist and photographer Gillian Hyland lives and works in London. Hyland personally composes every aspect of her pictures, a skill gained from fourteen years in the visual arts industry, as a stylist, art director and set designer. This diverse background helped her realise and develop an artistic, photographic approach which led to the creation of the series Words in Sight.
The series of works have been shown at art and photo fairs in Korea, Thailand, America, China, Italy, France, Ireland and the UK. Hyland’s works have been published by Harpers Baazar, The Telegraph, The Independent, Huffington Post, Wall Street International, 125 Magazine, Creative Boom, Feature Shoot, Aesthetica Magazine and more.
Hyland has exhibited around the world and received several awards, including the Sony Portrait Award, International Photographer of the Year, Travel Photography Society Awards, IPA, National Open Art, Royal Arts Prize, Magenta Flash Forward, La Quatrieme Image, AX3 – American Aperture Award, Moscow International Photo Award, PX3 – Prix de la Photographie, and the PDN Curator Awards.
Hyland’s first published book will be a self-published stunning selection of photographs and poems by the artist, spanning ten years of work and will showcase for the first time the pictures with the words together, giving a deeper perspective and insight into the series. The hardcover book will be cloth bound, 240 x 310 mm with 128 pages of photographs and poems, RRP £45.
The Kickstarter was launched on Monday 18 September 2017 and will run for six weeks, ending on Monday 30 October. The campaign aims to raise £12,500. The Kickstarter offers donors rewards for different levels of support. Rewards range from a box of 25 postcards for a £25 donation, to a whole luxury support package, including framed limited edition prints, signed copies of the book and an invitation to the London 2018 book launch for those who pledge to donate £4,500.
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The opening reception for the exhibition will be from 6.30pm -8.30pm on 28 September 2017. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
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