Artist Profile: Rebecca O’Flaherty

Rebecca O’Flaherty is a 20-year-old Photographer and student at Ulster University Belfast. Rebecca spoke to The Jumble about her inspirations, the world around her, and keeping her younger sister entertained during lock down. 

I have been into photography since I was around 12, years of hard work meant that I had developed a much more independent practice by about 2019. My photography has a fine art touch to it, or a deepness to it (which I am still exploring). Lately, my work has been very intimate and personal, focusing on my own daily reflections and  my family’s day to day life. 

What really inspired me to create early on was my horses, their movement fascinated me. It was something I always wanted to capture in a unique way. This is when I realised I could take full control over what I wanted to show people and how I wanted my visuals to be seen. I started to focus on photographing things exactly as I saw them. As I got better at this, I started to question my own visual work and ask questions:  Why am I taking this photograph? What am I trying to express?. Lock down has given me a lot of time to start answering these questions. 

Lock down has been strange, one day is good, another not so much – When it all began I started taking photos at home, of my family, the house, and the surrounding landscapes.  I have a younger sister, and as the weeks went on I realised just how difficult it was to keep her entertained, her whole routine was messed up, and I wanted to help her imagination and creativity stay active throughout it all. 

I decided that I would try to do this by encouraging her to draw pictures of where we had been on our walks together. I took these drawings and tried to reconstruct them into photographs. The photos I took started to form a dreamlike space within the landscapes, creating a suspended sense of reality. The photos felt like real life manifestations of my younger sister’s imagination.

I’m still photographing my little sister, but also focusing on myself, my own thoughts and my daily life. I stepped away from my Canon 5D III , and picked up a Polaroid camera and an instant camera to create more abstract and experimental work. These cameras are more unpredictable, you are often uncertain of how the photograph is actually going to turn out, there is less control. Likewise, you can actually alter the image as the film develops. I’ve been including any physical impacts on my Polaroid pictures, as well as environmental effects, like raindrops. This creates marks on the back of the negative, and they start to show while the picture develops, I think it adds depth to the pictures.

You can check out more of Rebecca’s work on Instagram

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