Lou Whelan

I feel my images before I see them. There is a sense of curiosity present as I frame up the image. I am aware that I am creating or responding to a composition that has never been seen before and may never appear again.

Lou Whelan

I seek the odd couplings, the juxtapositions of life, momentary things that coincide only briefly and then dissipate. My work captures the minutiae of a life that is not always mine. I feel the world, and my camera is how I dialogue with others about what I have noticed. Each image creates a story in the viewer, and my instinct is to always allow my images to sway in the winds of societal and cultural overtones but not define nor respond.

Monochromatic images strip away the clutter of colour and show us what is truly there. I am intrigued by the meaning that is present when an image is purified in this way. I see in black and white before I see in colour, but I move between both depending on what the image is revealing. What I see changes from moment to moment. I am in awe of the way images can be such mutable phenomena, always changing, always showing us something of ‘where we are now’ both physically and emotionally. I have learnt over many years to believe in the image.

My interest is in the experience of living. I observe the world ripe with moments that we may not notice but the camera will frame and articulate. The tiniest moments can carry meaning beyond our conscious comprehension. There is a transformative quality to entering the narratives of people and places.

Lou Whelan

I find myself entering images and stories that remind me of my own insignificance. I celebrate the uncertain and embrace the ambiguous. I see the beauty in the mundane. This means my work has a mutable quality. I find it nourishing to have this constant reminder that everything changes.

Photography is, for me, a means of connection, of transformation, a form of therapy – and I have embraced the camera anew after a long hiatus. I am moved by the process of making a photo – the sound of a clicking shutter, the zoom of the lens, the rituals of the set-up, the process – all these elements are profoundly enriching for me. I have finally arrived behind the camera to do my ‘real work’. When words escape me, the image is my most reliable means of communicating what is of value.

The ‘Real Work’ is illuminated in the inspirational prose of poet Wendell Berry.