Donal Kelly is from the west of Ireland.

He photographs. Scribbles. Sometimes words arrive. Sometimes nothing.

He seeks textures, light, slices of whatever’s flowing by. Sometimes it seems to make sense. Somedays.

He photographs where he is, often Connemara and Galway. By choice, maybe by circumstance. He teeters along raggedy coastlines, stares at reedy lakeshores. Atlantic islands: edges, protrusions, natural frames, geographical oddities. The world is a jumble of details and layers, spilling in through the eyes and ears. And what does it conjure up there? What of mind?

He develops film at home very slowly and scans it even more slowlyly. He likes its physicality, its possibility, organic realness. Possibly. Clear as mud. There are many failures. Or he likes textures of surfaces and how everything is a surface, and how they blur and distort. He struggles to keep them organised. Sheaves of negatives accumulate. He wonders if there is primitive behavioural psychology at play.

He wonders if these unintended effects, these puncturings, are important, perhaps to prime the inconsistent reward scheme that makes everything from slot machines and social media compulsive.

He likes to watch what is transient and made of change. He likes gradient and the change of one thing into another. He believes that art is anti-essentialist. When done well. How looks the tonal flow of time? wHaT dOeS nOt DiSsOlVe?

He likes to revisit places, doing laps, scratching layers of surface and finding more and more. Onion routing. Matryoshka dolls. Keep digging.

He tries to write short stories but they are hard to finish, even the shortest ones. It is difficult to establish a voice that is its own voice, a voice that knows it is. When he revisits old efforts they seem like they belong to someone else. Maybe this is the same for us all? He feels that he can always tinker more, that no sentence is really solid or final. Even granite wears away eventually. How persistent are photos really?

He likes to use a medium format camera. It does not like to be rushed. Sometimes he rushes. It’s not about the gear. But it cannot be done without… stuff. We are of stuff.

He likes expired film and multiple exposures. He is not sure he has ever caught a pure decisive moment, or if they exist.

He has photographed weddings, and created albums for each one. Very slow.

He would like to explore more regions and ideas,

the pastness of nows,

the self as accumulation,

the negation of landscape as symbol by manufactured culture

to think


muse or pretend to muse on the nature of failure

float along in the ongoing crisis of existence, alien in language of wokeness and optimisation, physical cliche, artefact, xyz coordinates.

All work on this site belongs to Donal Kelly. Do not use without permission