Etain O’Carroll is a photographer once immersed in the world of travel, but like everyone else, now tethered to home by the pandemic. In the last couple of years, her horizons have been severely curtailed and the retracing of steps on the same daily walks became inevitable. In attempting to find a new perspective on places that very quickly became over familiar, she was drawn to exploring a more abstract and creative way in which to view them, abandoning normal constraints and using intentional camera movement and slow shutter speeds to capture a world very different from the one before her. The unpredictable outcomes are an attraction in themselves, forcing her to see her world in a different way. When faced with so many constraints, yielding to chance became liberating, and capturing light, movement and reflections in unforeseen ways a route to recapturing the joy in familiar surroundings.
After getting sidetracked from a career as a photographer, I'm returning to my first love and moving away from commerical work into something more abstract and expressionist. To help kickstart the process, I'm currently studying for a Masters in Fine Art at Oxford Brookes and exploring just why it is I have chosen to do this at this point in my life, and why mid-life seems to be a time for recalibration for many. Midlife seems to be a point in our lives when we understand ourselves more than ever, yet the intense demands and responsibilities we face may mean we suffer a loss of identity as we cater to the needs of others, resent or reject a career, or deal with loss, all of which leave little time or space to break out of a rut or mould of expectation. This work grapples with these concepts and explores what it would take to make the leap away from it all and what might happen if you did. Movement, memory and belonging are key themes and I spend a lot of time reflecting on presence and absence in everyday life. I'm also very conscious of the need for us all to slow down, observe, and allow ourselves to be absorbed by the solitude and the process in order to find beauty in the small things.