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A snapshot in time of Cobh

Thursday, 14th May, 2020 11:45am

“Portraits, by their nature, are mute and full of mystery.”

Those were the words of Damian Drohan, a photographer filmmaker who created Cobh Stories, a multimedia project which the public is being encouraged to look at.

Cobh Stories was commissioned by Cork County Council's Arts Office in 2015 with support from the Arts Council.

During a month long residency in Cobh Library, the artist invited locals to share their stories on audio and be photographed in the Story House within the library. The result was a fascinating book of portraits, along with a multimedia website, which the council is inviting the public to revisit at this time and enjoy from the comfort of home.

Speaking about his approach to portraiture, artist Damian explained: “They can never really describe the inner character of the sitter, and at best can be said to show how someone looked under a particular set of circumstances. We the viewer, can make some basic assumptions, guided by our own world view about a collection of portraits.

“This project attempts, by the addition of sound, to contextualise the faces. In some cases, the resulting sound-portraits reinforce our views and opinions, but in many cases, the audio turns our view upside down. It is this tension between the spoken word and the visual that excites me as an artist and photographer, and my hope is that the viewer of this work, whether on the printed page, or the project website, will find the combination stimulating and enriching.”

The Cobh Stories project is available to enjoy at cobhstories.damiandrohan.com.

Speaking of the innovative project, Mayor of Cork Cllr Ian Doyle said: “Cobh Stories is a unique snapshot in time. The townspeople who contributed stories give us a very special insight into the rich social fabric and heritage of the town.

“I am also aware that some of the original participants have passed away in the intervening years and I trust that this gesture will also commemorate the wonderful contribution of their time and their memories.”

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