Kildare photographer makes reward from recession

Having won the overall photography prize at the National College of Art and Design end of year show in July, Kildare photographer Rory Cleary hopes his winning project can propel him to bigger and better things.

Having won the overall photography prize at the National College of Art and Design end of year show in July, Kildare photographer Rory Cleary hopes his winning project can propel him to bigger and better things.

The project, entitled “To let or not to let”, documented the closed shops and business units around Kildare to highlight the effects of the recession on the streetscapes of the county. And Rory told the Leinster Leader that he wants to repeat the project on a broader scale.

“I got lots of positive feedback so I’m hoping to make it nationwide and get feedback from that as well,” the Kildare town man said.

The original project was presented as a photo book containing 32 photos of disused shop fronts accompanied by two framed panoramic images of larger buildings, the Cemex factory on the outskirts of Naas, which was recently the scene of a fire, and the old Tesco in Maynooth.

“It strikes people to see their own towns in this way,” explained Rory. The project was his final one in NCAD and it helped him earn a certificate in Photography and Digital Imaging as part of the college’s Continuing Education in Art and Design (CEAD) programme.

Rory, who has been working as a photographer for the last few years, says the award opens a lot of doors to him. “I’m talking to two galleries in London at the moment [about displaying the project]. So hopefully something will come of that.”

- Liam Godinho