Lakeshire was a childhood influenced project, in which I was creating imaginary landscapes by layering two images together to create a new environment. I used old photos from trips to my Dads in Yorkshire combined with images from the Lake District to create them. It was a reflection of something I used to do as a child, where when visiting somewhere new and exploring, I would construct a new world in my head.

 

Lakeshire-Skelwith Force

My aim when creating these images, was for the viewer to look at them and not necessarily realize straight away that these were fake landscapes. For me, they had to create a sense of being surrounded by the landscape and filled with green, as that was always something I vividly remember about my trips and ‘fantasy worlds’. From a distance I wanted it be subtly done, meaning that the viewer would have to look closer to tell that these images are clearly not real. However, to assist the viewer in working out the mystery, I gave each image a name as it allows them to make that connection between the words and landscape to see if they recognise the area or some of the name (e.g. Derwent Rocks) and piece together that these were imaginary landscapes.

Lakeshire, Aira Keswick - Hayleigh O'Brien
Lakeshire, Aira Keswick - Hayleigh O'Brien
Lakeshire - Hayleigh O'Brien
Lakeshire - Hayleigh O'Brien

Artist statement

‘The images is the culminating point of my complex experience of relationships with the world before me’ (Boomoon, 2010)

Whether it is through portraiture and still life, or occasionally through more abstract ideas, I use photography to explore my relationship with the world; such as people, family, place and memory. I am interested in photography’s relationship to the subject and how it can be used as a study of the sitter, but also how you can use it to explore memory’s connection to place. I use the domestic environment as a prime area to explore photography’s various ways of expressing thoughts about home life, but particularly how place connects to memories.

My childhood plays a big part in how I look at the world, and as a result has heavily influenced some of the projects I have created. As well as looking at place and memory, I love to use portraiture to see how photography can be used in relation to the sitter and photographer. Through heavily researched theories, I use my portraits to test the boundaries of the sitter’s relationship to the camera/viewer. Theorists such as Roland Barthes and Annette Kuhn, have all been crucial in developing my work and helping me to understand how an image can be used to develop my photography to reflect the ideas I explore. While photographers such as Philip Toledano, Rosy Martin to things like Disney have all helped me on my journey to develop my practice.

I thoroughly enjoy the work I create and it has been fun to use photography to explore themes that I did not really think I had an interest in. I always throw myself into every project and while they may not all turn our how I envision them to begin with, through research I always make something I believe is interesting and new.

Lakeshire - Hayleigh O'Brien
Lakeshire - Hayleigh O'Brien

The image Aira Keswick is combined of two images, one from Keswick in the Lake District and the other of the waterfall Aira Force, also in the Lake District. For me, this is the image that makes me feel like a child again. It reminds me of my childhood, watching various Disney films that I loved, and it feels like something that could have been in a film. The green is almost too green, but whenever I always had these ‘created’ worlds in my head, that’s the colour they were.

More of Hayleigh O'Briens' work can be found on Instagram at

@hayleighobrienphotography