by John Collins
In a new and original photography book, John Collins takes us off the beaten path to explore the lanes and back streets of Kinsale in West Cork. Presented in the style of a contemporary photobook, this collection of black and white photographs presents a sequence of images that creates an intently drawn, unique portrait of the town and its surrounds. There is a wonderful interplay of random observations, largely unseen pathways and a blend of the mysterious and recognisable that has a wide appeal.
The visual journey runs a little deeper as the author ponders our universal human tendency to always seek the easy way, the 'path of least resistance' – the shortcut. These deeply embedded instincts arise most obviously how we make our way through the built environment, especially over long periods of time in a town of medieval origin.
Our storytelling traditions are brought to mind as we move through a sequence that is at once alluring and playful. An interesting aspect presented is how the paths and lanes of old have undeniable charm, we are still creating new ones. It seems that no matter how carefully planned and structured, our built environment still needs to mould to our human ways.
The overall flow is a captivating collection of photographs, made using both traditional film and modern digital materials. Viewers are free to make their individual reading of both the photos and the sequence as a whole. While locals might enjoy working out where the different photos were made around the town, visitors will wonder where these hidden layers Kinsale are to be found.
Finished as a casebound hardback, this is a book that invites a slow reading to savour both the photographs and an understated design that sits comfortably in the hand.
‘Shortcut’ will be launched on Friday 19th July, 6.30pm at the Boathouse Gallery, Main Street, Kinsale as part of Kinsale Arts Weekend.