on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Paul Kenny

A Celebration of Transient Beauty

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Paul Kenny is an artist who works with the landscape and uses photographic processes to create his work but you'd be hard pushed to know whether to call him a photographer or not. His biggest body of works are constructed still lifes that relate to the sea shore, tidal processes, erosion and time.

Paul has had a joint show, Fragile, at the Chris Beetles gallery over the last month which had a great write up in the London Evening Standard. We didn't get to see the show but we've been wanting to chat with Paul for some time. We started by asking what he's been up to.


Paul I’ve just come back from that London show, Fragile, and there’s nothing much in the diary until next year. I’ll have a bit of time to do some new work. I’m still vaguely toying with the going to Ireland in October. I’m a fellow of the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in County Mayo, Alex Boyd is a fellow as well. I was made a fellow in 2000 and I’ve been out six times so far. It’s just a fabulous place. It’s mainly painters who go; the people who set it up are from Philadelphia and they ran a gallery in New York in the 80s called Dolan Maxwell and they sold up and set the foundation up. I think they’re both of Irish descent so they have four cottages and two shopfronts on the main street behind which hides four studios, an office, a gallery and a print studio. All in a tiny village in West Mayo, when you go, you get a place to live and a place to work and it’s just incredibly relaxed. Most of the people who are made Fellows are American so you kind of get to mix with these diverse group of artists. I work in a very isolated place in an isolated way – I’m not part of any group, I’m not a part of any academic institutions, I’m not day to day linked with these people in my business so its great for me to have the opportunity to enter into some kind of group discourse…..

But also the coastline is just fantastic, it’s west facing Atlantic; There’s nothing between you and the states. It’s on the Gulf Stream so a lot of stuff gets drifted across and I use a lot of that flotsam and jetsam in my work. – Plastic bottles, etc. I found a message in a bottle there which was amazing. It had been put in the sea off Fado island in New Foundland and taken seven years to arrive.

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  • Brilliant interview, been a fan of Paul’s work for a while so it’s great to have some insight in to his thought process and work. As someone who is becoming increasingly disillusioned with “traditional” landscape photography or more so frustrated with “Creating the same work all the time” in my own work this is quite an inspirational push to look at things differently. Paul’s work really satisfies my love for pattern and texture in the landscape.

  • Sue Berry

    Such a breath of fresh air and an interesting way of combining photography and mixed media, something I’ve been thinking of but never attempted. Maybe it’s time I did!

  • Paul’s unique and wonderful work should inspire everyone to try something new and stick to it.

  • Giles Stokoe

    Great piece. Thanks. Also good to see the mag embracing Landscape Photography in the broader sense. Maybe its just the sunshine, but the last few issues have brought a smile to my face.

    One other thing… that Full Moon exibition seems to get credited at least every other issue! It really does seem to be one of those events that quietly set rather a lot of people off on many and varied creative trajectories (me included).

  • Thank you Paul and Tim for a really interesting and inspiring article. As has been said above, it is a real breath of fresh air. You are right to say that photography is only the medium, and I certainly consider your images art. I can relate to your sense of disillusion Paul; as my image making has changed over the last year, I find that my interest in recording ‘conventional’ landscapes has dimmed. Part of being creative is being restless and wanting to move on. Only time will tell if I am moving in the right direction!

  • Miff

    Great interview Tim and a wonderful showcase for Paul’s remarkable work. Beautiful, original, breathtakingly subtle and, well, just gorgeous. He cites Andy Goldsworthy and, like, him, Paul is a national treasure.

  • Lizzie Shepherd

    Fascinating – I missed this when it was published in August and have just stumbled across the interview, having been admiring Paul’s work through twitter, etc. Fascinating to understand a bit more about the thoughts behind it and the processes involved – truly inspirational work – I’d love to see the actual prints one day.

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