on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Dark Woods

Gerard McGrath

Gerard McGrath

A Practica TL2 was the first camera over 30 odd years ago that began my lifelong but somewhat sporadic and eclectic hobby. Some fervent years of enthusiasm were interspersed with lethargy and the humdrum of life putting photography on hold for some years. The digital age and Flickr renewed it somewhat. I had been thinking of starting a project on woodlands in Ireland but needed some impetus.


This mini folio of images entitled “Dark Woods” are from a recent visit to a wood in the Irish midlands. My preference, since my film days, has always been for black and white images. I am drawn more by texture and tone than by colour. In the early 90s I was lucky to do workshops with John Blakemore and Thomas Joshua Cooper. The dark tones of their images, and their subject matter, really resonated with me. I am not really interested in grand vistas. I find the dense woodland more challenging, attempting to capture some aspects amongst the snarling randomness.

I try to express the primaeval essence of the woodland with its ivy and moss covered trees surrounded by tangled undergrowth. This form of landscape, I feel, removes us from our everyday commuter life and transposes us into the ethereal life of trees.

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