Colleen Henderson - Irish Landscapes: A Study in Contrasts

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As a fine art photographer I have the good fortune of traveling to incredibly beautiful places as part of my job!  Every destination has its own unique lure and appeal, but Ireland holds a special place for me. 

Immediately, several explanations come to mind:

 - I only need to go back two generations before I begin tracing my roots to Ireland. 

 - I attended both Catholic elementary and Catholic high schools where names like Kelly and O’Connor, Patrick and O’Brien, Mary, Molly, heck even Colleen, were common household names. 

 - In my immediate community, St. Patrick’s day was celebrated in importance right alongside Christmas day and the 4th of July. 

 - Whenever I find myself surrounded by those of Irish descent, even if I don’t know single a soul, there is an undeniable familial connection. 

 - And if that isn’t enough to make Ireland special for me, there is always the Irish Landscape.  As a fine art photographer I’m always in search of inspiration, and Ireland never disappoints!

In 2015 I spent six weeks touring Ireland and photographing the Irish landscape.  Home base was Clifden, conveniently located in the Connemara region and offering easy access to most of western Ireland.  Much has been written about the Irish Landscape, from the lush, verdant pastures, (there is a reason it’s called the Emerald Isle), to the ruggedly, scenic coastline, to the medieval pilgrimage paths offering opportunity for spiritual renewal. 

My overall impression?  The Irish Landscape is a study in contrasts.  In any given moment a scene might unfold at once as both grand and intimate; tenacious and gentle; or humble and proud.  Ultimately, the best description I can offer is that for me, the Irish Landscape is what some call a “Thin Place”.

“Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.

Travel to thin places does not necessarily lead to anything as grandiose as a “spiritual breakthrough,” whatever that means, but it does disorient. It confuses. We lose our bearings, and find new ones. Or not. Either way, we are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world, and therein lies the transformative magic of travel.

It’s not clear who first uttered the term “thin places,” but they almost certainly spoke with an Irish brogue.

Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves.”  

                Source:  Weiner, E.  (2012 March 9).  “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer.”  New York Times 

For me, words so often fail to adequately convey my reactions to the places I photograph, so it is my hope these images provide a glimpse into the engaging and complex landscapes I witnessed during my travels in Ireland.  


Print Information

All images are original, created and printed by Colleen using strict archival processing techniques and museum quality materials during all phases of printing, mounting and framing of each image.

Photographs are offered in several sizes, from small to very large.  Prices vary depending on image size and framing option chosen.

Please contact Colleen with any questions you may have.


Colleen Spencer Henderson



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