Hannah Starkey is a Northern Irish born artist and one of the most important photographers of her generation. Her images capture moments of quiet drama; ambiguous scenes which leave the viewer questioning the context of the event unfolding in the frame. What struck me as I wandered through the exhibition was its composure. Starkey is there in every photograph, still and ever present. But, she is not a detached voyeur, she knows the women she is photographing – they are all women – and she is at one with them. Whether autobiographical or not, we feel her empathy and the psychological journey she has taken in making each image.
The exhibition incorporates five pieces created in Northern Ireland, including two new works commissioned by Ormeau Baths Gallery. The Northern Irish works, interestingly, are subtly different from the rest of the show. I felt there was a slight nervousness which was absent in her other photographs. And, I wondered (or perhaps hoped) if she feels, as I feel, that photographing Northern Ireland is difficult. The conflict is always there whether you want to capture it or not and seeing something new is hard. The pieces, however, are very successful. For my own part, I quite like that they show a flicker of apprehension in an otherwise seamless show.
For more information on the exhibition follow the link to the Ormeau Baths Gallery.
Until 9th July 2011