NoA: An exhibition by Allyn O’Neill
I would like to introduce to you an amazingly talented Irish photographer and close friend of mine, Allyn O’Neill, who currently lives and works in Dublin City. His creativity and passion for photography materialises in every photo and it’s no wonder why people have always been impressed by his talent. His friends would describe him as receptive and inspired with a good sense of humour Two weeks ago I took the opportunity to interview Allyn after his first ever and very successful opening photography exhibition at the Twisted Pepper.
Hi Al, tell me more about yourself and how you got into photography?
… I bought my first point and shoot camera in 2007 as a way to document friends and festivities (the same reason everyone buys a camera). I started carrying it with me everywhere I went and it wasn’t long until I was getting praise for capturing every little thing myself and my friends did. I loved seeing the smiles on peoples faces when they saw themselves in the shots I had taken. I then traveled to Thailand and Australia in 2008/2009 and the scenes out there made me think a little more seriously about taking photographs rather than just taking snapshots. Towards the end of my Australian trip after making some money (and amazing memories) out in the sticks, I was able to buy my first dSLR and from that point I was addicted. I came home and started researching everything I could about photography. I enrolled in a portfolio course (that I dropped out of fairly sharpish as it wasn’t teaching me anything I didn’t already know) and just took shots all day every day. It wasn’t until mid 2010 when I came across an article online about a group of light painting photographers from Germany called LAPP-PRO that I really started to figure out how light works. Being in complete darkness and casting light wherever I wanted was amazing to me. I learned about shadow, and how light falls on certain subjects. Also the vivid colours and shapes created in the shots I was seeing in light painting photography reminded me so much of graffiti and street art (which I have always loved, and tried to do for years but was just terrible at it, haha) so for me it was like finding a way of creating this type of art without being amazing with a spray can or stencils. After that I got extremely into science fiction movies and anything strange and futuristic looking. Also started getting into doing weird portraits to teach myself how light falls on the human body. That’s pretty much it…
Where Did NoA Come From?
NoA has always just been my handle. Something I called myself. I used to be crazy into Hip Hop/Scratch djing and NoA was my Dj name. When I (tried to) write graffiti, NoA was my tag. So it just seemed right to have a sort of handle as a light painter as well.
What Is Your Inspiration?
At first my inspiration was Hip Hop culture, Graffiti art and heavy techno music. But I think now I find inspiration in so much more. Anything really. Mainly music, film, fashion, architecture, and the many many sub cultures that appear and disappear, not only in Dublin but around the world. I think with my photography, what you see is what you get. It’s fairly self explanatory.
Who Is Your Favourite Photographer?
It’s way too hard to pick just one as I am always finding amazing photographers that blow me away. But the first few that come to mind are Stanley Kubrick (for his one point perspective/vanishing point work), Chris Cunningham (because of his weird kinda dark but colourful futuristic work, and because he’s a flat out crazy fuck and just has fun with things), Roger Ballen (for his ability to make me stop for a second and ask “what the hell???” haha), and Twin Cities Brightest from Minnesota (for pushing the boundaries of images you can create all in camera with no photoshop and his innovation in light painting tools and tricks also his generous nature of sharing how he makes his shots).
Any Plans For The Future?
I could go on and tell you about all these grand plans I have (which I do) but for the moment my main plan is to just keep on shooting and trying to create images that myself and other people enjoy. That’s what makes me happy, and that’s the most important thing so…
The exhibition “NoA” opened in The Twisted Pepper/Vice Coffee on the 19th of Feb and runs all day and night for the next six weeks….
Words: Charlotte Grenson