New photo exhibit of religious statues

Readers of the Kilkenny People may be familiar with Steve Ryan, a Kilkenny man who came fifth in the World Moustache Championships in Germany in 2009.

Readers of the Kilkenny People may be familiar with Steve Ryan, a Kilkenny man who came fifth in the World Moustache Championships in Germany in 2009.

He is still living abroad, now in London where he works as a photographer. However, he returns home next week for the Arts Festival and will be showing his latest photography project ‘Sometimes They Move’ in a vacant building on Friary street, from August 16-20.

The project is about the current state of religious statues in Ireland and how their surroundings have changed around them over the years. The project involves elements of juxtaposition and humour

The project was exhibited earlier this year in a gallery in Berlin for a month, and then shown as part of the PhotoIreland Festival in Dublin last month.

Religious statues and grottos are commonly found throughout Ireland. Many were erected in the Marian year of 1954 as a celebration of Mary and to protect an area and bless the people around them.

They are a place for local communities to gather and pray the rosary together. Since 1954, their popularity has decreased, with the brief exception of July 1985 when the statue of Mary in Ballinspittle in Cork was reported to have spontaneously moved.

Although a small number of people still tend to the upkeep of these religious sites, the landscape of Ireland has evolved and greatly changed around them. Over the last two years, Mr Ryan has travelled the country exploring the present relationship between these statues and their surroundings. This series of ten images is a selection of work from this ongoing project.

The project was shot on a Mamiya 7 6x7 medium format film camera and was printed on Photo Rag Baryta paper by RightBrain fine art printing, Cork and framed by Hang Tough Framing, Dublin.