Change: life’s only constant inconstant. Photographer Ayesha Ahmad endeavoured to capture its essence documenting the summer of 2018 in her first solo exhibition.
Epoch is defined as “a particular period of time in history or a person’s life,” and having just finished her Leaving Cert, 18-year-old Ahmad is in a process of transition. Influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Tim Walker, her photographs are striking. She is able to elicit a response from her subjects, as the resulting images appear to directly communicate with the viewer.
In Epoch, Ahmad uses perspective, contrast, and composition to evoke a feeling of otherworldliness and create a dream-like atmosphere, in which the layout of the exhibition itself will also become part of the experience.
“The initial idea for the exhibition was to capture my life because I finished one chapter of school and I’m in between going to college, and there’s so much going on.”
“The exhibition is about that uncertainty. The feeling where your head is way up there in the clouds and your feet aren’t touching the ground—and you’re just in between everything and everything is just hanging in the air.”
The exhibition will consist of around 20 photographs for which Ahmad used family members and close friends.
“I got them to do weird things really; there’s people in the air doing things upside down; a lot of colour; a few blurry photos; I use light a lot—they are just different.”
“I didn’t capture specific portraits. I wanted to capture a whole mood in the photos. So, it’s not so much focused on the subject but more about what the subject is doing. I kinda just wanted it to feel like a dream.”
Ahmad’s love of photography started early. Obtaining her first disposable camera at age 7, she saved up to purchase her first digital camera—a Canon EOS 1200—at age 14. Just four years later, she is being regarded as part of the future of Irish photography.
She says that her style has developed naturally, and although her photographs have meaning, sometimes that meaning remains hidden.
“I think when you have a vision, you kinda just know when it’s gonna look good. Even when I was preparing for the exhibition, I had an idea of how I wanted them [the photographs] to look. It wasn’t even a specific photo, but I had these visions in my mind of feelings… and I wanted to capture that. You just sorta know when it’s there.”
The end of one era and the beginning of another, Ahmad’s next undertaking will be starting college at IADT. A project with Brown Thomas is also in the pipeline.
Words: Rose Ugoalah