WORDS IN SIGHT
Gillian Hyland is an Irish born photographer whose work centres on her heritage of storytelling and connecting to others through depictions of emotions and experiences. Originally working as a fashion stylist and writer for international magazines and later for the television industry, her involvement with photography came in 2007 when her move to London saw her creating fashion shoots for high-profile international clients. Since then Hyland has recently been announced as the winner of the National Open Art in The Royal College of Art, Winner of the La Quatrieme Image exhibition in Paris, exhibited internationally and has been published in newspapers and magazines such as The Independent Newspaper, UK; The Telegraph, UK; Harpers Baazar, UK and Wall Street International, USA.
Hyland’s most recent body of work Words In Sight is a theatrical and evocative series that loosely encompasses the emotions and experiences of her past. For 10 years, Hyland created poetry that directly related to difficult experiences and raw emotions and together, with her cultural upbringing in Ireland they now serve as an integral platform to tell her story of emotion and her need to connect with the outside world.
Words In Sight is not a direct illustration or representation of Hyland’s poetry but serves as a separate entity to evoke notions of nostalgia and to begin to question our cultures of society. Her calculated application of different aesthetics helps create a specific emotional response such as her use of colour, texture and symbols. Hyland’s aim is to challenge “our perceptions… experience life in a different way, giving us a richer understanding of ourselves and the people around us.”
Her use of staging and lighting is reminiscent of Gregory Crewdson’s atmospheric and theatrical practise. Hyland’s photographs possess the same aura of mystery and tension both between the subjects within the image that tantalises with our understanding of narrative and between the photographic surface and its viewer’s perception. The captions of her photographs are all we’re given to begin to understand what is happening in each specific photograph. Chapter One “Unforgiven” (first image) presents us with two subjects facing away from each other and the atmosphere is tense as a result. The symbols such as the open door and the cold expression upon the female’s face lead us to a possible narrative of a strained relationship between her and that of the male subject. Hyland’s placement of the subjects in Chapter Three “Look Away” (third image) is inspired and is a deliberate aid to guide the eye of the viewer through the image. The heavy mist steeps the image in mystery which in turn captivates the viewer to keep looking and to question the narrative. As we look closer we struggle to understand fully the purpose of each subject, their individual significance and their relationship with each other but the point of Hyland’s photography is to question. Even if it means we cannot fully understand, all we are compelled to do is question and unreservedly so as well as be captivated by the Hyland’s splendent photography.
Currently, Hyland’s photography can be seen at the Harrogate International Visual Arts Expo 2015 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on 21st and 22nd November 2015 and in The National Open Art – Winter Winners’ Exhibition at Pallant House in Chichester on 1st December to 13th December 2015. Hyland is also taking part in the Flux Exhibition at The Royal College of Art, London which opens to the public on 11th December 2015.
All Image copyright to Gillian Hyland
Words by Christian Fowler