These series of shots of Croagh Patrick, in County Mayo, entitled 100 Views of The Reek, show the magical power of light and color along the Wild Atlantic Way.
After 11 years in Hong Kong, Irish artist David Smith started the 100 Views of The Reek project having been inspired by projects focusing on Mt. Fuji, however, his focus was Croagh Patrick, known as The Reek.
Smith, from Castlebar, in Mayo, lays out the project's structure and aim on his site. He stated that in all 100 photos "same viewpoint is used for every shot, using a tripod, mirrorless camera, and a portrait lens. Each composition is a record of the changeable light and weather conditions, synonymous with Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way."
What he's created is breath-taking.
Speaking to IrishCentral about his 100 Views of The Reek project, Smith said: "It began by accident really."
An artist who primarily works with paint, Smith also experiments with music and photography. Recently he has had a solo and two-man shows in Hong Kong and the United States and as also worked as a professor of painting and foundation studies at The Savannah College of Art & Design in Hong Kong. However, after 11 years in Hong Kong, Ireland was calling him home.
"I had been feeling the draw to move home for a few years and had enough of the extreme pace and expense of Hong Kong. Most of the landscape painting work I do deals with this, a kind of looking for air or breath within a dense environment," Smith told IrishCentral.
"I moved home in Oct 2016 and was just beginning to make the first moves on the next stage, buying a property, changing location, setting up a space to work from etc.
"I always have a camera of some form wherever I go, and I was taking a walk around Lough Lannagh, which is in my home town of Castlebar, Co. Mayo. They had recently renovated the area to include a beautiful bridge over the lake leading to picturesque walking trails.
"I took a shot of the Reek from the bridge which is framed perfectly from that area, and the weather was impossibly clear in the winter light. That shot made me really think about how perfectly symmetrical the mountain was from that viewpoint."
And so the 100 Views of The Reek idea began to evolve in Smith's mind. "Over the next few weeks, I kept coming back to that spot and repeating the same shot, enjoying the repetition of view but change in light. I eventually decided to use a tripod and pick one particular spot to shoot from.
"I upgraded the camera I was using and chose a lens that would work for that framing and distance. Besides the visual qualities, I wanted the project to take into consideration the cultural, spiritual and historical aspects of the mountain.
"I also began working in a square format having been inspired by older photographers who would use square format images on medium format film.
He added "Other inspiration came from having taught courses on color theory looking at artists like Josef Albers - Homage to the Square series, and also Hokusai's famous 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. I've always considered the project to be a painters project in the form of photography if that makes sense."
Thousands of shots later Smith's project is now nearing its end. He told IrishCentral "I'm considering what the next move for it is. I feel like it would work to its best advantage as a book, so I will probably start contacting publishers to explore that option. I have recently started selling prints from the project. So outside of social media and some features, I think the output to the world is just starting."
As for Smith's rare talent, what's next and settling back into life in Ireland he told IrishCentral "I continue to paint, exhibit and teach now in the west, and this 100 views project has been very much a love letter to home."
Welcome home, David Smith!