The Way Forward

By Caoimhe Clements

Life has changed dramatically.  We have given up our freedom in a sense to save lives. It is time to be more grateful if you and your loved woke up this morning still breathing – be happy, because thousands of people today didn’t get to breathe again. Together, we can get through this. We can protect each other. Please stay home and stay safe.

My name is Caoimhe Clements and I am a photographer from Ireland. Growing up in the Irish countryside inspired my landscape photography. Moving to Belfast inspired my continuous growing visual language, which is giving people a voice to speak through imagery.

I speak passionately about mental health, epilepsy and climate change through my photographic work. It’s time to talk. Let’s support each other.

Within the past two years, I have exhibited in Ireland and Scotland in group and solo exhibitions, become a photographer for the Woodland Trust, started two long term photographic projects and taught a fashion photography workshop in collaboration with Belfast Design Week 2019.

In June 2019, I began my project From the Inside Out; I exhibited the collection in November 2019. This project takes the viewer on a journey of emotions and how an individual lives with epilepsy, a subject matter very close to my heart.

From showcasing this work, I met a Professor from Trinity College Dublin who studies the brain and epilepsy. Professor Mark Cummingham expressed an interest in an image during launch night of the exhibition. In February 2020 I was invited to Trinity College Dublin to present the photograph to Mark. I am continuing to further and deepen the narrative of this project, through more in-depth research and development of imagery.

A fact about me… I currently attend university, studying my undergraduate in Photography with Video. I’m going into my final year in September 2020, I will embark on my masters after this.

During my second year of my degree I began my project A Global Crisis – an investigation into how people feel and think about climate change, the idea of starting a conversation, giving an individual a voice to speak.

I began to photograph individuals in the studio, inspired by Rembrandt’s painting style – I used the technique known as Rembrandt lightening or the Rembrandt effect.

The idea was to capture their raw emotions in a sad emotional statement, to reflect on how damaging climate change is, the sad reality that human activity is causing a dangerous increase in the change in climate – from extreme environmental changes such as raising sea levels to extreme weather events.

By mid March, Covid-19 had reached the UK and Ireland. Lockdown was introduced. This put a stop to my project; I was in state of feeling depressed, not known what was going to happen. Everything that I and other creative people where working towards had been affected. We had to find new ways to adapt and keep our creative mindsets alive.

But I am staying positive and finding new ways to communicate my concept to the viewer. I feel what is important now is supporting each other and reminding people that we can get through this phase. Stay home.

Since March, I have continued to add depth to my research and develop my project further. I have found interests in the fields of study in Psychology and Social Sciences. I began to read articles and essays into how psychology and climate change is linked and I became very interested in human behaviour and how this impacts the environment. I feel this is the way forward.

I hope you have enjoyed this article, and hope you and your loved ones are safe.


All words and photos © Caoimhe Clements

You can read Caoimhe’s previous In Focus feature here

27th May 2020