Martin Gaffney MIDI, ADVC, MBA
PRO Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Cavan 2010/11
For the past 30 years I have documented traditional music in Ireland and beyond, my photographs capture the clandestine nature of the session.
After studying photography at the Art and Design Faculties of Sligo RTC and Dublin Institute of Technology in the early 80s under the renowned Belgian photographer Jacques Nutan, I developed an interest in capturing the essence of the traditional Irish music session. My equipment started with a basic single lens reflex camera the Yashica FX3 35mm and then using the Hasselblad Xpan.
My technique is to create images that give the impression of being with the subject, as a musician I play in the session and following a period of observation I replace the concert flute with the camera, the resulting photograph having been imagined and composed during the preceding jigs and reels. During this time, the image making process replaces the music making momentarily and the results document a sense of the atmosphere of the session and the personality of the musicians.
A series of photographs taken in the mid nineties at the Thursday night ‘Silver Dollar’ session in Killeshandra, earned Martin the British Journal of Photography (BJP) award for photographs taken in the Xpan panoramic format.
A native of Killeshandra County Cavan, Martin is a traditional Irish Musician, he teaches music with the Craobh Naithí branch of Comhaltas in Dublin. He was National PRO of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann from 2003-2008 with whom he organised brand and Public Relations workshops for Branch, County and Provincial Public Relations Officers in Ireland and Britain. He was author of ‘Connecting with our public’ a guideline booklet on brand management and Public Relations for CCÉ.