Rich Gilligan: Life Through a Lens
Dublin-born, Brooklyn-based photographer Rich Gilligan balances commercial and portraiture work alongside documentary-like, naturalistic projects shaped by his passions.
Gilligan has captured an array of well-known Irish figures through his unique lens, including Saoirse Ronan, Gabriel Byrne, Cillian Murphy, and award-winning musician Conor O'Brien of Villagers.
Having spent his teenage years in the tight-knit skateboarding community in Dublin, his interest in the visual was sparked by photographing the raw and fearless action of skaters on camera, Gilligan then went on to study at the University of Wales and the University of Ulster.
With an insatiable interest in documenting subcultures, Gilligan spent four years on his project DIY, travelling to makeshift guerilla skateparks around the world. Across urban landscapes like Derry in Northern Ireland, Portland, Oregon and Nantes in France, he captured the skating community’s drive and daring as they constructed illegally-built skating areas, homemade skate bowls and ramps by bustling motorway underpasses.
Closer to home, his project Rituals was shot in Dublin and portrayed simple images of everyday urban street life. While an exhibition focusing on the life-cycle of buildings and the ability of cities to grow and develop, Architecture Alive, was shown at Dublin’s Royal Hibernian Academy in 2012.
His work has a palpable darkness and visceral appeal which connects with audiences worldwide, in particular New York, Paris, Sydney, Munich and Copenhagen. The Dublin native has also enjoyed high profile work with major brands and publications like Ford and Monocle, as well as photographing for cult indie record labels like Domino, Rough Trade and DFA.
New creative surroundings beckoned for the man behind the camera and having made the move to New York in 2015 with his wife, clothing designer Petria Lenehan, Gilligan's career capturing the intimate side of culture and community continues to flourish in his new heartland across the Atlantic.