How to Flatten a Mountain
Last December, I was considering what would be the next step on my photographic path. I was in that lull period that all photographers and artists face. The only thing I did know was I wanted to create new work in a new surrounding and find new inspiration. Fast forward four months later, I found myself 5,000 miles away from home on a farm in Ireland, sharing a house with eleven other photographers from all over the world. I was one of twelve lucky artists selected to participate in How to Flatten a Mountain, a two-week Arts Residency at Cow House Studios in County Wexford, Ireland.
My fellow residents included: Benedetta Casagrande from Milan, Kate Petley from Colorado, Lauren Roeder from New York, Mike Callaghan from Toronto, Nathan Harris from Florida, Patricia Howard from Washington, D.C., Roisin White from Dublin, Ruth Connolly from Galway, Valéry Pelletier from Montreal, Yinon Avior from Tel Aviv, Zhao Qian from China, and me, Val Patterson from Los Angeles.
It felt like MTV’s The Real World, the Photographer’s Edition. Except nobody fought, and there was no drama. Only beautiful scenery, lovely conversations, inspiring workshops, and delicious home cooked meals. It was two weeks of pure photographic bliss in the Irish Countryside.
The wonderful people who made this residency possible: Frank Abruzzese and his lovely wife, Rosie O’Gorman who started Cow House Studios. And the brilliant Ángel Luis González Fernández, director of Photo Ireland.
Three talented visiting artists facilitated day workshops: Kim Haughton, Matthew Thompson and Aisling McCoy. After an intense week of inspiring and challenging workshops, day trips to the beach, the mountains and morning walks through the forest, it was time to buckle down in the studio and prepare work for our exhibition at Rathfarnham Castle in Dublin.
Before I had time to blink, we were all on a bus to Dublin, our work was framed and hung, exhibition day arrived, drinks were had, laughs were shared, and then it was time to fly back home. It was an experience I am so thankful for and will never ever forget. I felt renewed, energized, and had a new focus to my work. My photographic heart fell in love with Dublin and Cow House Studios, and I am sure I will be back again… hopefully sooner than later.
Val Patterson is the Social Media Editor for LENSCRATCH and a Los Angeles artist specializing in fine art portraiture, travel and landscape photography. Her work has been exhibited in group shows, and published online and in print internationally. Val is an advocate for women’s causes and has created The Pink Project and The Mona Lisa Project, both photography books in support of the fight against breast cancer and her favorite charity, RAINN. When she doesn’t have a camera in her hands, Val enjoys pinball, opera and archery. She secretly hopes to one day make it onto the U.S. Olympic Archery Team.
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