'Perigree': Luxembourg's forests at night

A photographic exhibition by Paul Gaffney at the CNA

Exposition "Perigee" de Paul Gaffney au CNAImagine finding yourself in the middle of a forest in the dead of night. Plunged into this darkness, your vision is practically reduced to zero and the full moon is the only source of dim light. This is what Paul Gaffney experienced. In residence at the National Audiovisual Centre (Centre national de l'audiovisuel, CNA) until 15 May 2016, this Irish landscape photographer spent a year walking the Luxembourg forests, namely in the nature reserve 'Op der Haard' in the South of the country and in the Ardennes in the North, as well as Irish forests in order to take night pictures of the forest. The only source of light being the full moon. The result is a photographic exhibition which shows a mysterious and enchanted universe of the forests as you'd imagine them in a fairy tale.

As he was mainly interested in capturing the particular luminosity of the full moon in a forest, Paul Gaffney split his project in two stages: first, he walked the forests during daylight, documenting his wanderings with polaroid pictures. Then, he revisited a number of these places in order to take pictures under the light of a full moon. Sometimes he got lost, and had to rely on his other senses to guide him back to the trail. According to himself, his photographic approach has a meditative aspect: the walking rhythm and the fact of fully concentrating on himself and his senses while walking through pitch darkness would come very close to being meditation.

Paul Gaffney is a young Irish photographer who has already exhibited his works in several Irish and British galeries, as well as in the United States, South Africa, Italy and China. He aims at developing a meditative approach to landscape photography and explores how the act of photography can influence the relationship with our surroundings. His first self-edited book entitled 'We make the Path by Walking' was nominated for the Photobook Award 2013, figured in the preselection for the European Publishers Award for Photography 2013 and is part of a list of the best photobooks in 2013. His second work 'Stray' shows photographies taken in a dense pine forest in Ireland.

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  • Updated 16-03-2016