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Source Magazine: Thinking Through Photography - Web Articles - In Development - Yvette Monahan - talks to Susanna Galbraith. Posted: Mon 08 Feb 2021.

talks to Susanna Galbraith

This image was taken at our back door as the sunlight streamed in on some cobwebs. It is one of those scenes that I walk by every day, but on that particular day, the way the light caught the cobweb stopped me in my tracks.

It is part of a new body of work called A Revolution of Stardust, which examines the cosmic every day. One morning, I looked in the sink at a pattern created by coffee grinds. On closer viewing, it resembled a moonscape. I started to see images close at hand that mirrored the universe. The water drops on the shower door took on meteoric qualities. Cobwebs assumed the form of entire galaxies.

For this image, I used a Canon 5D Mark 4 with an extension tube that enables close-up focusing. There are other images in this project that I am more attached to, but I love the fact that it was made at home and allowed a renewed sense of wonder to grow within that space. It also bridges the natural birth and death cycle that I have been investigating throughout this work.

When finished, I would love to exhibit this work, creating an immersive space with photography, drawings, sculptures, and sound. In May, I completed a diploma in Art at NCAD, which was great for expanding my practice and exploring materiality.

Music was vital to this body of work as certain songs pulled me out of my every day and became part of it: Into the Mystic by Van Morrison begins with "we were born before the wind"; Prefab Sprout's I trawl the Megahertz was probably the most transcendent song, and it seemed to be on the radio whenever I tuned in: "They are listening for smudged echoes of the moment of creation...".

I have always loved Woodstock by Joni Mitchell, and it was so fitting for all elements of A Revolution of Stardust - "we are stardust, billion-year-old carbon...". Also, I am interested in the minimalist painter Agnes Martin’s idea that images equate more to a sound than a visual experience. I find her grids so moving.

I always do a lot of reading around project areas of interest. For this work, I loved Robert MacFarlane's Underland. He merges writing about the natural world and transcendence so well. Kay Larson's book Where the Heart Beats explores Zen Buddhism, John Cage and the Inner life of Artists; it is so dense; I have been reading it for about two years. Also, Phaidon makes these large, beautiful books exploring different themes, I have Universe and Sun and Moon; you could lose hours to them.

The most challenging part of this project has been time; carving out time with a young child is challenging but, ultimately, having a child was what initiated the work. The person I would most like to see this body of work would be Laurie Anderson - some of the images would make great album artwork.

Yvette Monahan is an Irish photographic artist from Sligo who lives and works in Dublin. She was included in Source's Top 10 from Graduate Photography Online 2007-2017 for her MA submission to Graduate Photography Online 2013.

Yvette Monahan in Graduate Photography Online 2013 ▸

Other articles in the ‘In Development’ series:

Other articles on photography from the ‘Macro’ category ▸