Focusing on the grandeur of our great outdoors
Published 03/05/2011 | 05:00
HE was a burnt-out IT worker who dreamt of home -- and this week he opens his own photographic gallery as the country's leading landscape photographer.
Hailed as "Ireland's Ansel Adams" -- the late American photographer best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West -- Peter Cox's work has been recognised around the world.
His breathtaking images of Ireland, from Cork to Connemara, resulted in him being named landscape photographer of the year in 2007 at the National Photographic Awards.
"If I see something really beautiful, I want to capture it, but I'm not trying to make postcards. I want to bring out an emotional response which will make people wish they were there," Mr Cox told the Irish Independent.
The Dubliner has only been a professional photographer since 2000 when he returned from working in the US.
"I was a computer systems engineer, but I got burnt out doing that job. So, along with coming back home, I decided to change careers and have a go at photography, which I had been interested in all my life," he said.
Initially photographing weddings, the father of one soon dropped commercial work to concentrate on landscapes, inspired by the legendary Adams.
"I work most of the time when the light is changing from pre-dawn to post-dawn, and then from pre-dusk to post-dusk. That means in the summer I might finish at 1am and be back up again at 3am preparing for the dawn. I like night-time, too," he said, in reference to a ghostly shot of stars over the Gap of Dunloe in Killarney.
And he admits he will do anything to get his shot.
"I can remember photographing Dunquin Harbour during a storm. I was standing on the edge of a cliff in a squall with the wind blowing in from the sea. But this is the kind of weather which makes for the best pictures."
However, he also admits to having had help with his photograph of the Eagle's Nest in Killarney.
"I was taking pictures on the golf course when a wealthy tourist invited me up on a trip in his personal helicopter. We were up over the lakes for about 10 minutes and the views were incredible," he said.
Killarney is also the setting for Mr Cox's first gallery of photography which opens this week.
"It's every photographer's dream to have their own gallery; and photographing Killarney so often, it seemed like the perfect place to locate it," he said.