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Monday 19 February 2018

Photographer with a heavenly touch turns focus to Italy

Bunn's latest exhibition, 'Volto Angelo', is a labour of love, art and divine inspiration

GLORY BE: An angel photographed by Mike Bunn. His two-week ‘Volto Angelo’ show in Dublin features prints of classical and modern Italian art carvings. Photo: Mike Bunn
GLORY BE: An angel photographed by Mike Bunn. His two-week ‘Volto Angelo’ show in Dublin features prints of classical and modern Italian art carvings. Photo: Mike Bunn
Photographer Mike Bunn

Constance Harris

Those of you who love beauty, art and rarity, who are fascinated by the realms of the angelic, the mystical and the divine, are in for a treat from tomorrow for two weeks. It's an opportunity for a rare, stunning glimpse into the artistry of Italian passion and grief as captured by one of the world's best photographers, Mike Bunn, who's name is well known and his work much admired by readers of the Sunday Independent.

His latest photographic exhibition, 'Volto Angelo', opens in the Octagonal Room of the Irish Georgian Society's new home in City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2, and ends March 8.

Mr Bunn is one of Ireland's characters, its greatest champion, critic and lover. Yorkshire by birth, Sixties London boy by nature, Mr Bunn, following his time studying figure drawing at Camberwell Art School in London, was quickly seduced by travel and photography and happily led astray. His Olympus camera became his artist's instrument and travelling companion. He came to Ireland in 1968 for the fishing and was seduced by its people.

Based in Temple Bar's Crown Alley, which was then a rundown quarter of artists' and musicians' studios, Mr Bunn's photographic studio quickly became a hub for fashion designers, artists, photographers, models, hair and make-up artists, and musicians. He became Ireland's budding fashion scene's new champion, photographing collections for the would-be greats such as Michael Mortell, John Rocha and Lainey Keogh.

Over his career, supported and enhanced by his beautiful wife, Betty (nee Wall) Bunn, an evocative stylist and former vintage boutique owner, together they masterminded many a beautiful campaign for up to then obscure traditional Irish businesses, assisting them to see their worth, creating stunning images of our dramatic Irish landscape populated by romantic, handsome men and women dressed in Irish knitwear and linen, that endure to today. Nothing about his photography dates.

"I view myself as a visual interpreter – such is the confusion at present with the modern usage of the camera," he states. His love and passion for the medium still effervesces with gusto.

'Volto Angelo' is a labour of love, art and perhaps divine inspiration. It's a series of extraordinary photographs of angels and imps who guard the tombs of the once-living, photographed by Mr Bunn as if live subjects themselves.

"'Volto Angelo' is a series of prints of the most extraordinary and expansive collection of classical Italian art carved in marble and stone dating from the mid- to late-1700s to the present day, echoing the presence of Botticelli, the Pre Raphaelites and the Art Deco period," Mr Bunn explains.

Limited-edition, hand-printed prints from the exhibition will be available to purchase. Mr. Bunn has donated one to be silent auctioned during the exhibition, in aid of Angels Quest, the children's respite care charity.

An elegant, rich speaker, on Thursday afternoon, February 27, Mr Bunn will give a talk on his pictures and his use of the Olympus camera in the Octagonal Room at the Georgian Society City Assembly House.

Mr Bunn has photographed rock stars, artists and politicians, landscapes, fish and garlic clusters. He's published books. He is a photographer's photographer. Yet his eye is so understated and beautiful, his pictures capture the attention and appreciation of all people.

He has certainly become the artist he set out to become as a young man.

Sunday Independent

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