February 9, 2021 | Awards

An Interview with Daragh Muldowney – Landscape Photographer of the Year 2021

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Winner of the IPPVA Landscape Photographer of The Year and Placed Third Overall in Irish Photographer of The Year 2021

This is Daragh Muldowney’s second time being crowned Ireland’s Landscape Photographer of The Year — having previously won the category in 2019. Daragh also claimed second prize overall in the Irish Professional Photographer of The Year 2019. All of his awarded images are from his three-year project, titled Beacons, and can be found in his published photo book of the same name. Daragh will be exhibiting Beacons at the Copper House Gallery in Dublin, from Feb 17th to April 14th, 2021. Due to current circumstances, the first three weeks of the exhibition will be available online, via Zoom and he hopes that people will be able to view his exhibition, in person, after March 5th.

Daragh Muldowney – Silver Award in Landscape Photography

Would you share with us a little bit of background on the awarded work?

The images that I won the landscape category this year are from a project entitled ‘Beacons’ which I have been working on for 3 years. It documents the small pine trees the locals ‘plant’ in the frozen surface of Lake Baikal to mark out the road that guides travellers across the lake. I have published a book on the project and the exhibition will launch on February 17th, virtually at first.

I have been fascinated by ice for many years and have created projects from cold places before. My last book ‘Out of Thin Air’ was about glaciers and icebergs from Greenland. This book won the FEP European photobook of the year in 2015.

The awards system is very important to me as it helps me to improve my technique and style. The awards system is the main reason I originally joined the IPPVA. It certainly helps my marketing if I do well in any given year.

Daragh Muldowney – Silver Award in Landscape Photography

We know a lot our readers will love to hear more about gear, equipment and post-treatment. Tell us more.

I was using a Canon 5dMkIV and a Sony A7R2 with a metabones adapter. I have upgraded my Canon to the R5 and still have the sony.

What are you working on at the moment? Any personal projects or commissions you want to share with us?

I am currently getting ready for the Beacons exhibition and my next project will be Irish based. I have already started on a project shooting the limestone walls on the Aran Islands. I plan to continue this in April if travel is permitted.

Lake Baikal - Landscape Photograph from Daragh Muldowney
Daragh Muldowney – Silver Award in Landscape Photography

Is there a particular image or artist that has inspired/moved you?

When I first began I was particularly interested in Yan Arthus Bertrand who specialised in Aerial photography. He has a sublime eye and created stunning images from above. I guess it was a perspective not easily available to us at the time and it fascinated me. I first began shooting macro abstracts which was also a perspective not commonly seen.
I am also very interested in Andy Goldsworthy. He drops into a zone and works with natural materials that he finds around him: fascinating work.

Daragh Muldowney – Silver Award in Landscape Photography

Have you had any other professions before becoming a photographer? Did you study photography or are you self-taught?

Yep… Barman, Waiter, Fisherman, Salesman (Gym equipment), Driver, Carnival Worker.

It was scuba diving that first got me to pick up a camera. I was blown away by this new world and I wanted to capture it so I bought a Canon AE-1 program and taught myself how to use it. I made so many mistakes at first. Under/overexposed, out of focus, camera shake, film not loaded at all… and many more.

Three vans on the ice of Lake Baikal - Photography by Daragh Muldowney
Daragh Muldowney – Bronze Award in Landscape Photography

What would be your 3 main tips for a photographer with a strong portfolio of personal work wanting to start a business?

  1. Have a good web presence.
  2. Develop a strong mailing list through positive communication.
  3. Try to develop your own unique style.

What would you most love to photograph right now if Covid restrictions weren’t a reality? What do you miss the most?

Well… as I am planning to continue my project shooting on the Aran islands, I would pick there.

I miss the cold places most. I love going to Iceland or Siberia to shoot ice and snow. Someday…

More info on the ‘Beacons’ project and the exhibition: https://dulraphotography.com/project/beacons/

Check the full results of the IPPVA Awards 2021.


Find out more about Daragh Muldowney

Daragh’s interest in photography originally developed, when he completed a Scuba Diving course in 1992, where he was awestruck by the experience of being underwater. Life under the sea seemed like another world, where he made an instant connection ...

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