Togs & Tales

Eimhear Collins

Eimhear Collins

Landscape Photographer

I am a seascape and landscape photographer based in Co. Louth, Ireland. I am passionate about photography and have spent the last 10 years exploring the coastline of Ireland. We live in an incredibly beautiful country. I love the ruggedness of our shoreline and the ever-changing light and colours throughout the seasons. I will never tire of exploring our seashores and revisiting favourite locations. I am fortunate to live quite near the coast here in the east of Ireland. Beaches in Louth, Meath and Dublin are all within a 30 min drive from where I am based. I feel very strongly that as a photographer it is important for me to appreciate and capture the beauty on my own doorstep.

I am happiest at the shoreline. It brings out the best in me and my work. I have an intense love of the sea and I try to bring across that emotion in my images. I am filled with joy when all the elements come together for me in terms of light, mood and energy in the ocean. It brings me great happiness to be able to capture that. I feel so happy when the viewer too connects with my images and feels it in their soul. At the shoreline I discovered the pure joy of living in the moment. Listening to the sounds around me, and being aware of the ever-changing light and the ebb and flow of the tide. To me it is a form of meditation. I feel truly connected with nature when I am at the shoreline. I can forget about everything else going on in my life and just live in the moment. The strong affinity I have with the sea was strengthened even further when I had cochlear implant surgery at the end of 2016. Having been deaf since childhood I now had the gift of hearing. I was able to hear the ocean and the waves crashing at the shoreline for the first time and thus felt truly connected with my surroundings. In addition to hearing the ocean I was also able to hear birdsong, the crunch of seashells under my feet and the wind. All this makes for an incredibly enjoyable experience on the beaches that I explore. I feel that this stronger connection with the world around me has been reflected in my work over the past few years.

Eimhear: "This is a very special image for me as this was taken 3 days after my cochlear implant was switched on , and this is the moment I heard the crashing waves for the first time."

Quite recently I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I documented my experience in a blog Read Here ›

Lyme disease has had a huge impact on my life from an early age. Thankfully, after all these years I am now finally getting help and treatment. In addition to chronic and debilitating health issues and pain it inflicts on me, it robbed me of my hearing from an early age. I also have to deal with brain fog, and this too has been present throughout my life. The brain fog causes problems with concentration and understanding even simple technical stuff. I have a terrible sense of direction and frequently get lost. Google maps are a godsend, but I always have proper paper maps with me too, and plan journeys carefully. My diagnosis before Christmas was a welcome godsend. It has given me great perspective and clarity on my life. Up till my diagnosis in Dec 2020 I would have been very embarrassed at revealing my struggles especially with my ability to understand technical stuff and concentration. Now I feel enormously proud that I have actually managed so well considering the impact this disease has had on my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing over the years.
Thankfully my creative side was never affected. Over the years I have immersed myself in cookery courses and all kinds of craftwork and art. Then 10 years ago, in 2011, I finally found my true passion, photography! My deafness actually worked to my advantage in terms of blossoming as a photographer. Deafness can be very lonely and isolating. Socializing held little appeal to me as I could not hear what was going on. I felt happy heading off to the shoreline and exploring the coastline and new locations at every opportunity. Each time I headed out I learnt something new. My photography brought me great joy and self-worth and it wasn’t long before I set up my own business selling my work. The business has gone from strength to strength over the years and I am honoured to have my work gracing the walls of homes across the country and around the world. It is always hugely exciting to receive commissions too. It has been a joy to work with project managers and architects over the years in many different environments. It is a humbling experience to see my seascapes printed up to 12 foot high in hospitals and other institutions. It brings me particular pleasure to see my work on display in hospitals. Hospitals can be a stressful environment, and I feel the seascapes can help to evoke feelings of peacefulness and calm.
My concentration and ability to understand even simple technical stuff has always been an issue in my life. However, this too has impacted on my photography in a hugely positive way and made me the photographer that I am today. Thankfully I managed to get to grips with the computer and some basic editing skills to tweak my images and show them off at their best. Because my computer skills are quite basic, I work very hard at capturing things perfectly in camera, so that all that is needed in post processing is a few adjustments. I would never spend longer than 5-10 mins on an image. This simple approach to both my photography and editing has been reflected in my teaching, tuition and photography talks over the years. I realise now that the Lyme disease has shaped me both as a person and as a photographer. I have not let it define me and I would not be where I am today as a photographer only for the struggles I have had to overcome.
From all this, I have this message I would like to share with anyone starting out on their photography journey. Keep things simple. Don’t overcomplicate things for yourself with regards to your shooting and editing. Capture what “feels” right to you. Don’t worry about the technical stuff and all the rules you are supposed to follow. Listen to your soul. Your inner creative soul is something infinitely powerful. Let your creativity flow into the world as you capture your images. That way you will not only make yourself happy, but others too who view your images.

Finally, I would like to say a few words of thanks. The photography community in Ireland is close knit and members are very supportive of each other. I take inspiration from all the hugely talented landscape and seascape photographers I engage with daily. Thank you for all your ongoing support, kindness and friendship. I look forward every day to seeing your beautiful images from all around the country.

Last, but not least… Sincere thanks to Conor for asking me to do this blog. It’s been both a pleasure and an honour.
© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Eimhear Collins
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