A MAYO photographer who swapped the American west coast for that in her native Ireland is hoping to open people’s eyes to its character and charms.
Westport-based professional Michelle McCarron returned to Ireland in 2012 after 17 years living in San Francisco working in photo and film.
Now splitting her time between London and Ireland she has decided to launch Aperture West - a photography workshop programme for hobbyists, beginners and serious amateurs who want to come to the west coast of Ireland and brush up on their skills.
Along with business partner Kevin Kerr, a New York-based photographer, the first workshops are due to start this summer.
“We met in 1998 while we both lived in San Francisco and through a shared national heritage and love of photography the idea for Aperture West was born,” said Michelle, whose work has featured at the like of the San Francisco Irish Film Festival and in the Guardian Weekend. “We’ve now come together to create a vision that we feel passionate about.”
Michelle’s love of photography first blossomed in the streets of California and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
“I’m passionate about the wilderness, people and exploration as well as the need to conserve it,” she added. “Aperture West, the first workshop of its kind on the west coast, aims to bring photographers together from across the globe to enjoy the diversity of the landscape and culture.”
Two different seven day experiences are on offer.
‘Coastal Mayo’ is for those wanting to concentrate on the magnificent landscape features on the coast and its historical islands.
While ‘Discover Mayo’ offers more of a mix through also exploring inland landscapes like the Sheffry Hills, Lough Mask and historical sites such as Murrisk Abbey and Carrickhowley castle.
This week Michelle travels to Jordan to document the work of Clowns without Borders Ireland - a charity organisation that gives workshops for communities around the world that are under in crisis due to disease, war or poverty.
But London is her “home from home” she says.
“With family and friends there I’ve always had a reason to visit and trips have always been a feature of my life since a young age," she said. “While based in San Francisco for many years I flew to London as often as time allowed to show portfolio and meet with editors who hired me for their California based stories. Now based back in Ireland I spend time going back and forth more often visiting with editors who need an Irish based photographer with a world view.”
Michele's Top 5 more photos of Mayo:
2014 Workshop dates
Discover Mayo: June 15-21, July 16-12, Aug 27-Sept 2
Coastal Mayo: June 22-28, July 13-19, Aug 3-9
Price per workshop is €2,400 (with hotel accommodation) and €2,200 (with B&B accommodation).
Fee includes 7 nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, lunches, snacks, transport and special
welcome and farewell dinners.