Grogan Diarmait – New Way Home

Grogan Diarmait

New Way Home

‘New Way Home’ incorporates autobiographical elements into a non-linear narrative on longing, loss, joy, intimacy and vulnerability. The result is a subjective reflection on the human condition. Disparate experiences coalesce in a body of work that is ultimately concerned less with an external reality than with highlighting ‘fragmentary moments of interior significance’.

As individuals we have this desire to relate everything to ourselves.  I’m always looking for new images to replace the ones I’ve already made, to express the same feelings more succinctly or more accurately. This is why there is a certain anxiety present in my work, alongside a sense of melancholy. Perhaps it’s about my own fear of disappearance. The camera is an extension of my longing, a yearning for associations, for meaning and for stability in the face of mortality. But the images are made with the understanding that any such stability is a phantasm. Any truths expressed in the work are always partial and contingent.

Authenticity is what I’m striving for. I only want to work in a territory that I’m intimately familiar with. The raw material of the work is natural, but as soon as an image is made it becomes a kind of fiction. I find that tension between truth and fiction, objectivity and subjectivity, to be endlessly fascinating.




Diarmait Grogan was born in Ireland in 1983. He studied photography in the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire, graduating with first class honors in 2008. His work has been exhibited internationally, including an exhibition as part of the ‘Exposure’ program of Format09 International Photography Festival in Derby, UK. He recently presented his first solo show in his home city of Dublin.


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Diarmait Grogan



24 Responses to “Grogan Diarmait – New Way Home”

  • Nice work. I absolutely love number 2.

  • Very good work Diarmait, very intimate. I thought that the intro was going to be overwhelming but it isn’t: very succinct and informative. Congratulations!


  • Please tell me im not seeing digital manipulations layered onto rebate scans.

    Coz that would kinda spoil the fact that I like 2 of these.

  • John, time and again with absolute conviction and without the slightest room for doubt you’ve made the point that the picture in and of itself is all that matters… no background information about the subject, the conditions under which it was taken, the photographer’s intentions nor any technical information would or could alter your opinion about a picture… it’s weird to read this reaction from you… this is not an attack, just wondering why in this instance it would matter, if you cared to elaborate… cheers

  • John..

    gut feeling tells me it’s manipulation.. could be wrong though, and he’s just printing with many different negative holders…

  • No way …it’s all straight. No layers or manipulations is my estimation. Will need more time later with these for sure :)

  • Never gave it a thought; don’t care.


  • Authenticity …… such animal something made up just like the “virgin forest!!”

  • JOHN

    i echo Thodoris’ observation/question…

  • At the moment I’m having a hard time enjoying theses image and it’s all because if those weird borders. It keeps distracting me from these lovely images. I need time to get used to it but right now I keep seeing in my mind the silver efex plugin and it’s pissing me off badly and I hate any kind of technical issue getting in the way of soul.

  • It wouldn’t surprise me,as well,if Silver Fx was used nor does it affect me one way or the other.
    The set is interesting. Some I like. Other, I don’t. The borders are just how Diarmait chose to
    present his work.
    Paul, would the ‘soul’ be any more intact if a natural film border was used on a chemical print ?

  • It’s poetry, from beginning to end. It is not journalism or documentary, so, while I tend to prefer to see unmanipulated photography, if its not, that’s okay with me in this case. Diarmait is creating a reflection of his soul – whatever tools he must use. Yet, I am not convinced that it has been manipulated. Where I most wonder is the face to the right in image 4.

    As I almost always do, I admire the entire presentation.

  • I like the images, but I think the text is a good example of why storytellers, at least those working in art or fiction, shouldn’t actually tell their audience what the story is supposed to be about. Any good story is more interesting when left open to speculation. I mean, had Kafka told us the meaning behind the guy turning into a bug, would the story be half as interesting?

  • I do really love the whole set and the text -I respectfully disagree mw. I think it explains a personal purpose but there is still a lot of room to see into the work.
    A difficult endeavor- well done!

  • John
    I usually don’t care wether these are “pure” silver based, hipstamatic, or otherwise manipulated. When a photograph is manipulated to look old school, I do understand how film burners might feel it is cheating. Shouldn’t the image, however derived, be what is important?

    I have to admit that I have always been uncomfortable with photographs manipulated to look like paintings. We can easily print on canvas now, but even in film days photographers would strip the emulsion and mount the photo on to canvas with a heat press. Some even added brush strokes with a clear acrylic paste made for that purpose. The whole implication is that the more a photo looks like a painting the more “artistic” it is.

    In this case, the implication is that the more a photograph looks like it is old school silver based…grainy, blurry, too contrasty, the more artistic it is.


  • Mtomalty…

    I don’t know, I see soul throughout this essay but personally I find it overwhelmingly overshadowed by a photoshop plugin. It’s probably because I know the Silver efex plugin inside out, I use it all the time. In fact I use certain fake borders for an essay I’m working on at the moment because the two subjects involved, want those frames included when I give back the photos.
    In the end it doesn’t matter the content is brilliant.

  • PAUL

    i think i am coming around a bit on this one…the photoshop DOES make me wince a bit…i honestly did not even notice it the first time around…when i was reviewing the work…my eye does such a hard lock on imagery, as when i take a picture, and extraneous material is just “eliminated”…but in time, i do start the notice the “edges”…this tech just not needed here…the basic work is brilliant…

  • Diarmait:

    i really comment any more on photographers work, rather preserve that now for in person over drinks…but will just say this:

    it is beautiful and heartfelt and the girl on the swing tears my heart up….

    so, for you mate, this is what i thought of when i saw the series, an Irish man singing about Irish children:

    A Kite for Michael and Christopher

    All through that Sunday afternoon
    a kite flew above Sunday,
    a tightened drumhead, an armful of blown chaff.

    I’d seen it grey and slippy in the making,
    I’d tapped it when it dried out white and stiff,
    I’d tied the bows of newspaper
    along its six-foot tail.

    But now it was far up like a small black lark
    and now it dragged as if the bellied string
    were a wet rope hauled upon
    to lift a shoal.

    My friend says that the human soul
    is about the weight of a snipe,
    yet the soul at anchor there,
    the string that sags and ascends,
    weigh like a furrow assumed into the heavens.

    Before the kite plunges down into the wood
    and this line goes useless
    take in your two hands, boys, and feel
    the strumming, rooted, long-tailed pull of grief.
    You were born fit for it.
    Stand in here in front of me
    and take the strain.
    -seamus heaney

    and as for the questioning of the prints…or the use of a software….or for those who can’t see what these are in actuality, i’m stunned, really……have been using film for the breath of my photographic light, printing in darkrooms (none of which matters) and these ARE prints….

    Stand in there and absorb the strain…


  • Diarmait

    Forgive me for not commenting earlier on the content of this presentation. Firstly, congratulations for being published here. These images feel very personal. Personal to you, yes, yet they resonate with me as well. When photographs conjure up smells, and the feeling of cold air on my face, and flashes of memory of times past, I know these are wonderful, powerful images. Thankyou so much.

    Yes, poetry.

  • Diarmait
    I understand the appeal of manipulation, something it seems one needs to get out of their system (or not). As I get older, I often rant about the tendancy of young photographers to fall into the trap of high- contrast-grainy-fuzzy. I went through that phase myself, along with lots of my contemporaries in the sixties-seventies. We’d print on Agfa brovira#6, the highest contrast paper ever made. If you wanted to just get crazy, you would “kodalith” it. Nothing but black, or white. In black and white, now I am more of the “wanna see detail in the deepest shadows and brightest highlights” school. Either approach is now a mouse click away in photoshop.

    Glad you’re having fun. I’m havin’ fun

  • We seem to have lost the slideshow?

  • Borders are useless , does little as a essay but looks as if it would be great on the wall. Thank you for the link Bob

  • Hi everyone, thanks so much for your comments. I only discovered that this was online today, I had somehow missed it.

    I guess I should set the record straight: the images here are all scanned from hand-prints made in two different darkrooms, for what that’s worth. There were no digital manipulations involved, only analogue ones. The borders are the result of filed-out neg carriers, not a photoshop plugin. As small gelatine-silver prints with the image centered on the paper, I felt that the borders aesthetically suited the mood I was trying to evoke with the work. I did question whether they served a valid purpose on jpegs, but since that was how I printed the images I decided to leave them in. Oddly, if I had cropped the borders out, *that* could have validly been called a digital manipulation.

    Thanks again for the feedback, I’m delighted to be on Burn!

  • Diarmait……… “Authenticity is what I’m striving for” means what please?

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