INTERVIEW WITH MUDKISS MAGAZINE (AUGUST 09): http://www.mudkiss.com/themasterswitch.htm
I'm from Dublin Ireland and am currently based in Hamilton Ontario.
My earliest photographic project was a study of a 1962 E-Type Jaguar. It was my fathers car and I shot it with his Linhof. It was 1977, the Sex Pistols were honoring Her Majesty outside the Houses Of Parliament with God Save The Queen and I was ten years old. The aesthetic beauty of the car and the intriguing nature of recreating that beauty photographically ignited the spark which would set me on a path of creative discovery, a path, I guess, to which I was genetically predisposed. The Pistols alerted me to something entirely different in emotion but no less intriguing.
I grew up immersed in a world of art, design and music. My great Grandfather, Art O'Murnaghan, was Ireland's National Scribe and a key member of the Irish Celtic Revivalist movement. Commissioned by the government, he spent 27 years completing the 14 illuminations that would become the nation's manuscript 'Leabhar na hAiseirghe' (Book Of The Resurrection), commemorating the men who died in the 1916 rising.
My father, Walter Figgis, was a respected Architect who did his apprenticeship under Michael Scott before departing for North America in the mid 50's where, amongst many other projects, he designed internal features for the World Trade Centre. A photographer and music aficionado, he not only encouraged my interest in photography, but also introduced me, at age 11, to John Peel's radio program. This combination opened up my whole world. He would record Peel's tri-nightly show during the week while I climbed the walls in boarding school, and I would edit the cassettes when I was released for a few hours on Sunday. Music and 'art' (I wasn't versed in design terminology at 11) became the two non-mutually exclusive areas of my focus. I can't remember which I got first, my medium format Brownie Synchro Reflex or my turntable.
Dublin in the mid 80's was a small hive of musical activity and while studying design, I regularly attended gigs. This would turn to an obsession when, a year after graduation in 1990, I moved to London. Working in animation for Universal Studios and getting some freelance design work on the side, I immersed myself in the bountiful and eclectic musical mÃ©lange on offer, although I was having so much fun jumping about and injuring myself that I was never still long enough to photograph the bands I saw. That obsession came later.
It was back in Dublin in the mid 00's, while working as senior designer for One Productions, that I began what would become an almost nightly ritual of fighting my way through the crowds of Dublin's animated live scene, camera in hand. Cutting my teeth by photographing one of my favorite Irish punk bands, Paranoid Visions, I found myself unexpectedly sucked through the lens when, through a strange process of osmosis, I became their bass player. Over the subsequent years, in various venues and festivals around Ireland and Europe, I've had the opportunity to see, photograph, meet and even play with some of the best bands in the world and many of my childhood heroes including Iggy and the Stooges, Sex Pistols, X-Ray Spex, The New York Dolls, Faust and Devo to name but a handful.
In recent years I have ventured much more into the fashion/portraiture area of photography, taking pictures for album sleeves, PR and modeling portfolios, as well as fashion orientated shoots for my own short films. My work as a designer is a clear influence on my photographic style in terms of composition, colour and an overall visual approach. I am responsible for my own styling and makeup direction.
I currently work in Dublin as a freelance photographer and designer and as house photographer for some of Dublin's most respected live venues, as well as touring, recording and releasing albums with Paranoid Visions. I am also stills photographer for October Eleven Pictures.
TFP/TFCD provided than any costs incurred are covered/split
Getty Images, London
HeWhoCannotBeNamed, Poly Styrene, Glen Matlock, Bell X1, Jim Jones Revue, Daniel Figgis, Eamon Carr, Ulick O'Connor, Lluther, Brian James Gang, Texas Terri Bomb, Gang Of Four, The Drones, Brant Bjork, Wire, Zealots, Paul McGuinness, Devo, Dahlia Dark, Von Shakes, Stagger Lee, Laura Izibor.
Brona MacNally School Of Dance, Dublin
Daniel Figgis' Snakes & Ladders
Contemporary Irish Music Festival, New York.
Rebellion Punk Festival, Blackpool & Vienna
Analog Festival, Dublin Docklands
Electric Picnic, County Laois
Venues: Whelans, The Village, The Button Factory, Crawdaddy, Tripod
Clubs: Sassy Sue's GoGo Inevitable, Club Hysteria Fetish & Bondage
October Eleven Pictures, Dublin