Documentary travel photographer Ronan Gallagher interprets our current Stella Kids collection in the new #StellaKidsBy series, capturing the ‘off moments’ of his subjects to reveal a unique charm and energy.
Read Ronan’s Q&A below to find out more about his work and inspiration behind the shoot.
THE MAJORITY OF YOUR WORK CAPTURES PEOPLE ON AND OFF-GUARD. HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR SUBJECTS?
I shoot a lot of street photography. I naturally focus on subjects that follow the mundane routine like someone waiting for a bus. I like those off-moments when people just look normal! It’s just what interests me.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY PEOPLE?
I love listening to people’s stories and documenting interesting characters. Photography opened up this world for me – more than I could imagine.
WHAT INSPIRED THIS PROJECT FOR STELLA MCCARTNEY KIDS?
There is a small agricultural fair that happens in my local town in Ireland every couple of months. It’s nothing new or exciting for the locals but every time I’ve been there I’ve seen an abundance of interesting characters. There is a group of kids that regularly attend this fair and I thought it would be a great opportunity to photograph them for this particular project.
HOW WAS IT WORKING WITH THE KIDS IN THE SHOOT?
The kids where incredible! I just followed them around the fair and documented them which is my favourite way of shooting. One of the older kids was very interested in my job and I gave him a one on one lesson. I let him assist me with changing lens – he seemed eager to take up photography as a hobby which felt quite rewarding.
WHAT MAKES AN INTERESTING IMAGE TO YOU?
Something that is a little bit off. I like when an image has a narrative to it. Alex Webb is a master of this!
WHO IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE SUBJECT?
I photographed a guy called Leo Bud Welch in Mississippi, USA. He is an 85-year-old blues player that was only recently ‘discovered’ and only really started his career (travelling to play international gigs) since 2014! He was offered the chance to audition for BB King in the 40s or 50s but couldn’t afford the trip to Memphis at the time, so missed the opportunity. He is such a talented man and an amazing character. I just really enjoyed spending time with him and hearing about his life and his music.
WOULD YOU SAY THERE IS AN ELEMENT OF DOCUMENTARY TO YOUR WORK?
Yes, most my inspiration comes from documentary photographers. I like to apply this to my fashion shots, too.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
I grew up on the west coast of Ireland surrounded by amazing landscape and surf. My brother got me into photography after returning from surf trips and showing me pictures he had taken. I went out and bought some disposable cameras from my local pharmacy and I started taking pictures of my skateboarding friends. It just grew from there.