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Three decades of Achill’s beauty

Staying In

ATMOSPHERIC ACHILL One of the images that features in a new book of photographs by Achill photographer Seán Cannon.

Anton McNulty

The breathtaking and majestic landscapes of Achill Island captured over a 30-year period through the lens of photographer Seán Cannon will be part of his first-ever book, to be launched this weekend.
In 1989, photographer Seán Cannon and his wife, Margaret, opened the Western Light Art Gallery in the seaside village of Keel on Achill Island, and over the last 30 years it has become a haven for artists and built up an international reputation.
To celebrate 30 years in business, Seán is releasing his debut book, ‘Edge of Light’, featuring some of his intimate collection of images taken around Achill Island over three decades.
“We have been making the book for the last three decades, and it has always been in my mind to release a book. We are celebrating 30 years in the gallery this year and Margaret said ‘Seán it is time to do the book’. With that in mind we decided to do it,” Seán told The Mayo News.
‘Edge of Light’  includes 43 of Seán’s most-loved and -celebrated images, both black-and-white and colour. The result is a unique album that is both compelling and graceful; a fond tribute to his island home that locals, visitors and collectors can all enjoy and savour.
With hundreds of images taken over the three decades, Seán admitted that choosing a selection for the final edition was not an easy task.
“We had the place littered, and eventually whittled it down to a hundred. [We] then started to look hard at those ones, carefully choosing the images to what we wanted the book to say and show.” A native of Co Monaghan, Seán had been coming to Achill since he was young and describes Achill as a ‘supremely special’ place for photographers. He explained that the sunlight bouncing off the Atlantic along with the landscape creates an atmosphere that is impossible for photographers to ignore.
The photograph that graces the cover of the book (pictured) was taken from the top of Minaun at 5am on a November morning in 2015 as the sun was rising over Clew Bay. It is one of a many images that shows the unique beauty of the island.
A number of the photographs that feature are for sale in the Western Light Art Gallery, where all the printing and framing also takes place.

‘Edge of Light’ will be launched this Sunday, June 2, in the Western Light Art Gallery at 3pm, with Achill poet John F Deane performing the launch as well as providing the book’s foreword. ‘Edge of Light’ is published by Curragh Books and will be on sale in the Western Light Art Gallery and bookshops nationwide.