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Writer Malachi O'Doherty shows a keen eye for the Irish landscape

By Amanda Ferguson

A romantic photographic exhibition of rural Ireland by the journalist and writer Malachi O'Doherty opens in west Belfast tomorrow.

Malachi's work - entitled Back To The Landscape - will be displayed at the Ballai Bana Gallery, Culturlann McAdam O Fiach, on the Falls Road.

His first formal solo exhibition, it will open tomorrow at 7pm, and will be introduced by the renowned Irish photographer Bobby Hanvey.

Malachi is hoping that his first exhibition, featuring "quite romantic and sentimental" pictures of rural Ireland, will "speak to the heart" of the Irish language community in west Belfast.

The exhibition came about after Culturlann saw some of his photographs on social media sites.

Malachi himself is a little apprehensive about the project, as it is "something completely new" to him.

"Conchubar O Liathain at Culturlann saw some of the work on Facebook and asked me if I would like to exhibit and I jumped at the chance," he said.

"I think these romantic landscapes of Donegal and Connemara appeal to the hearts of a lot of people in the Irish language community who are attached to those places, as I am myself. I have only ever sold one picture before.

"That was in an Artscare exhibition for artists over 60, of which I am one.

"I have also done portraits of local poets, several of which have been used by publishers on book covers."

Malachi feels that his work as a journalist has helped his photographic eye.

"I have often worked alongside photographers as a journalist," he said.

"Although the tradition and the union rules say that the two jobs are separate, a reporter has to think visually and often when you pitch a story you are asked, what picture will go along with this?

"So, maybe the writers and the photographers are not so different."

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