Niall O‘Brien
26 April – 21 June 2014

The show marks a substantial exposition from his compelling body of work, „Good Rats“. Over a period of five years O‘Brien was living alongside and observing the lives of a group of young punks from South-West London. During this time, he has seen the group grow from fifteen-year-old kids to young adults, following them on their adventures from Brighton to Berlin and documenting their ex- periences. Gradually earning the trust of the group has enabled him to gain access to some particularly personal and poignant moments in lives of his subjects. O‘Brien captures these with an honesty and respect, that makes these images and episodes all the more visceral and affecting. As O‘Brien himself says, „As a documentary photographer, I‘m driven by honesty. It‘s been a long process for me to gain acceptance into this world and also for me to strike a balance between being physically there but somehow remote.“

Niall O‘Brien‘s images sit somewhere between the visual diary of an insider and the quiet observance of a voyeur, and that‘s exactly, where he places the viewer. The resulting images are raw yet beautiful, intimate and honest, the danger and the joy of his subjects jour- ney resonating throughout. Punks have long had a strong connotation, both in London and in Zurich, but as O‘Brien says, „I think the main point about the body of work is it isn‘t about punk at all.

The images capture the spontaneity of youth and they just happen to be punks.“ There is plenty of nihilism and escapism, adventure and camaraderie, but there is also loneliness and introspection. O’Brien is fascinated by that weighty to weightless state of adolescence, in which the „Good Rats“ are. Phases of regression alterna- te with aggressive outbursts and playful moments in which they fight like children.Total heartedness, great drama, and bottomless romance. It is O’Brien’s commitment to this group and his immersive and very personal relationship with them, which allows him to document such a vivid frank description of a period of time which they all share.

Born 1979 in Dublin, Irish photographer and filmmaker Niall O‘Brien studied fine art photography at the renowned Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. He has exhibited at a number of Irish and English shows and O’Brien’s talent and commitment to his subject is already been recognised by his peers with a number of awards including the Irish Professional Photographer’s Associati- on Rex Roberts Medal and two main categories in the ICI Photographer of theYear Award. In October 2008 Niall was accepted into the top 20 portfolios in the International Portfolio Review, Bratislava. His work was exhibited at the Lim Hak Tai Gallery, NAFA. His film Anger was shown at Block T Gallery in Dublin as part of the 2011 Photo Ireland Festival.


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