Real Photograph
By Kirsty Mackay

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Year
1999
Media
Acrylic and Gouache
Subject Matter
Abstract - Sea and Boats
Reg. Number
L337
Size
115 x 164 cm

This is an unusual piece for Kirsty Mackay as she mainly focuses her work on photography, however this painting relates to her photographic work in its appearance. This piece is very stark and bold and when first viewed, and there is an almost a superficial feel to the image. The colours are very bright and flat, the lines are very straight and rigid and the content simplistic. It appears to be a desert or beach somewhere next to water, although in actuality it would not look like this, so the title is a contradiction of terms. Mackay claims to seek the everyday unobservable things and what they symbolise. This image could be from a memory and she has then painted an expression of how she felt at the time. In some ways it is more poignant than a photograph because it is a moment remembered, rather than an image of reality. This image engages the viewer with thoughts about what this piece means to them and how it makes them feel. There is something so simple and perfect about the scene, that it almost makes you yearn to be there - in a place where there is no stress and are no distractions. The piece itself is also quite large, and although unassuming in content, the bold and vibrant colour draws the viewer in.

Kirsty Mackay is a well-known and publicised photographer who has a wealth of experience in her field. After studying photography in Glasgow, she went on to work as a photographic assistant in New York. She then took up a similar role in London, assisting some of the biggest names in fashion and advertising. In 2005, in order to further her career, she graduated with an MA in documentary photography and now focuses on her personal projects based around the everyday. This consists of observing the small, unnoticeable everyday accessories and objects that influence our lives, culture and society. She is also interested in the way her profession is always changing in light of technological advances and the shifting cultural perceptions of photography and the way it interacts with people's lives.

Mackay occasionally does freelance work for one-off pieces or series. The list of publications enlisting her talents include the Sunday Express, the Independent on Sunday and M magazine. She has also been awarded the Hunters Armley Photographic Prize and the Best Still Life Portfolio Prize by the Association of Photographers. In 2003, when camera phones had just become accessible, Mackay embarked upon a project with Vodaphone to take a picture every day for a year with a mobile phone camera in order to document her life. Currently, she is also working on her own book called, 'Generation Pink'.

Kirsty Mackay's website

Kirsty Mackay's blog

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