Interview Rohan Reilly

Hello Rohan, hope you are well, please briefly tell us about yourself.

I was born in England, both of my parents were from Ireland and we returned home when I was young. I moved backed to London in my late teens and started working in the music business. I was always a huge music fan and decided to quit the business side and become more involved in the production of music. I returned to Ireland and set up a record label and shop, whilst djing to promote my record label.

I travelled a lot whilst djing and started taking photographs, I had a Polaroid and a small Casio digital camera with me.

In the mid 2000’s and with the advent of digital technology, mp3s and online shopping changed the way music was bought. I closed my record shop and decided to move to Barcelona. I was still djing and running my record label but suddenly I had a lot of spare time. I started to take photographs everyday, particularly inspired by the architecture of Antoni Gaudi and Santiago Calatrava.

My wife and I returned to Ireland in 2010 and I started to make a career for myself in photography. I now own a gallery in Kinsale where I sell my prints and organise workshops.

Rohan Reilly
Bass Rock 50

I would like to know how you describe minimal photography and what minimal photography means to you?

Minimalism for me is quietness and simplicity. A scene or presentation with just the bare essentials. It is a space to fall into, one that soothes the senses and adds a little calm and wonder to this crazy world.


What is the relevance between minimalism and calm mind? Can we take minimalistic shots with a confused mind?

I have a very frantic nature internally, thinking and organising many things at the same time. It has always been this way. Even when I was young, I was constantly dreaming and scheming. Jumping from one thought to another and my eldest daughter Tilly is exactly the same. I am learning so much about myself from observing her. 

Landscape photography and minimalism in particular is my antidote. I am never calmer and more at one with myself that when I am photographing. Everything else in my life just fades away when I am out with my camera and lenses. I have realised this is the reason I am much more productive when abroad. The minute I board the plane I forget about the business side of things and create. So in my case, the answer would be no. 

To elaborate a little further, I sometimes find myself on auto-pilot when shooting. The images are composed well and exposed fine but I have no relationship with the image. I haven’t fully relaxed and absorbed the surroundings, my best work is made when I am calm and in tune with my surroundings, I need to soak the scene up and feel it before I can portray it’s true beauty

Rohan Reilly

What gear do you carry with you on your photo shoots, especially when shooting snowy landscapes?

I have a Gitzo tripod, a Sony A7R2, 6 Canon Tilt Shift lenses, 17mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 90mm and 135mm and various ND filters. I use the shift function on my Tilt Shift lenses to create large panoramas and squares. This increases not only the resolution and detail, but also the presence of my subjects in the images. I would be lost without them now, they have been a revelation since I started using them, the difference in print quality is unbelievable.

When visiting Hokkaido, my equipment stays the same but I make sure to dress for winter. I have snow boots, ski gloves, a ski visor and some other essentials that keep me comfortable when shooting.

Rohan Reilly

What Is your favorite website or blog you visit often?

I like to check in with your magazine and Dodho but I have less and less time online these days. I always look for galleries and exhibitions when travelling.


Is photography considered as art? If yes, explain please.

I certainly think it is. A camera is a tool, a camera doesn’t compose, a camera doesn’t select a subject or pick the focal length, a camera doesn’t wait for the perfect light or realise what the perfect light is etc etc The photographer has to make these decisions to create each piece. If these photographs touch a person’s soul then it can be considered art.

Rohan Reilly

Are you married? If yes, honestly let me know your spouse’s role in development of your profession as a photographer.

I am married and we have two lovely young girls. My wife has a family business in Baltimore (a small fishing / touristic village) in West Cork, Ireland. It was always her desire to return here from Barcelona. I have always lived in cities and worked in the music/entertainment business. I was struggling to work out what I would do in Baltimore. She suggested I make a career in photography. I doubted that it could be possible but decided to try. She has backed me fully in my career and likewise I have always fully supported her desire to develop the family business. We schedule our busy times around each other and our little girls. I like to think we are a good team.


Among your projects, which series or a single photograph is your favourite? What’s the story behind the project or photograph?

I think my Aqua Alta, Casoni and Sketches series are my favourites, it’s hard to choose one but it would probably be my Sketches series.

These were taken locally to where I live. I found these reeds in a lake close by and waited for calm foggy conditions. I wore waders and waded out in to the lake to find uncluttered compositions. It felt like a collaboration between myself and nature. Nature had planted all of the reeds and they grew randomly, it was my job to compose and decipher the calligraphy made by them.

Rohan Reilly
The Source

If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

I like the Atlantic Puffin, it can walk, fly and swim…. I often dream about flying and love swimming.



What do you consider your biggest success in your career so far?

I don’t dwell too much on awards or accolades. I am very thankful that I am in a wonderful position to own a gallery and travel, but I think my greatest satisfaction comes from seeing participants on my workshops grow as photographers and develop their style.


What makes a memorable photograph, in your opinion?

A memorable photograph has to have a strong impact in some way, a connection and a feeling.  One that won’t let go. I could suggest colour, tone, light, composition, subject etc etc, but it’s not the technical part of photography it’s how the photograph touches the heart, mind or soul of the viewer.

Rohan Reilly
Acqua Alta Correos

Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

To create minimal landscapes, I would recommend that photographers should learn as much as possible about weather. Knowing how to predict when the conditions will be perfect. Sometimes it can be fog, snow or soft rain to minimise the landscape, clear skies and harsh light can make for bold shapes and shadows. Minimalism and landscape photography in general, becomes so much easier to realise and process when the conditions are right. Understanding which conditions are best for each scene is very important.


What are your plans for the future?

I hope to continue running my gallery in Kinsale and hosting my workshops in the winter. I have started working on my first book which I aim to release in late 2019.


Thank you for your time. If you like to further explain any point for our readers, please go ahead.

I would like to congratulate you on your magazine and thank you for the interview and exposure, it is greatly appreciated.

Rohan Reilly
Tamashii no Tomo 50

Rohan Reilly’s Website

Bnw Minimalism Magazine 13

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