Dennis O'Reilly Dennis O'Reilly

Artist Statement

Artist Statement for Dennis O’Reilly

I started making photographs as a fluke. While in college in Binghamton, New York, I was leaving on vacation for Maine, and inexplicably decided to buy a used Nikon rangefinder camera and several rolls of black and white film. Since that fateful day some forty years ago, I have been hooked on the magic of photography; a lifelong love affair with making images, and viewing the art of others as well.

As my technical and aesthetic skill developed, I became a full believer in the idea of the happy accident. If I was attracted to something (a portrait, landscape, some interesting or unique detail, a building), I would either make an initial image as a record, or make a written note in one of my ever present notebooks of place, time and what it was that I liked and wanted to continue to explore.  This exploration of the happy accident became a key trigger for serenity and peace of mind. When I am in the process of making or manipulating images, my mind stops (or at least the mental chatter does) and I am able to deeply access my subconscious, which allows for the free flow of creative energy rather than a futile attempt to control that out-of-control flow.

I photograph a wide range of subject matter.  Some common themes are: the California Missions; explorations of a single building or a building complex (Disney Concert Hall, Getty Museum, Christ Cathedral); high residual energy ruins (Chichen Itza in Mexico, Machu Picchu in Peru, Patolla Palace in Tibet). I also enjoy working with themes such as: “The Intersection of Tree and Man”, each image of which involves 1) a tree or tree substitute and 2) some visible man made object or setting; or “Walking to Work” which involved shooting only objects or scenes which appeared on my train ride commute to and from a six month temporary job in another city.