Enda Bowe, Hannah


Pádraig O'hUiginn Gallery
24 Aug, 2023 - 1 Oct, 2023

Blending documentary and staged photography, Enda Bowe creates images tracing the physical and psychological landscapes of the everyday. He embeds himself in both urban and suburban worlds, that are at once personal and universal.

Inspired by cinema, painting and poetry, the photographs that make up Bowe’s latest series, Hannah convey a sense of the subject’s internal dialogue, visually capturing unseen and intimate gestures, emotions and quiet moments that occur daily, almost without us knowing. The RHA is delighted to exhibit Bowe’s latest photographic series in the exhibition Hannah this autumn, on view in the Pádraig O’hUiginn Gallery.

The series can be interpreted as a film of Hannah’s everyday life made through still photographs, away from the view and expectations of an audience. In this way, each scene becomes a reflection of our own internal worlds, expressed through Hannah’s presence in her own world, on her own stage. Alone in a room surrounded by an unnamed city, and by thousands of unseen people, the unknown becomes her backdrop.

The work was made in a similar manner as a film director, by shaping a series of scenes within a film to delineate a story and emotional journey. A rhythm, feeling and intention is harnessed; moments are hooked in time. The photographs are lifted from a visual recording of time, capturing a synchronicity of understanding between subject and photographer, both parties focused on the presence and emotions contained within the room. Within each lifted frame, we are party to glimpses of an imagined reality and emotional journey through changing feelings, days, light and seasons.

Bowe enjoys the collaborative process of working with artists of other forms, often writers and music producers. For this project, he collaborated with award-winning writer and playwright Lucy Caldwell, who wrote a short piece of fiction to accompany the finished series.

Caldwell’s work often illuminates the private worlds of young women, and in her text, written in the second person, she both responds to the vivid sense of Hannah’s interior dialogue with herself, and also draws on her own experiences and memories of times of statis and uncertainty.

Tender and vulnerable, the photographs are suffused with longing, a sense of searching and an awareness of the myriad joys and sorrows a day can contain, lingering on the moments that resonate with us all.

Bowe’s experience of working as Lenny Abrahamson’s set-photographer on his acclaimed series’ ‘Normal People’ and ‘Conversations With Friends’ was an important inspiration for Hannah. The marriage of the cinematic process with his photographic practice shapes the direction of his work today.

Artist biog

Enda Bowe’s work is concerned with storytelling and the search for light and beauty in the ordinary. He presents his work through exhibition and the publication of photographic monographs.

Bowe’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Red Hook Gallery, New York, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, the National Portrait Gallery, London, the National Portrait Gallery, Dublin, Fotohof, Salzburg, Dortmund U, Dortmund, The Gallery of Photography, Dublin, Hilversum Museum, Hilversum and The Visual Centre Of Contemporary Art, Carlow.

Bowe won the Zürich Portrait Prize 2019, National Gallery, Ireland. He received the Taylor Wessing Portrait Second Prize on consecutive years, 2018 and 2019, National Portrait Gallery, London.

His collection of work ‘At Mirrored River’ received the international Solas Photography Award 2015 and was nominated for the Prix Pictet Award 2016 and the Deutsche Borse Foundation Photography Prize 2016.

Love’s Fire Song was exhibited at The Gallery of Photography Ireland and was published by Blue Swallow Books. The exhibition was nominated by Frieze as one of the top ten European exhibitions of 2020 alongside Steve McQueen and other respected artists.

Bowe’s work is in the permanent collections of the V&A London, National Gallery Ireland, Arts Council Collection Ireland and Photography Museum Ireland.


  • Date:

    24 Aug, 2023 - 1 Oct, 2023
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