The Whithorn Story Visitor Centre opened its doors to a new season last week with a new fine art photography exhibition in the Ninian Gallery.
The exhibition entitled “Ruins of Religion, Guardians of Memories is by Geoff Gillingwater and is on show for the whole of the month of April.
Geoff decided to undertake this ambitious project two years ago after visiting Wigtownshire and being introduced to some of the many ruined chapels in the region. They held a strange fascination, these buildings that were once centres of the community now stood almost forgotten in ruins, yet they still stood as sentinels guarding the memories of those who had been entrusted to their care. They are looked after and cared for by a few dedicated people. The ideas of memory and loss he has tried to depict in his work relate to the both the places and the people who rest there. Those many names on stones that are forgotten until a passer by reads them and brings their memory back once more.
Geoff Gillingwater currently lectures in Photography and Creative Media in Leeds but he has been making photographs since an early age. Following a life-changing incident in 2005 he decided to leave his career in IT and pursue a future he wanted in photography. He returned to education to study photography at Harrogate College. After achieving a 1st class BA honours Degree he enrolled to study for a Masters Degree in Lens and Time based Media. This project is the culmination of his MA and five years of study.
Geoff takes a traditional approach to his photography. He uses medium or large format cameras and shoots on black and white film that he processes himself. During his study he has become skilled in the darkroom and hand prints his own work.
He specializes in fine art and social documentary photography. His last two projects ‘Parallels on the East Coast’ and ‘Recycling Burnley’ have been exhibited at Harrogate International Centre, Leeds Library, Harewood House and Flannels Gallery in Leeds.