Niall O’Brien is Photography’s Willard

By

Published February 8, 2010

“There’s something beautiful about capturing the spontaneity of youth. It’s something everyone can relate to on some level, even if they can’t immediately identify with this mad group of punks,” says photographer Niall O’Brien of his first show at Art Work Space in the Hemptel Hotel, London, called “Good Rats.” It’s an identification that he cultivated slowly while living among a group of young punks called the Kingston Brew Crew (K.B.C) from South West London and tailing them on adventures from Brighton to Berlin. O’Brien describes a difficult balance he worked to achieve in the two years of his immersion: gaining a level of trust with his subjects without “doing anything that would affect what comes naturally.” O’Brien also worked to balance the articulation of truth and fiction in his documentary style of portraiture, which manifests in alternately romantic and melancholic styles. Witnessed in groups and by themselves, with their dogs and with a beer, the kids don’t look so mad after all.

GOOD RATS IN ON VIEW THROUGH MARCH 11. ART WORK SPACE IS LOCATED AT 31-35 CRAVEN HILL GARDENS, LONDON, W2 3EA