Cork-born photographer showcases work at the Lavit

A touring retrospective of 25 years of Cork-born photographer David Magee is on at the Lavit Gallery
Cork-born photographer showcases work at the Lavit
Photographer David McGee.

Tell us about yourself:

I am an Irish artist was born and raised in Cork.

My works are held in both private and international collections.

I studied Fine Art at Crawford Municipal School of Art.

In 1982, I attended Glasgow School of Art & Design, where I studied under Thomas Joshua Cooper, American fine-art landscape photographer.

My work explores our fundamental attraction to the natural world and the physicality of being in the landscape.

I have won major awards in London, Paris, New York, Toyko and Los Angeles.

I published my first limited-edition book, Outside, in 2017 — a 25 year retrospective — and a second titled The Ancient Trees at Buckland House in 2019.

I am currently represented by galleries in both London and the United States, and I spend my time between my homes in London and West Cork.

My photographs are emotional experiences involving a lot of travelling, walking, sitting, waiting, thinking, re-thinking and finally creating.

It’s the entire process that fascinates and motivates me…

In my photographs, there is no real sense of time or specific place.

The location is totally secondary to the feeling. The feeling is everything

Where were you born?

Cork city.

Where do you live?

Im lucky enough to divide my time between my home in West Cork and my home in London.


I’m the proud father of four wonderful children (now adults) who have all grown up to become people whose company I cherish and enjoy. My greatest achievement without a doubt.

Best friend?

I don’t have a ‘best’ friend as such, I have a wonderful close knit circle of friends, all of whom I’m lucky enough to consider ‘great’ friends.

Earliest childhood memory?

Gardening with my mum. She is a prolific and talented florist and gardener and from very early on, memories of helping her prune the flowers and tending the garden, whilst chatting about everything and nothing. Those are my earliest and most cherished of memories.

Person you most admire?

My father — without question. He epitomises to me what it is to be a great father.

As a father myself, I appreciate now more than ever what an amazing job he did and still does. He is always on hand for sage advice, coupled with a quick, dry wit, he is a truly amazing man!

Person who irritates you the most?

I try not to let any one person get under my skin, if can help it. Life is too short for that!

However, there are things that irritate me generally. People who wear flip flops in towns and cities, I strongly believe these should be reserved for poolside or the beach ONLY! And people who have the means, but are of a ‘tight’ disposition...

Where is your most memorable holiday?

I was lucky enough to travel a lot with my parents as a child and I think that is what gave me my wanderlust.

It would have to be my first holiday to Spain as a child. The food, the sights and smells and how very different it all was compared to home. Fishing and exploring in the warm weather, in a time when a day felt like a lifetime.

Favourite TV programme?

Tales Of The Unexpected, although I’m not sure it has weathered the test of time very well! But, as a concept, created by the genius that was Roald Dahl, it always captivated me.

I also enjoy the Black Mirror series written by the very talented Charlie Brooker, a Tales Of The Unexpected for the modern age!

Favourite radio programme?

Graham Norton on BBC on a Saturday morning , an eclectic musical mix, interesting guests and amusing conversations.

Your signature if cooking?

I love to cook... I would say scallops with pea puree and back pudding, never fails to impress!

Favourite restaurant?

This is easy, Deasy’s in Ring, Clonakilty. Amazing fish restaurant, well considered menus, brilliantly executed in wonderful surroundings.

Last book you read?

AA Gill’s Lines In The Sand. An incredible, influential read. A great talent, taken too soon.

Best book you have ever read?

The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Last album dowloaded?

Foy Vance, Live in London.

Favourite song?

Freddie White’s version of Desperados Waiting for a Train. It evokes childhood memories.

One person you would like to see in concert?

Too late now I know, but I would have loved to have seen Bob Marley.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, I love dogs. We have a rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Bailee, who is adorable and a little nuts!

Morning person or night owl?

Early morning. It’s when everything is calm and still in slumber, and the light perfect.

Your proudest moment?

The birth of my first born... an incomparable feeling.

Spendthrift or saver?

I live for the moment, so I would say I’m more of a spendthrift.

Name the one thing you would improve in the area that you live?

Most towns and cities have a real problem with litter so I would improve that, along with the wasteful use and disposal of single use plastic.

What makes me happy?

Aside from being with my loved ones — I would say being alone and immersed in the West Cork landscape. Doing what makes me happiest — making photographs.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a good father, a loyal friend and a man with humanity and integrity who lived life to its fullest.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I have just completed my second book publication. Im also in the throes of exhibiting at the Lavitt Gallery in Cork, a 25-year retrospective.

Following that, I also have exhibitions later in the summer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the Hampton’s, New York.

I’m also working on a new body of work — so I’m pretty busy!


The Lavit Gallery on Wandesford Quay, Clarke’s Bridge, Cork, is hosting a touring retrospective of 25 years of Cork-born, London-based photographer David Magee, until Saturday, July 21.

Outside, which was exhibited at the Herrick Gallery in London in 2018, will continue to New York, to be exhibited at the Alex Ferrone Gallery in August, 2019.


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