Gillian Hyland is an image maker; she personally composes every aspect of her pictures. Originally from Ireland, Gillianʼs career began in publishing, where she worked as a fashion stylist and features writer for a number of well-known national magazines. This led to a move into the television industry, and later into the film industry, where she worked in a variety of roles, including stylist, set designer, and art director. Since 2007 Gillian has been living in London. This period has seen her create imagery for fashion shoots, commercials and advertising campaigns for a range of high-profile international clients and brands.
This diverse background helped her develop a passion for making images, which evolved into her own distinctive photographic style,, her photographs have been exhibited around the world and received several awards.
“Itʼs not about creating a pretty picture, for me itʼs the intention that lies beneath it that is truly worthwhile. Iʼm drawn to the thinking mind behind the face, the subjects eyes holding a story in their gaze, that is what I aim to capture through my photographs.”
Gillian Hyland creates supernatural staged images, presented as film stills or dramatic moments. Hylandʼs unsettling mise-en-scene are full of sex and desire, sadness and nostalgia. Narratives that are psychologically evocative – at once sublimely theatrical yet poignant.
Like Richard Avedon and Guy Bourdin, the mix of fashion and art has challenged us to accept stylised new ideas of femininity and masculinity, innocence and sensuality. Hyland describes herself as an image maker and story teller. Her dramatic photographs are based on her own poems other peoples memories and feelings, they depict characters in human dramas and isolated emotional situations. Frozen in time, solitary and vulnerable moments are presented in glorious technicolor and timeless sets.
Encapsulating her memories and emotions in poems she then transforms these into images, offering a new perspective. Choosing the characters Hyland looks for people who can give something of themselves.
The imagery plays with our notions of nostalgia, and taps into societyʼs cultural understanding of feelings and beliefs. The composition of each image suggests a larger narrative within a single moment. The photograph explores Hylandʼs sense of self and society and aims to engage and trigger an emotional response from the viewer.
‘I want the viewer to look at my image and see themselves. The use of sets and costumes is part of creating a story that we can all identify with, a past we can recall parts of.ʼ