In the first of our new One In A Million series, we meet Abigail Denniston, a freelance photographer, and discover her Dublin.
Abi Denniston has been living in Dublin for nearly five years now, working mostly on the music scene as a freelance photographer. She also does some work for The Thin Air Music and Culture Magazine, shooting musicians and bands for various features for the online and print version of the mag. When not behind the lens, she also bartends at The Black Sheep Bar on Capel Street, and runs the Window Sessions from MishMash café.
What attracted you to Dublin in the first place?
Well back in 2010 I was living in Cork, barely working part-time, and found full-time work here in Dublin. Back then I was also on the lookout to begin a Masters in some kind of creative field as my undergrad was in History of Art. My interest in Photography lead me to apply for an MA in Photography (a London Metropolian University) course which was being taught here.
What does Dublin mean to you?
Dublin means loads to me. It lead me to seriously appreciate how hard musicians and creative individuals work to be seen and heard. There is so much to go and see here any night of the week. This city oozes creative energy. Dublin’s smaller venues that house gigs like The Ruby Sessions upstairs in Doyles, and upstairs in Whelan’s, the ones that usually support up-and-coming talent, are my favourite.
Do you think of yourself as a Dubliner?
No, because most people don’t even think I’m Irish.
Tell us about your interest in photography and what you get out of it
It started as a hobby really, long before I moved to Dublin, and then I started attending craft markets where I used to sell my prints. I considered myself very much a street photographer and I used to work a lot on my Dad’s old 35mm. This all changed when I started my Masters and I aspired to create my own style with portraiture. I get so much out of finding expressions in faces and trying to pin point the moment a subject decides to relax in front of the camera. It has a lot to do with the photographer’s relationship with their model or subject.
What projects are you working on at the moment, or have in the pipeline?
I’ve just finished working on a shoot I did with the Dublin band Little Xs For Eyes for their new track launch. It was great fun working with such a creative bunch.
I am currently working on a video piece that will be part of a group exhibition including the work of Sarah Edmondson and Christine Browne also in November at MART in Rathmines entitled YOU ARE HERE.
I’ve also started working a project in the making with my Dad, he is a writer, and we have worked on projects together in the past, but I can’t reveal much more about this one yet.
You also run the Window Sessions at Mish.Mash – what was the impetus for starting this?
Mish.Mash is hands down my favourite café in Dublin. It’s run by two Polish sisters who have, from scratch, created an amazing café experience. Absolutely everything from their delicious and creative made-in-house menu, to the furniture, to the teapots, is so nicely done.
They run monthly exhibitions of art work there and I put my name down for exhibition and asked would it be ok if I had some people play some music at it. And so the Window Sessions were born, as the girls fancied the idea of having bands play regularly. Neev Kennedy, Niall Thomas and Gar Cleary played at the first one.
What acts do you have coming up to play at Mish.Mash?
The next Window Sessions is on Thursday, 10th September and Mongoose and Miriam Donohue are playing. Can’t wait for this one! It’s seriously one not to be missed. And it will also be a fundraiser, with proceeds going towards helping the current refugee crisis.
What’s a perfect day in Dublin for you?
Sun, Good Music and Good Company, and did I mention Sun?
What one thing would you change about Dublin?
Banish the new on-the-spot fines for cyclists!
Many thanks to Abi for taking the time to answer our questions. Do check out her website, and if you find yourself around Capel Street, we strongly suggest that you pay a visit to Mish.Mash café!
Stay tuned for more in the One in a Million series, featuring some of the finest creative minds and talent this city has to offer.
Lead image and photos of MishMash Café © Abigail Denniston