A Franciscan Friar who first took an interest in photography almost 35 years ago has published a book of his photos.
The book, titled God’s Beauty in Nature, was launched by Fr. Richard Callanan at the Franciscan Friary in Clonmel.
Fr. Richard, who has been based in Clonmel for the past 9 years, will leave the town next Monday to return to Rossnowlagh in Donegal.
Included among the book’s 58 pages are images of local areas, landmarks and beauty spots including Kilmanahan, St. Mary’s Church in Irishtown, St. Patrick’s Well, the village of Newcastle, Christmas lights on Mitchel Street, the foothills of the Comeragh mountains and the river Suir at Knocklofty. These are interspersed with photos taken around the country at locations including Dunmore East, Waterford city, Killarney, Kinsale, Connemara and Rossnowlagh.
Rossnowlagh, which is near Ballyshannon in Donegal, is where it all started. The guardian at the friary suggested that Fr. Richard take a camera that had lain on a shelf, unclaimed, for some time, and since then photography has been his hobby. Incidentally the guardian in Rossnowlagh at that time was Fr. Oscar, who spent some time in Clonmel more than 40 years ago and now lives in Cork city.
“I’ve been taking photos for years and I know what people like. People have told me that my photos are like postcards”, says Fr. Richard, who’s originally from Navan and moved to Ballsbridge in Dublin with his family when he was 10.
John Denby, a photographer in Carrick-on-Suir (where Fr. Richard also served) and Kilcash-based artist Mia Carney suggested that he stage an exhibition, and a selection of his photos went on display at last year’s Clancy Festival in Carrick. He also contributed photos to a Franciscan calendar before the publication of the book, which was produced by Colette Magnone and Clare Brophy, the secretary of the Franciscan Provincial.
In the foreword to the book Fr. Richard says “I always had an eye for the beauty of the created world. Under the influence of St. Francis, this love was deepened. When I go touring with the camera, I feel peace. God feels present in a special way”.
His book is a fitting parting gift to the people of Clonmel and South Tipperary, and Fr. Richard is wished the very best in his future endeavours.