Headshot of Emily Esdale - Nua Collective Artist 2022

Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.”

– John Berger

Emily Esdale

My love for photography started when my father started to bring me home analogue cameras to explore. Him being an auctioneer allowed me to explore different means of photography, as I was able to discover a wide range of methods and techniques when photographing. From using the camera as a vernacular object, it has allowed me to enjoy the process of analogue photography and the manipulation that can be produced from the time spent within a darkroom.

Emily Esdale is a recent graduate of the MFA Fine Art course at Belfast School of Art (Ulster University). She previously graduated with a First Class Honours in BA Photography and Video also at Belfast School of Art in July 2019, winning the Jill Todd Photographic Award.

She also studied Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art. During Emily’s time as a student, she has questioned different conceptual outcomes and mainly uses the landscape as a conductor to express her vulnerability as a photographer, through giving energy and time to a particular site. 

Artist Statement

Esdale creates work through experimentation with photography, video, found material and writing, these are all part of an ongoing concern with the narrative component of the work. The work is typically created when the emotions, memories and connotations associated with landscapes that exposed to daily, conflict with the idea that they feel so remote and out of reach. Esdale’s work helps to explore interesting and dynamic relationships between human and land and how a certain place can greatly influence our emotions. 

From using walking as a performative technique, it allows Esdale to document her feelings and emotions during these journeys within these specific landscapes. During each journey, creating a vivid description about each location through text and the visual narrative has allowed different thoughts and feelings towards each place to grow and gain a better understanding of the different emotions that occurred. The texts that are created allow the audience grasp onto their internal feelings and emotions from viewing the work.

Nairac - Emily Esdale - Video Still - Nua Collective
Above: ‘Nairac’

Photographic Print, W21cm x H14.8cm, 2014

Esdale’s work helps to explore interesting and dynamic relationships between human and land and how a certain place can greatly influence our emotions. 



Masters in Fine Art  – Belfast School of Art (September 2019 – June 2021)

BA Hons Photography and Video – Belfast School of Art (September 2016 – June 2019)

BA Hons Fine Art Photography – Glasgow School of Art (September 2015 – June 2016)


  • Royal Ulster Academy of Arts 140th Annual Exhibition, Ulster Museum, Belfast (October 2021 – January 2022)
  • “In the Presence of Absence”, Class of 2021 MFA Graduates, Queen Street Studios, Belfast (November 2021)
  • The Salonathon Show, Platform Arts, Connswater, Belfast (November 2021)
  • Portrait of Northern Ireland: neither an elegy nor a manifesto, The Golden Thread Gallery Belfast (October – November 2021)
  • Art Residency Showcase (solo exhibition), The Second Fiddle Bar, Belfast (September – November 2021)
  • Not Here/Here, Arts For All, Cityside, Belfast (June 2021)
  • Here/Not Here, Belfast School of Art, Belfast (May 2021)
  • E Quadrant, Belfast School of Art, Belfast (January 2021)


Jill Todd Photographic Award – 2019

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