Lyrical landscapes and the cinematography of Song of Granite

Niall Murphy

Take a single frame from any scene in Pat Collins’ Song of Granite and you could mount it on the wall of any art museum in the country. Such is the beauty of the imagery captured by cinematographer Richard Kendrick’s camera.

Kendrick and Collins have a long established working relationship, dating back to 2002’s IFTA-award-winning documentary Oileán Thoraí. Like Song of Granite, that first collaboration was black-and-white beautifully photographed tale of life on the edges of Ireland. It was described by the Celtic Film Jury as “an atmospheric and beautifully photographed study of landscape, time, culture and change on that remote and weather beaten island.”

Kendrick describes his working relationship with Collins as one honed over the years “[quote]”

Collins, for his part, has an established pool of talent upon whom he relies for their talents, integrity, and honesty, with editor Tadhg O’ Sullivan the third leg of a cinematic tripod. As Collins puts it, this collaborative effort “[quote]”.

With Song of Granite being a biopic of legendary sean nós singer Joe Heaney, music is an integral part of the film. Therefore it was vital that the visual aesthetic of the film be a companion to the aural and not distract or detract from it, or from Heaney’s journey.  This has given raise to a camera that has a calmness and luxuriates in static position and the grandeur of the Irish landscape.