Born Abraham Feldman in 1901, Arthur Fields was from a Ukrainian Jewish family who fled anti-Semitism. From the 1930s to the 1980s, he stood on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge taking photographs of the city that passed before him in dapper suits, mini-skirts, mohawks and mullets: meeting first loves, proudly showing off firstborns, laughing with friends. In the background, O'Connell Street and the world changed. Nelson's Pillar disappeared; the golden arches of McDonalds materialised. Arthur captured a remarkable record of life over the course of half a century.
Although he took thousands of photos, no negatives survive. Ciaran Deeney and David Clarke launched the Man on the Bridge project to crowd-source Arthur's photos and create an alternative photographic archive of Dublin city, culminating in an acclaimed book. Now, more of the cherished snapshots have been gathered from walls, drawers and wallets throughout the country, and are collected here with the names and stories behind them: a father's friend `Flash' who lost a leg in the Spanish Civil War; the last known photo of a beloved mother, carrying the slippers she had just bought for her `routine' operation.
This second volume of Dublin's unofficial family photo album is a nostalgic and bittersweet ode to a changing city and the people who walk its streets.
Arthur Fields lived in the Dublin suburb of Raheny. He started out as a tailor but realised the growing trade of street photography was an opportunity not to be missed. Little did he know he would spend fifty years on O'Connell Bridge taking photos. Little did his wife Doreen know she'd be developing them. Ciaran Deeney and David Clarke are award-winning documentary producers with an interest in using digital media as a storytelling tool. The unique platform they created to crowdsource these photos is found at www.manonbridge.ie.