Photography has been part of Irish cultural life since 1839 but little is known of its long and sometimes complex history. Outside Ireland there has been scant attention given to Irish photography beyond picturesque tourist views of the Irish landscape and photojournalistic representations of 'The Troubles'. This book changes the picture, casting its focus between these polar, and often cliched, extremes to address the political upheavals, social transformation and geographical re-imaginings of Ireland as a colony, a nation, a province and a sovereign state. As Justin Carville demonstrates, photography has not only documented these transformations but has also helped shape how Ireland is viewed, both by itself and the rest of the world. Photography and Ireland explores the role of the photographic image in colonial and post-colonial visual cultures of Ireland from the nineteenth century to the present day. Furthermore, it emphasises the transnational dimensions of photography in Ireland, discussing foreign photographers who have contributed to cultural imaginings of Ireland as well as indigenous Irish photographers.
Beginning with a brief history of photography in Ireland the book discusses the tensions between colonial and global representations of Ireland and the formation of an indigenous photographic culture. Featuring commercial portraits and landscapes, as well as ethnographic photography, photojournalism and documentary works it explores Ireland's photography through a number of interrelated themes. Accessibly written and accompanied by a wealth of images, Photography and Ireland is essential reading for all those interested in photography history, as well as Irish history and culture.
Justin Carville is a lecturer in the history and theory of photography at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. He has written on the subject of photography and Ireland for journals including Photography and Culture, Source and The Journal of Popular Visual Culture.