A choice cultural moment from the RTÉ Archives:

A native of Athy in County Kildare, John Minihan began shooting his hometown as an amateur photographer when he was 15 years old. He become an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail and won the Evening Standard amateur photography competition.

I can never escape Athy, I have this attachment, I don’t know why but I do.

Minihan left Athy when he was 12 years old and while his work with the London Evening Standard has lead him around the world, he never misses a chance to return to Athy.

I know they are a very important set of pictures and I think it's the most emotive thing I've ever photographed even as a newspaper photographer. 

These wake photographs and other shots from Athy gained Minihan the confidence of the notoriously reclusive writer Samuel Beckett, who in 1980, allowed himself to be photographed by Minihan in his room in London’s Hyde Park Hotel. He also permitted Minihan to photograph him directing Endgame in the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London.

Beckett was particularly taken with Minihan’s shot of Athy man Peter Bolan who Minihan now understands is the epitome of a Beckettian character. The two men met again over the next few years, but it was not until their 1985 meeting in the Hotel PLM in Paris, that Minihan captured his defining photograph of Beckett.

This edition of Box Camera was originally broadcast on 14 September 1986.

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