Little Museum Of Dublin Director Trevor White introduces their latest exhibition, celebrating 'some of the most gifted photographers who have documented the social and cultural life of our capital'.
"And the bare bones of a fanlight
Over a hungry door"
– From Dublin by Louis MacNeice
A little girl poses on a bicycle in Blackpitts. A man helps Gardai with their enquiries. Another man shows off his songbirds at the Bird Market. These glimpses of urban life are among the photographs that feature in a new exhibition in the Little Museum of Dublin.
Bare Bones: Dublin Street Photography 1950-2000 features some of the most gifted photographers who have documented the social and cultural life of our capital, including Tony O’Shea, Tony Murray, David Jazay, Evelyn Hofer, Bryan Meade, Elinor Wiltshire and Brendan Walsh.
We are proud to share these extraordinary photographs with visitors to the Little Museum, although it is worth stressing that the exhibition is not a celebration of the city it reveals; there is little room for glibness in these accidental revelations. Nor is the show presented with any great ceremony.
In depicting the lived experience of Dubliners, our original hope was that this exhibition might have a nostalgic appeal. It has become something more complicated, reflecting the Dublin of Bare Bones as a place full of humour and incident, but also a town that seems bound to the past in ways that are not particularly flattering.
If the show has a theme, it is the stickiness of deprivation, for the streets of a city do not lie; sometimes they are where people go when feeling unwelcome elsewhere. So that man is looking for work. Another shifts coal. Those kids are truculent rather than cute, they refuse to pose for the camera. And look! That woman would have you returned to the arms of Jesus.
You probably know her face. You may even know her name.
If you spent any time in Dublin in the second half of the twentieth century, you may be transported by this group show. And in these unmediated chance encounters, you could well find yourself or someone like you.
The exhibition reminds us that Dublin is lucky to have had so many fine biographers. If you are interested in the art and history of the Hibernian metropolis, you will want, I hope, to see this extraordinary group portrait. But will it leave you feeling nostalgic?
No. That’s not the word for a collection of images that chronicle the ordinary routines and misadventures of people who would be properly bemused by this city of Silicon Docks and electric scooters.
Nostalgia is for other places – and perhaps for other times.
Bare Bones: Dublin Street Photography 1950-2000 is on view in the Little Museum of Dublin until September 5th - find out more here.