Ireland's most feted press photographer is preparing for his first exhibition - on a subject close to his heart.

James Crombie, the Press Photographers Association of Ireland's photographer of the year in 2021 and 2022, has put together a collection of more than 40 black and white portraits of members of Offaly Down Syndrome Association.

The exhibition will be on show at various locations across the county during October, Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

He said: "It's a really diverse group. We have nine-month-olds to 55-year-olds. It is about inclusion and raising awareness. Showing the world that a person with Down syndrome is so much more than one extra chromosome. Everyone has their own interests and their own story."

Mary Stones and Gary McCabe are members of Offaly Down Syndrome Association.
(Courtesy: James Crombie/Inpho)

Crombie's daughter Chloe was one of the people he photographed for the exhibition.

"She was a bundle of energy in the studio," he explained. "She was probably the hardest person to shoot because she doesn't take any messing from me!"

Crombie's work for the Inpho sports picture agency has graced the front and back pages for 15 years.

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He is perhaps best known for his 'hurler in the moon' and 'murmuration' photographs, which helped to seal his consecutive PPAI awards.

"This is a project that we have been wanting to do for quite some time", said Robbie Donnelly, Chairman of Offaly Down Syndrome Association. "We are blessed to have James as a member, so it made complete sense to promote our message and our members through a photography exhibition."

Mark Sadler and Katie Troy also feature in the 'ThreeTwentyOne' exhibition.
(Courtesy: James Crombie/Inpho)

The 'ThreeTwentyOne' exhibition launches this evening and will be open to the public from tomorrow in Tullamore Library until 7 October. It will tour several other locations across Offaly over the course of the month.

"I've captured a group of people who we've got to know over the last six or seven years, since we had Chloe. It means a lot to me, and I think it will mean a lot to them. I can't imagine a better group of people to have my first exhibition with and to share it with," Crombie said.