11 July—24 July
Dublin Castle, Dame St,
Monday to Sunday 10am-5pm
On the Irish Photobook
The exhibition On the Irish Photobook provides a reading room providing the broadest presentation of Irish photobooks, drawn from the PhotoIreland Collection as much as others both public and private.
PhotoIreland has been collecting the work of artists in print in its many forms ever since its inception in 2010. The most notable of these forms in the collection to date remains as the book, and there are good reasons for it.
The arrival of new technologies and lower costs of production meant that, over the last decades, publishing became a very effective and, most importantly, oftentimes a do-it-yourself pathway to broadcasting artist’s work. In fact, despite the advent of the digital, it continues to be a desirable vehicle, thanks to the support of a myriad of fairs, awards, and festivals, as much as a healthy collectors market.
In this way, the evolution of the artist book i the context of Photography saw an interesting formal transformation: from a traditional portfolio style that was carried well into the end of the 21st century, and remains in use, to a more conceptual approach, clearly informed by a critical re-evaluation of all the elements and processes involved ― a re-evaluation certainly aided by new design thinking.
The term photo book gave way to the merged version photobook some time around 2011, when both terms were used interchangeably, as a visit to the PhotoIreland Festival website that year would evidence.
The Irish photobook has had some great international successes, most noticeably Ciarán Óg Arnold’s I Went to the Worst of Bars, that won the MACK Books First Book Award in 2015, to Jan McCullough’s Home Instruction Manual, winner of the Kassel Fotobookfestival Dummy Award 2016. Another great success was enjoyed by Eamonn Doyle’s ambitious books i (praised first by Martin Parr), ON and End.
In presenting the PhotoIreland Collection of Photobooks, we intend to share a reflection on the wealth of practices and approaches demonstrated over the years, and the rapid evolution of these publications from the 1980s to today.
We hope the presentation informs and perhaps inspires contemporary practitioners to experiment and become more adventurous in their creativity in bookmaking and designing.
The research that was carried out around the photobook in Ireland by our team will become a publication early next year.
The PhotoIreland collection is an on-going collection with over 5000 items from all over the world, and it expands every week with new materials. It is housed at The Library Project, available to the public by appointment, and it is managed and catalogued by Digital Content and Archival Assistants Ruth Downey and Eva Comerford.
The present selection includes books from Christine Redmond’s collection.
Featured Image: from the series I Went to the Worst of Bars, Ciaran Og Arnold