Since the invention of photography, Ireland has been a magnet for photographers, but this book is unique in bringing together the work done by the unrivaled talents of the members of Magnum. From Ireland’s first attempts to forge a modern identity in the 1950s to the confident country of the twenty-first century, here is a stunning survey of a beautiful and complex place and people, through times of peace as well as trouble.
The photographs reflect the extraordinary insights of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Josef Koudelka, Inge Morath, Erich Lessing, Eve Arnold, Martine Franck, Martin Parr, Bruce Gilden, Donovan Wylie, Stuart Franklin, and others. They bring a truly international perspective to the book, reflecting the sensibilities of America, France, Germany, Iran, Japan, Morocco and, of course, Ireland itself.
Organized decade by decade, the images show the lingering influence of rural life in the 1950s; the hidden story of ordinary Irish men and women, living in a divided society during the troubled years of the sectarian conflict; the South’s huge economic growth at the end of 1990s, baptized the ‘Celtic Tiger’, and Ireland’s perpetual quest for identity, from the 1950s to the present day.
Each decade is commented on by a notable contemporary Irish literary figure: Anthony Cronin, Nuala O’Faolain, Eamonn McCann, Fintan O’Toole, Colm Tóibín and Anne Enright invite the reader to dive into the social and political context of each period, providing a textual backdrop to the photographers’ work.
Magnum Ireland includes 146 photographs of works, made in Ireland since the 1950s to the present.
About the Authors
Brigitte Lardinois was Special Projects and Cultural Director at Magnum Photos for over ten years, and is now Deputy Director of the Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) at University of the Arts in London.
Val Williams is Professor of the History and Culture of Photography at the University of the Arts, London. John Banville is the author of fifteen novels, including The Book of Evidence, The Untouchable, and The Sea, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2005.