Trish Lambe of the Gallery of Photography Ireland talks to Murmur
REFLECTING 1916 – Photography and the Easter Rising is a photography-based programme which includes a specially curated photographic exhibition and publication by the Gallery of Photography Ireland. The programme extends to street-based art installations at key locations around the city, outdoor projections, free public talks & tours, a book launch and workshops on how to preserve your family photographs.
The exhibition features photographs taken by eyewitnesses to this pivotal period in Ireland’s history, a number of which are being shown in public for the first time. A key album on show is the Smith Album which was contributed by an anonymous Dublin photographer. “The Smith Album is the most amazing set of photographs taken by an anonymous eyewitness at the time which is an ordinary persons view of the week of the Rising”, says Trish Lambe, co-director of the gallery. “We’ve got an incredible picture of Moore Lane – ‘Rebel Stronghold’ – depicting the infamous address, riddled with bullet holes, on the day of the surrender”.
A centerpiece installation of large-scale photos captures the destruction of Dublin and offers viewers a dramatic, immersive experience. This is contextualised by explorations of the use of photography to represent the idealism and growing militarism of the revolutionary generation. The wider use of photography as a vital tool for propaganda focusses on Roger Casement and his use of photography to highlight crimes against humanity.
Casement’s own documentary photographs from the Putamayo offer an insight into his evolution from British imperialist to Irish revolutionary.
A further sequence includes images of the widows and orphans of the Rising that were reproduced in the Catholic Bulletin in 1916, highlighting how photography was used to sway public opinion in the immediate aftermath.
There’s also a fascinating series of photographs (annotated by Captain Wheeler, who took the surrender from commandant Mallon at the Royal College of Surgeons) showing guns, pouches and canteens: “Included in this set is an intriguing photograph of the canteen belonging to commandant Pearse (see above) containing two large onions which he was carrying when he surrendered”, says Lambe.
The final section looks at how the Rising has been represented in subsequent commemorations.
Accompanied by a catalogue REFLECTING 1916 – Photography and the Easter Rising with essays contributed by leading writers and historians, Brenda Malone, Orla Fitzpatrick, Professor Luke Gibbons, Dr Justin Carville & Angus Mitchell REFLECTING 1916 is an exploration of the role played by photography in shaping our memory of the Easter Rising.
“It’s quite a tight squeeze – we now find that the gallery is actually too small to accommodate the type of exhibition we’d like to curate here”
The gallery’s unique and compact interior space, a landmark building which was designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey architects in 1996, has proved a major challenge for staff in accommodating a large-scale exhibition of the likes of REFLECTING 1916.
In 2016, it is evident the gallery requires a more suitable interior to accommodate the ever-increasing larger shows: “It’s quite a tight squeeze – we now find that the gallery is actually too small to accommodate the type of exhibition we’d like to curate here”, says Lambe. “We’ve got a really rich photographic heritage, as you can see with the material on show on the walls. But what we really need now, in order to deliver on the potential of the photography, is a bigger space in the centre of Dublin that can really engage with the public”.
REFLECTING 1916 Programme:
Easter Sunday 27th March 8pm – 9.30pm
Easter Monday 28th March
Talks and Events organised as part of RTÉ Reflecting the Rising in partnership with Ireland 2016.
Free guided tours:
Free tours of the REFLECTING 1916 exhibition with relatives of 1916 rebels and the curatorial team at 12 noon and 5pm – booking advisable. 01 6714654 –firstname.lastname@example.org
REFLECTING 1916 Sunday Workshops every Sunday in April
Archiving and caring for your family photographs
2.00pm to 5.00pm
For more information on bookings and the special programme visit www.galleryofphotography.ie
With special thanks to Trish Lambe and Gallery of Photography Ireland.