Saturday, January 03, 2015

Man on Bridge

Click on any image for a larger version

I have set out the background to, and my involvement in, the Man on the Bridge project in a separate posting.

The project organisers have now mounted an exhibition of ALL the photos submitted by the public, all 3,400 and more of them. This runs in the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar until 8 January 2015. As I had submitted some photos I wanted very much to see the exhibition and see if I could find my photos in it.

First things first, so I signed the visitors' book on the way in (in case I forgot on the way out) and then left a comment on the way out as well.

These are the photos from 1930, when Arthur started out, to 1956.

And these are the continuation, covering from 1955 to 1977. Arthur is estimated to have taken well over 200,000 photos, but no negatives survive, and the current archive consists of prints from all over the country and beyond which have been submitted by the public in the course of the last year.

To be frank, I was a little sceptical of the organisers' claims to be displaying all of the 3.400 plus prints submitted and I doubted I'd be able to find the six prints I submitted myself and the one submitted by cousin Gerry.

How wrong I was. You can see the result above. All seven prints, as taken from various points in the exhibition's display and put together above for convenience.

There was a small alcove, almost like a side chapel, devoted to Arthur and his family. To the right of the big picture of him are smaller ones of himself and other family members.

To the left of the big picture, with a wall all to herself, is Doreen, Arthur's wife. She did all the backroom stuff as far as the photography was concerned. She developed and printed the films, sorted the prints, and lined them up for collection or posting. She also took care of the administration and finances. And she raised a family at the same time. Arthur was not involved as he spent all day, 365 days a year, in town taking photographs. So Doreen certainly deserves at least one wall to herself in this exhibition.

In his later years, Arthur took to Polaroid, and his camera, which can be seen in many photos of him on the bridge, is currently hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the exhibition.

The project has revolved around a documentary on Arthur, compiled by El Zorrero films, and screened recently by RTÉ. You can view it on the RTÉ player until 18 January. If I learn of any more permanent arrangements I'll post them here.

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