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Posts Tagged ‘Street Photography’

 

DEWilliams-1957-DameStreet-1000

This small snapshot was taken in 1957 and it is captioned on the back as a ‘Dublin liquor store.’ It shows numbers 52 and 53 Dame Street and the side street called Temple Lane South. Although it includes two Georgian buildings, the image is decidedly modern in its composition and atmosphere. Two cars can be seen moving out of the shot, three hat-wearing men are ambling down the street, one with a parcel under his arm. A female cyclist wearing a fashionably tight skirt and knitted sweater has stopped by the path. Bicycles are lined up against the side wall of number 53 on Temple Lane South.

Perhaps the modern feel is heightened by the fact that the front of No. 53 (the headquarters of the wine and spirit distributor, D.E. Williams) was designed by the modernist architecture Michael Scott. When first opened, it was described by The Irish Times on the 16th of August 1941 as being ‘carried out in teak’ and as ‘a notable example of simplicity and elegance in design.’ By 1957 the exterior is pretty much unchanged excepting for the addition of an incongruous curved wooden flower box over the door. You can click on the above image to see a larger version of the snapshot.

The window display bears the slogan ‘Give Every Man his Dew.’ This refers to the whiskey Tullamore Dew which takes its name from the initials of the distributor D.E. Williams. An article, dating from 1954, on the history of the company can be found here. Now an Italian restaurant called Nico’s (one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the city) which first opened in 1963. It is mentioned in this piece from the Dublin blog ‘Come Here to Me’ that also includes a really nice photograph of the building taken in recent years. This review also references the restaurant’s history.

The next building, No. 52, was occupied by several legal firms. Street directories also give home addresses for the ‘legal eagles’ that were mainly in affluent parts of South county Dublin and Wicklow: John K. Lloyd-Blood, commissioner for oaths, home address Glencot House, Kilmacnogue, County Wickow; Gwynne Stirling, residence Marino Lodge, Killiney; Raymond French, solicitor, Knocksinna House, Stillorgan Road.

Number 52 is now a hair and beauty salon called Preen. It has not been altered too much since this photograph was taken. It now has two doors instead of one, however, the latticed windows have been retained on the upper storey. The ground floor and basement recently sold for 661,000 Euros to an overseas investor.

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As stated above the print is small (3 inches x 4 inches). A stamp on the back includes the Minox logo stating that it is an original Minox print with the date of June 11-1957. Minox cameras were produced in Latvia and after the Second World War in West Germany. They were a desirable luxury item that was widely advertised in Europe and America. The firm was also known for a particular sub-miniature camera favoured by spies. The snapshot is printed on Leonar paper, one of the most popular papers in post-war Europe. You can read a history of the firm with particular reference to their Leigrano paper here.

The use of the phrase ‘liquor store’ suggests that this photograph was taken by an American. One who could afford to travel and purchase a Minox camera. It is amazing the tangents that a single snapshot can take you on: from a Michael Scott designed shop-front to whiskey labels and spy cameras.

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This colour photograph was taken on the 13th of August 1968 in the County Kerry town of Killorglin (Cill Orglan). This date coincides with the annual Puck Fair, one the oldest fairs in Ireland and the scene of much revelry with public houses remaining open until 3 am. Centred around a cattle fair, the festival also includes traditional music and the capture of a wild goat which is then displayed in the centre of the town!

The two men, sleeping-off the effects of the night before, are oblivious to the rest of the town. In the background, a group of men sit on the street as a Morris Minor car passes by. I love the small details such as the empty Carroll’s No.1 cigarette pack and the half-drunk bottle of milk.

The colour process picks out the reddish brown of the window frame. Similar colours are replicated on the back of the ice-cream van.

I don’t know who the photographer was and it is part of a series of images which I have featured in other posts. A quick look on the Killorgan Archive Society’s excellent website leads me to believe that the photograph was taken at the corner of Michael J. Culloty’s Bar, Main Street.

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O'ConnellBridgeGroup500

Just a quick post to bring your attention to an exciting project which features the type of vernacular photography that I love. ‘Man on Bridge’ is a documentary which will look at the work of Arthur Fields, a Dublin street photographer who worked on O’Connell Bridge for over 50 years. I have a few of his images in my collection including this one of a group of young men taken in the 1950s. You can find out more about the project and how to support it here.

The photographs below are slightly earlier and were taken on O’Connell Street. The back of one of the prints outlines the contact details for Irish Walking Films where the photographs could be collected.

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This glamorous lady was photographed as she walked by the railings of Trinity College in 1948. Her outfit adheres to the styles of the day: a black Mandarin hat complete with spotted veil; trapeze swing coat; clutch bag; gloves and a large leaf-shaped brooch. All were the height of fashion for 1948!

The handwriting on the print adds to rather than detracts from the photograph and although it is not a perfectly composed image it gives a real sense of Dublin in 1948 and shows how clothes were worn and fashions adopted on the street.

To get an idea of what else was happening in the city and a flavour of the times, I searched the newspapers for today’s date in 1948. The headlines were full of the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Conference and the ‘Palestine Problem’. According to Seán Ó Faoláin ‘Raidió Éireann was starved of finances’ and another article covered ‘Suggestions to improve Dublin Traffic.’

The Grafton Cinema was showing Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney in Boys’ Town and  the Carlton Cinema advertised the following: ‘Gorgeous and Gay! Exotic and Exciting! Lovely glamorous Yvonne de Carlo with George Brent, Brod Crawford, Andy Devine and Arthur Treacher in Slave Girl – dazzling Technicolor! Come to the 3.30 show – house booked out for tonight!’ If you didn’t want to go to the cinema there was always ‘Midget Car Racing’ at Santry Speedway or horseracing at Baldoyle.

Miss Louise Brough won the Ladies’ Singles Championship at Wimbledon and there were advertisements for rubber boots, sandals, pilgrimages to Lough Derg, Andrews Liver Salts, Elastic Stockings and Flak DDT offered to ‘Knock down that louse.’

Speaking of street style, the Where were you? team are putting on an exhibition of images from their Dublin youth culture book. It is part of the amazing Photo Ireland Festival 2012 and  is at the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield from Saturday 7th July.

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I got a lot of feedback from an earlier post in which I attempted to identify the location for a snapshot of a Dublin pub and street-scape. Come here to me! reposted the photograph and the responses were many and varied – some thought the image was taken in Parliament Street whilst others reckoned it was in Temple Bar. Upon closer inspection, the engraved window shows the surname Healy and after much thrawling through street directories the only public house I could locate that matched the numbers was J.J. Healy’s of 32 Mary Street.

This was confirmed by Jennifer from Finglas who sent me the image below showing the pub in a later incarnation as The Elbow Inn along with the card for Healys. The building which was on the corner of Mary Street and Liffey Street, was given a mock Tudor makeover in the 60s! It was demolished to make way for the current Marks and Spencer shop ca. 1978. 

According to Jennifer’s mother, the Hegarty family lived next door so it looks like the mystery is solved!

On another note, I am travelling to Cavan this week to give a talk about a group of photographers who were active in the area in the 1890s! This follows on from a article I wrote for the Breifne Historical Society. Going back to my roots!

 

 

 

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This snapshot is crammed full of amazing details like the sign for ‘private wine rooms upstairs’;  the young fella peaking over the odd little car;  the banner advertising Player’s cigarettes and the shadowy sign in the window. Despite my loathing of Arthur’s Day I am still fond of the ‘Guinness is good for you’ sign.

This photograph has me totally puzzled though as I cannot locate a Dublin pub whose street number is 32 and which is also next door to a stationer’s/tobacconist’s. The name of the shop looks like Hegarty and in the original print I can faintly make out a surname ending in ‘lly’ on the etched pub sign. I have checked one or two Thom’s Street directories for the 1920s, 30s and 40s but to no avail.

Perhaps the photograph wasn’t taken in Dublin which would disappoint me though it really shouldn’t matter as the image is a great snippet of street life wherever it originates. Any suggestions welcome?

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Street altars and May processions in honour of Mary were commonplace in Ireland until quite recently. The terraced houses in the background place the image firmly within an urban setting. This photograph is from a batch of Tipperary images I bought a few years back and others in the selection are identified as being from Clonmel so perhaps that is the location? I like the girls in white dresses who give the photo a summery feeling.

This type of folk or vernacular practice interests me and I have re-read Kay Turner‘s book Beautiful Necessity on the subject of women’s altars and shrines several times. The National Library of Ireland’s photographic collection includes some images of street altars and decorations dating from the Catholic Emancipation Centenary in 1929. I also worked on a collection of photographs taken between the 1950s and the 1970s by Elinor Wiltshire which feature Corpus Christi altars from my own area – Dublin 7.

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