Issue 16 — Autumn 1998
To coincide with their forthcoming exhibition at The Gallery of Photography in Dublin we feature work by Patrick McCoy and Garreth McConnell. McCoy's images were made whilst enduring the cramped conditions of working with camera and tripod in the back of West Belfast's Black Taxis. The project conceived as 'an antidote to the spectacular images produced by visiting foreign photojournalists' examines a different aspect of life on the Falls Road. In McConnell's work the faces that emerge from the dark form a group of portraits that explores the artist's ongoing fascination with those on the edge of society. This follows on from his project exploring anti-social behaviour that looked at 'punishment beatings' and drug abuse, which will be on show at the gallery.
Looking at the drug problem in Dublin Ronnie Close and Johnny Connolly investigate the problems heroine addiction behind the glossy image of Ireland's booming Celtic tiger economy. The work explores the reactions of the government and the solutions sought by local communities.
Eva Leitolf's images 'Searching for evidence in Rostock, Thale, Solingen and Bielefeld' record the aftermaths of racist arson attacks in Germany. The image of a news crew outside a blackened house has all too familiar resonances with the murder of the Quinn brothers in July.
James Small, Professor of Botany at Queen's University from the 1920's and Karl Blossfeldt, working at the same time in Germany, produced photographic studies of plants as teaching materials respectively for their Botany and Industrial Design students. Siún Hanrahan's article investigates the similarities and differences between their work. Blossfeld's 'objective' photographs went on to influence a generation of contemporary photographers. The lesser known archive of James Small left for so long on the dusty shelves of Queen's University has been rescued from obscurity through its transformation into an exhibition by The Ulster Museum. Small's work can now take its place in the discussion and debate surrounding Irish photography.
Richard West reviews the new publication of plant images by the previously unknown photographer and gardener Charles Jones. A large quantity of his gold toned gelatin prints made between 1895 and 1910 were recently discovered by a collector at a market stall. His exact motivation remains a mystery. His relatives however recall that his glass plate negatives ended up sheltering his plants in the early part of the growing season.
On behalf of those who work on the magazine I would like to dedicate this issue to the memory of our dear friend Patrick McCoy.
— John Duncan