Issue 21 — Winter 1999
In the course of producing this issue it has become clear that Source shares a common history with many other photographic publications from around the world. Source was originally envisaged as a member's newsletter and was initiated by practising photographers. Various attempts had been made to start a photographic journal before Source came along, notably the short-lived Belfast Exposed magazine and Exposure, produced by The Gallery of Photography. The motivation in producing these magazines - in Ireland and elsewhere - always appears to have been firstly, to create a means of disseminating and recording the work being produced and secondly, to start a critical debate around photography. More often than not magazines have been started by galleries, individual artists or groups and they have sought to attract readers like themselves. The twin challenges facing 'little' magazines are survival and finding an audience and it is taken for granted that a photographic magazine will only attract a specialist audience. We would like to defeat this expectation (and survive in the process) by transcending our history and publishing work that can claim anyone's attention.
Issue 3 of Exposure, published in May 1992 carried an examination of the state of Irish photography by David Lee. His seven-point list of impediments to the growth of Irish photography included: the need for an honours degree course, a magazine or journal, a comprehensively stocked book shop, a book publisher, a national institution designated to collect 'art photography' and finally a better Gallery of Photography. We now have all of these (to varying degrees) bar a book publisher. If recent photographic history began in Ireland with the funding of the Gallery of Photography in 1978 and if Lee had Irish photography still in nappies in 1992 (aged 14) then as we face the millennium at the age of 21, we have matured fast.
The recently published report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland recommends a strategy for police architecture: that police stations 'should have, so far as possible, the appearance of ordinary buildings'. In this climate we are publishing Jonathan Olley's images of police and army barracks in Northern Ireland alongside a specially commissioned essay by Tom Paulin.
Chris Harrison's work Sites of Memory, War Memorials at the end of the 20th Century shows the histories behind the monuments to the dead of the two World Wars. David Brett dicusses the problems of memorializing contested history. We preview work by Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden who casts an American eye over Irish horse racing. The work will be shown in its entirety at The Gallery of Photography in February.
We would like to incorporate our reader's opinions into the magazine by starting a letters page so please write in.
— The Editors