Small Lives

August 23, 2011 · 7 comments

in Collections,Exhibitions,Photographs

Children's Party, Dublin by photographer W.D. Hogan, ca. 1924. NLI call no. HOG221

Children's Party, Dublin by photographer W.D. Hogan, ca. 1924. NLI call no. HOG221

We might not know most of their names or where they are from, but I got to know the children in the upcoming Small Lives Exhibition very well. I started work on the exhibition back in April, going through our collection of digitised photographs. I put them all into a folder and pored over them trying to decide which to choose. Curating an exhibition doesn’t just mean choosing your favourites, more’s the pity. Pretty pictures of children, of which we have many, weren’t going to do justice to the variety in our collections or the story of childhood in Ireland.

A Miss Dobbyn, who grew up to become Mrs Davis by Poole Photographic Studios. NLI call no. P_WP_4436

A Miss Dobbyn, who grew up to become Mrs Davis by Poole Photographic Studios. NLI call no. P_WP_4436

As I worked through the photos some themes emerged: work, play, school, religion and politics. Children don’t exist in a little bubble away from the rest of the world, they are part of the society they are growing up in and are witnesses to the social and political history of their time. I have tried to convey that in the exhibition. You will also see pictures of kids being kids, playing and playing up to the camera. And of course the odd pretty one…

There are fifty photographs in the final exhibition which opens on Thursday 25 August. All of the photographs are being uploaded to our Flickr stream, so if you can’t make it to the National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar, Dublin, you can still meet the kids.

Well maybe not this one below…

Curator of Small Lives Exhibition taken by her Big Sister, ca. 1981

Curator of Small Lives Exhibition taken by her Big Sister, ca. 1981

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa October 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I really liked the exhibition, was wondering if you could answer a question about some of the photos though. I was delighted to see a picture of my old school (upstairs)- Ursuline Convent, Waterford. I was wondering if the two pictures downstairs on the left wall beside the stairs, of the Ursuline and St John of Gods, are also pictures from Waterford?

Thanks,
Lisa

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Aoife O Connor October 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Hi Lisa

glad you enjoyed the exhibition. Yes indeed the two pictures you mention are from Waterford. Many of the Poole images are from Waterford. You can see all of the photos on our flickr stream, any of those marked with P_WP are from the Poole Whole Plate collection and so most likely taken in Wateford or nearby counties.

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John Kealy September 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Small Lives Big impression Brilliant exhibition

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Aoife O Connor September 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Thanks John, so glad you enjoyed the exhibition. It means a lot to hear people’s personal reactions to it.

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Nuala Ní Chonchúir August 24, 2011 at 8:45 am

Looking forward very much to the exhibition launch on Tuesday, Aoife.
You still look the same. Well, maybe minus the dungarees :)

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