The changing faces of Ireland—social, political, and cultural—documented by some of the greatest photographers of the modern era.
Since the invention of photography, Ireland has been a magnet for photographers, but this book is unique in bringing together the work done by the unrivaled talents of the members of Magnum. From Ireland's first attempts to forge a modern identity in the 1950s to the confident country of the twenty-first century, here is a stunning survey of a beautiful and complex place and people, through times of peace as well as trouble.
The photographs reflect the extraordinary insights of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Josef Koudelka, Inge Morath, Erich Lessing, Eve Arnold, Martine Franck, Martin Parr, Bruce Gilden, Donovan Wylie, Stuart Franklin, and others. They bring a truly international perspective to the book, reflecting the sensibilities of America, France, Germany, Iran, Japan, Morocco—and, of course, Ireland itself.
Organized decade by decade, the images show the lingering influence of rural life in the 1950s; the hidden story of ordinary Irish men and women—as well as the sectarian conflict—during the uneasy 1960s and 1970s; renewed confidence and the growth of prosperity and peace as the century passed through its last two decades; and the robust "Celtic tiger" of today. Each decade has commentary and context supplied by one of the most notable Irish writers of our time. With texts by: John Banville, Anthony Cronin, Anne Enright, Eamonn McCann, Nuala O'Faolain, Fintan O'Toole, and Colm Toibin. Over 250 photographs in color and duotone.
A touring exhibition of the photographs in Magnum Ireland will begin in Ireland in Spring 2006 before continuing in the United States.
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John Banville is an award-winning novelist and a former editor of the Irish Times. He lives in Dublin.From Publishers Weekly:
Devoid of the standard Irish photobook fare of green pastures and smiling, freckled children, this collaboration between the Irish Museum of Modern Art and photographers of the cooperative Magnum Photos agency is a rich and complex retrospective of six tumultuous decades of Irish history. After a poignant introduction by John Banville, the book's opening salvo of photos (depicting crowds at a horse track) date from the early '50s and were snapped by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Chapters, each dedicated to a decade, begin with essays by notable Irish authors whose observations serve as a mooring post for the photos that follow. From Ian Berry's photographs of early 1970s clashes between British soldiers and stone-throwing gangs of children to Stuart Franklin's depictions, in 2003, of a generation of Irish youth coming of age in a new era of affluence, the hard-earned social and cultural change of a nation is chronicled by a legion of the most distinguished photographers from around the globe. It requires a certain suspension of disbelief to recognize the youth of today-drinking, partying, receiving lap dances-as the children of those, who just one generation (or chapter) ago, hurled stones at soldiers in the street.
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