© National Gallery of Ireland
Alen MacWeeney, Irish, b. 1939
Title: White Horse from 'Under the Influence' Series
Date: 1977
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Mount: 46 x 46 cm
Image: 40.6 x 50.8 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2020
Object Number: NGI.2020.41
DescriptionBorn in Dublin, Alen MacWeeney began his career in Paris at 20 years old, as Richard Avedon’s assistant. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, LIFE, Vogue, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Smithsonian, and The New York Times Magazine. MacWeeney’s work is distinguished by the painterly way he unveils the character of his subject through a wide range of emotion, from humour to drama. His portraiture is direct and legible; his compositional touch and use of light is complex. The camera never gets in the way, allowing a rare calm, a thoughtful repose, to enter each picture. MacWeeney is represented by 7 photographs in the NGI’s collection.

In 2011, MacWeeney published Under the Influence, which pairs excerpts from W.B. Yeats’s poems with photographs he took in Ireland in 1965. MacWeeney paired this image with an excerpt from Yeats’s poem, “Under Ben Bulben”:
“Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!”