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John Minihan, Irish, Irish, b.1946
Title: Dressmaker Eileen Johnston, Athy, Kildare
Date: 1970
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Dimensions:
25.4 × 20.3 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2021
Object Number: NGI.2021.124
DescriptionRaised in Athy, County Kildare, John Minihan has been photographing the town for the past fifty years. The photographs of Athy have been exhibited throughout the world and the critic Harold Hobson once described them as ‘sad, poignant and sublime’. We see in the photographs ordinary people like dressmaker Eileen Johnston outside her shop and Mary Byrne in the county home. These are the people who he encountered regularly since his childhood and who he had the utmost respect for. He depicts children playing in their gardens, shoppers at the weekly market in Emily Square, pub interiors, young boys delivering turf and men reading the news in the local post office. These pictures form the basis upon which much of his most insightful and affecting photographs were made. Minihan has described his Athy photographs as the “heartbeat” of his practice and explains that he would not have gone on to become half the photographer he is without regularly visiting the town that shaped his childhood.

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