In Our Own Image: The Politics of Place 24 June - 28 August

In Our Own Image: The Politics of Place

The culmination of the Gallery’s year-long In Our Own Image programme, The Politics of Place is the first of two thematic surveys that undertake a critical reframing of how Irish life has been represented through photography. 

The exhibition considers the way art photographers both anticipated and reflected the intense social changes that have taken place in Ireland over recent decades. The selected works by emerging and established artists featured in these surveys have been defined by their engagement with pressing issues around Irish identity and history, coming to terms with the legacies of the past and the challenges of the future. These are addressed from a range of different perspectives, questioning the often simplistic view of Irishness that has occupied the popular imagination.

 The Politics of Place explores one of the defining obsessions of our national life, the notion of place. For a people so often uprooted and dispossessed, the identification of Irishness with place, with home and the ownership of land, even with the state itself, carries incredible weight. In mapping these contested territories, photographers have participated in a cultural shift that has seen our understanding of place and what it means deeply challenged. Considering how our sense of place, broadly defined, has been transformed, this exhibition addresses the profound changes that have reshaped Irish society over the last four decades, from the decline of the church to the impact of globalisation, through to ongoing crises around housing, migration, and the environment.

In moving away from traditional documentary towards more socially-engaged and inclusive ways of thinking about their medium, Irish photographers have been at the cutting-edge of contemporary trends. This exhibition has been curated to emphasise the diversity of visual and conceptual languages characteristic of recent photographic practice in Ireland. It reveals how photography has helped to interrogate what Irishness is, and also to reimagine what it might look like.

Curatorial Panel:  Lead curator: Darren Campion, Trish Lambe, Brendan Maher,

Presented as part of In Our Own Image: Photography in Ireland, 1839 to the Present - Gallery of Photography Ireland’s landmark centenary programme that examines how photography has served as a mirror for shifting experiences of what it means to be Irish, charting how the medium has both reflected and shaped Irish cultural identities, from the work of the earliest photographic pioneers up to today acclaimed contemporary artists.

In Our Own Image Conference


Wednesday, April 27th 2022

11.00 – 15:40 Venue: The Bedford Tower, Dublin Castle. This event is now fully booked. In response to demand, the proceedings will be live-streamed.

This In Our Own Image 1-day conference will address the role of photography in recording our unfolding histories and in shaping what is remembered, and what histories are omitted. Across three panels, speakers will consider the politics of representation that underpin the mediation of photographic images. As we move towards the final years of the Decade of Centenaries commemorations, this conference brings together leading historians, academics, artists, curators and cultural figures from across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the U.S. to reflect on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion and how we might better reflect diverse histories and perspectives. Organised by the Gallery of Photography Ireland and Creative Centenaries.

Panel discussions will be chaired by Tommy Graham (History Ireland), Mark Duncan (Century Ireland) and Paul Mullan (National Lottery Heritage Fund). Contributors include: 

Panel 1

  • Feargal Fitzpatrick, photo historian, NCAD
  • Joy Carey, Digitisation Manager, PRONI
  • Mark Sealy, curator, cultural historian and Director of Autograph (Association of Black Photographers)

Panel 2

  • William Blair, Director of Collections, National Museums NI
  • Orla Fitzpatrick, photo historian
  • Sinead McCoole, historian and Curator of Mná100

Panel 4

  • Erika Hanna, academic, University of Bristol
  • Pauline Vermare, independent curator & photo historian
  • Brian Newman, photographic artist


1015 - 1100: Registration opens, tea & coffee served

1100- 1110: Welcome and opening remarks

1110 - 1220: Panel 1 - Photography & Identity, Re-interrogating the Archives, Politics of Identity and the Colonial Gaze, 1839-1920

1220 - 1310: Lunch

1310 - 1415: Panel 2 - Revolutionary Island: Representing Conflict, 1912-1923

1420 - 1525: Panel 3 - Photographic Representations and Cultural Identities

1525 - 1540: Concluding remarks

National Photography Collection exhibition 19 January - 26 March 2022

Gallery of Photography Ireland is delighted to announce the establishment of the National Photography Collection. We are deeply honoured that the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins has agreed to be Patron. The National Photography Collection has been established to celebrate the work of artists across the span of their careers. It builds on Gallery of Photography Ireland’s deep commitment to supporting and nurturing artists in the development and promotion of their work.

Using Format