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.


Using Format