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    In 1954 the Dorothea Lange visited Co. Clare, on a six-week assignment for Life Magazine. Prior to visiting Ireland she read  The Irish Countryman , a book written in 1937 by the Harvard based academic and anthropologist Conrad Arensberg.  His controversial text was based on observations made during a year of field studies in the small village of Lough in North-West Clare. During her six-week assignment, Lange shot some 2,400 images, but only nineteen of these made the final edit for Life Magazine. The remainder were buried in the archives of the Oakland Museum of California until the early 1990’s when Gerry Mullins, an Irish freelance journalist then living in San Francisco, discovered the work by chance while searching for an Irish interest item. His book  Dorothea Lange’s Ireland (1998) , is the first and only overview of these images published to date. In 2006 I returned to Ireland after over a decade abroad, and settled in County Clare. I found Gerry Mullin’s book by chance and was simultaneously both drawn to and troubled by Lange’s representation of the place and its community. On one level her images are incredibly evocative, triggering memories, and an idea of the West of Ireland which is steeped in nostalgic association, interwoven with both individual and collective ideas of identity. But her images are also problematic, and have been criticized for re-presenting an idea of Irishness tied to regressive, conservative and post-colonial ideas of a place and community. The truth or fiction of the photograph, it’s ability to operate as an environment of mnemonic return, and the use of the image as a starting point to explore individual and collective ideas of memory became the focus for PhD work, based on this collection. Initial stages of the project included revisiting selected places and subjects from Lange’s work. However as the project developed, I became more interested in establishing a collaborative and relational method of working within the context I was researching. Supported by a Creating Space Grant from The Clare Arts Office,  in 2015  this included  facilitating a community based project using previously unpublished images and fieldnotes, gathered at the Oakland Museum of California, as material to navigate ideas of memory, place and belonging.    Exhibition Catalogue
       
     
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    In 1954 the Dorothea Lange visited Co. Clare, on a six-week assignment for Life Magazine. Prior to visiting Ireland she read  The Irish Countryman , a book written in 1937 by the Harvard based academic and anthropologist Conrad Arensberg.  His controversial text was based on observations made during a year of field studies in the small village of Lough in North-West Clare. During her six-week assignment, Lange shot some 2,400 images, but only nineteen of these made the final edit for Life Magazine. The remainder were buried in the archives of the Oakland Museum of California until the early 1990’s when Gerry Mullins, an Irish freelance journalist then living in San Francisco, discovered the work by chance while searching for an Irish interest item. His book  Dorothea Lange’s Ireland (1998) , is the first and only overview of these images published to date. In 2006 I returned to Ireland after over a decade abroad, and settled in County Clare. I found Gerry Mullin’s book by chance and was simultaneously both drawn to and troubled by Lange’s representation of the place and its community. On one level her images are incredibly evocative, triggering memories, and an idea of the West of Ireland which is steeped in nostalgic association, interwoven with both individual and collective ideas of identity. But her images are also problematic, and have been criticized for re-presenting an idea of Irishness tied to regressive, conservative and post-colonial ideas of a place and community. The truth or fiction of the photograph, it’s ability to operate as an environment of mnemonic return, and the use of the image as a starting point to explore individual and collective ideas of memory became the focus for PhD work, based on this collection. Initial stages of the project included revisiting selected places and subjects from Lange’s work. However as the project developed, I became more interested in establishing a collaborative and relational method of working within the context I was researching. Supported by a Creating Space Grant from The Clare Arts Office,  in 2015  this included  facilitating a community based project using previously unpublished images and fieldnotes, gathered at the Oakland Museum of California, as material to navigate ideas of memory, place and belonging.    Exhibition Catalogue
       
     

In 1954 the Dorothea Lange visited Co. Clare, on a six-week assignment for Life Magazine. Prior to visiting Ireland she read The Irish Countryman, a book written in 1937 by the Harvard based academic and anthropologist Conrad Arensberg.  His controversial text was based on observations made during a year of field studies in the small village of Lough in North-West Clare. During her six-week assignment, Lange shot some 2,400 images, but only nineteen of these made the final edit for Life Magazine. The remainder were buried in the archives of the Oakland Museum of California until the early 1990’s when Gerry Mullins, an Irish freelance journalist then living in San Francisco, discovered the work by chance while searching for an Irish interest item. His book Dorothea Lange’s Ireland (1998), is the first and only overview of these images published to date. In 2006 I returned to Ireland after over a decade abroad, and settled in County Clare. I found Gerry Mullin’s book by chance and was simultaneously both drawn to and troubled by Lange’s representation of the place and its community. On one level her images are incredibly evocative, triggering memories, and an idea of the West of Ireland which is steeped in nostalgic association, interwoven with both individual and collective ideas of identity. But her images are also problematic, and have been criticized for re-presenting an idea of Irishness tied to regressive, conservative and post-colonial ideas of a place and community. The truth or fiction of the photograph, it’s ability to operate as an environment of mnemonic return, and the use of the image as a starting point to explore individual and collective ideas of memory became the focus for PhD work, based on this collection. Initial stages of the project included revisiting selected places and subjects from Lange’s work. However as the project developed, I became more interested in establishing a collaborative and relational method of working within the context I was researching. Supported by a Creating Space Grant from The Clare Arts Office,  in 2015  this included  facilitating a community based project using previously unpublished images and fieldnotes, gathered at the Oakland Museum of California, as material to navigate ideas of memory, place and belonging. 

Exhibition Catalogue

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feet.jpg
       
     
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farmers.jpg
       
     
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cattledrive.jpg
       
     
glide20.jpg
       
     
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  Article