Picturing Derry

Picturing Derry, which is a partnership project between the Nerve Centre and Culture Company’s BT Portrait of a City project, brings together for the first time, some of the most iconic images of the Troubles in the city in one exhibition.

Legendary French photojournalist Gilles Caron’s previously unseen major body of work during the Battle of the Bogside in August 1969 forms a major part of the exhibition. It also includes the work of other visiting photographers from around the world as well as images by local news photographers and amateur photographers.

1. The work of the photographers of the city including Willie Carson, Larry Doherty, Eamon Melaugh and Barney McMonagle, brings their unique local knowledge to cast a light on some previously unseen elements of life in the city.

2. Photojournalists from around the world covered the conflict and the work of Gilles Caron and Clive Limpkin became iconic images, known around the world. Documentary photographers such as Homer Sykes from the UK and Brian J Gill from the USA fitted Derry~Londonderry’s conflict into their studies of working class lives and youth gangs.

3. Camerawork Darkrooms, a photography training collective established in the Bogside at the height of the Troubles with international curator Trisha Ziff, used photography as a means to express community identity. Over the same period, the official British Army photographer captured surveillance images of the community as conflict zone. One gallery room tells the stories of these opposing perspectives.

4. Artists from the city and further afield, including Willie Doherty, Sean Hillen and Victor Sloan made the conflict in Derry~Londonderry their subject, establishing international reputations and bringing unique insight into the image of the city in conflict.

These photographs have been brought together to form a substantial exhibition of a period of almost 30 years, covering many different aspects of life in the city from 1969 up to the late 1980s.

A selection from the Picturing Derry exhibition will also tour to the Grand Hall, Stormont from 12 August – 20 September 2013.

City Factory Gallery, in Patrick Street, opens: Tues – Sat, 11am – 6pm; Sun, 1-5 pm. Late opening to 8pm on 27 June.

Photographers / artists:

Gilles Caron covered conflicts all over the world including the Six Day War in Israel, Vietnam and Biafra. His career was cut short when he went missing in a Khmer Rouge controlled area of Cambodia in 1970.

Brian J Gill, a dual citizen of America and Ireland, covered Northern Ireland, South East Asia, El Salvador and in the United States, documenting events in the Catholic ghettos of Northern Ireland, the child sex trade in Vietnam and the Ku Klux Klan and Mexican gangs in Los Angeles in the US.

Clive Limpkin won the Robert Capa Gold Medal from Life Magazine for his photographs from the Battle of the Bogside. He had a 35-year career as a Fleet Street photographer with the Daily Express, The Sketch, The Sun and Daily Mail. He also wrote features for the Sunday Time and the Observer.

Homer Sykes worked for many years specialising in portrait photography for the weekend colour supplements including the Sunday Times, The Observer and the Sunday Express magazine. He covered conflicts in Israel, Lebanon, Northern Ireland and general news in the UK.

Willie Carson worked as a freelance photographer in Derry~Londonderry for his entire career, recording not just the Troubles happening on his doorstep, but also the daily life which went on in the midst of conflict.

Larry Doherty earned a reputation as one of Northern Ireland’s leading newspaper photographers in a career spanning over 50 years with the Derry Journal.

Camerawork Darkrooms Derry (Camerawork) was established in 1983 with international curator Trisha Ziff in the Bogside in Derry~Londonderry which enabled local people to capture their own black and white still images. Against the backdrop of the Troubles in the 1980s Camerawork began recording everyday life in the city from the citizens’ viewpoint. The several thousand negatives amassed provide a fascinating archive of a people and place in a turbulent time.

Barney McMonagle first took up photography in Derry aged 24, in 1968, just as the situation in Northern Ireland was beginning to transform so radically. He felt that what was happening had to be documented, and, with his camera, attended most of the major protests and disturbances, taking more than 1,000 black and white photographs of the events between November 1968 and the late summer of 1971. The real danger was brought home to him in the late summer of 1971 when, as he was taking photographs during a disturbance in William Street, a soldier, possibly mistaking his camera for a gun, took a shot at him, missing him by inches. He never took another photograph of a riot.

Lieutenant/Corporal A W Martin was a British Army official photographer with the Royal Anglian Regiment serving in Derry~Londonderry in the 1980s.

Eamon Melaugh in the 1960s and early 1970 participated in, and photographed, events in Derry that were to have much more local, national and international impact than any of those involved could ever have imagined. During the late 1960s and 1970s Eamon was actively involved in community issues and local politics in Derry. He was routinely arrested by the security forces for his role as organiser and participant in demonstrations. His photographs are an important social record of Derry and its people during one of the most turbulent periods in the city’s history.

Sean Hillen is “one of the most significant Irish artists of his generation” (Irish Gallery of Photography),  “a national treasure” (Roy Foster, Yeats’ biographer & Professor of Irish History at Oxford). He made paradoxically beautiful and comical photomontages based on his own documentary photos from Irish ‘Troubles’ in period 1983-93 and his work in traditional (paper and scalpel) photomontage and photocollage is widely studied.

In 2013 The History Press Ireland will publish “Melancholy Witness- Images of The Troubles” a book of The Sean Hillen Collection photographs, which will have its NI launch at Picturing Derry.

Willie Doherty was born in 1959 in Derry~Londonderry. In 1994 and 2003, he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Since 1985 he has recorded the way in which the city has been shaped and altered in response to unfolding political events.

Victor Sloan is one of Ireland’s major visual artists, and has developed an international reputation for creating powerful images, which display his prodigious versatility and inventiveness. He is known for his works commenting on various political, social and cultural aspects of Northern Ireland. As well as working with the medium of photography, he also uses video, etching and screen-printing.

Your Itinerary

Picturing Derry


31 May 2013 - 7 July 2013


City Factory Gallery