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Title: Modernity and Irish photographic publications, 1922 to 1949
Author: Fitzpatrick, Orla
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 4873
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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Historians of Irish photography have emphasised the country's nineteenth century contributions to the medium. However, the critical period of state formation, between 1922 and 1949, has not been considered fully. Likewise, the printed image has not being examined discretely within the Irish context. This study explored how photographic publications, encountered, reflected or embodied the key concept of modernity during this period. Looking at both Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State, it asked how were the urban/rural and the modem/traditional depicted? These photographically illustrated books, journals and magazines, were scrutinized using the tools of design and art history, and material culture. This approach acknowledges that the choice of printing technique, paper, ink, typography and design all shape how an audience engages with a publication. Their production was sometimes hampered by external factors not least the worldwide economy; a small indigenous market; a trade war with Britain; and limited access to foreign export markets. The standard of design and photographic education and a conservative printing industry also impacted upon the look of Irish photographic publications. Key publications revealed how Ireland used photography to showcase itself at international events, such as the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, and the New York World's Fair of 1939. Whilst an examination of official tourist publications showed that tropes such as the 'cottage landscape' and the 'Irish colleen' were presented photographically and re-packaged for both an external and internal audience. The use of photography in the portrayal of the Belfast blitz of 1941 highlights the Northern state's concerns about its self-identity. The vibrancy of Ireland's engagement with photography was also reflected by amateur photographic practice, as evidenced in a close reading of an Irish photographic monthly, The Camera. Throughout this period essentialist tendencies, which mined the past and preferenced the rural, ran concurrently with forward-looking agendas and limited modernisation. The photographic publications considered within this study reflect this complex engagement with modernity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available