Art News

Photographer Tony O’Shea

Photographer Tony O’Shea
Related Issue

Share

Tony O’Shea Divorce referendum protest at the GPO, Dublin, 1986

 

 

Tony O’Shea at work

Tony O’Shea grew up on Valentia Island. His early exposure to photography was ‘a tin Players cigarette box in which my mother kept some family photos, mainly taken by visiting relatives, usually from the US’. While he later had his sister’s small Kodak Instamatic camera, he says he didn’t start photographing seriously until his late twenties, when he became more aware of photographic culture while living in Japan. ‘I bought my first serious camera there and, when I came back to Ireland, my interest deepened and there was no turning back after that.’

By 1981, he was a fulltime photographer at In Dublin magazine. The writer Colm Tóibín, his then editor, recalls being captivated by his images and sending O’Shea out to capture city life from the top deck of a bus. O’Shea went on to work with the Sunday Business Post, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, Libération and Creative Camera. He has exhibited widely in Ireland, France and the US, and his highly acclaimed book Dubliners (1992) was followed by Border Roads 1990-1994 in 2017.

They capture significant public and personal moments, particularly in working-class Dublin, from protests and religious processions to the curious magic of a boy and his kestrel on the bus

A retrospective book of his work, The Light of Day, has just been published. His black-and-white photographs cover the period 1979 to 2019 and give a deep sense of the major changes in Ireland. They range from the grim and gritty to the witty and joyful, and from inner city to remote border country. They capture significant public and personal moments, particularly in working-class Dublin, from protests and religious processions to the curious magic of a boy and his kestrel on the bus. Each image has the distilled power of a haiku, creating a sense of quiet wonder within the flux of everyday living. Collectively, the images demonstrate O’Shea’s warm, perceptive eye and technical brilliance.

Many of the photographs in The Light of Day are previously unpublished. The book has a limited edition of 1,200 copies and a retrospective exhibition will be mounted at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin early in the New Year.

Stephanie McBride

More Art News

Hilary Heron retrospective
Art News

Hilary Heron retrospective

Sculpture exhibitions are notoriously difficult to mount, so it is exciting that another sculptor, Dublin-born Hilary Heron (1923–1977), has been selected for a retrospective at IMMA next summer.


Continue Reading
RUA Annual Exhibition
Art News

RUA Annual Exhibition

Almost four hundred works were hung at the Royal Ulster Academy’s (RUA) annual exhibition this year.


Continue Reading
Cork city sculpture trail
Art News

Cork city sculpture trail

‘Island City’, a sculpture trail intended to enliven Cork’s streetscapes, is a welcome initiative in contemporary Irish art, bringing art out of the galleries and into the public realm.


Continue Reading
Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping
0