Photobook to encapsulate Galway life over the past hundred years

Enda O’Loughlin

Enda O’Loughlin

An innovative project which is the brainchild of three Galway photographers is set to form part of the Easter Rising centenary celebrations in 2016. The 100 TO ONE Project will photograph one person with a Galway connection born in every year from 1916 to the present day.

The collection of portraits will form the basis for a black and white photo-book which will be released next year. There are also plans to hold a number of art exhibitions across different county venues showcasing the 100 images. The photographers involved are Loughrea man Ian McDonald, along with Gort resident Enda O’Loughlin and city based Bill Barry. The three are all members of Loughrea Camera Club and their shared love of photography has led them to undertake this artistic assignment.

It is hoped the photobook will display the progression of Galway city and county over the past 100 years, through its people. Galway’s population and their diverse roles in rural and urban life have contributed to the many changes which have taken place in the area over the past century.

There will be portraits of those who have made an unnoticed contribution to their local community or even within their family group, along with images of well known, high profile, faces from the world of sport, business, politics, media, and the arts.

Included also will be some interesting facts about each of the previous 100 years. A bilingual aspect to the publication will reflect the county’s huge role in retaining and promoting the Irish language. The aim of the project is to highlight the fact that the Easter Rising was not just a single event but that it was ‘a beginning for change’.

Photographer Ian McDonald outlines how the idea for the project came about. “This has been in my head for a long time. I was in the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona in 2004 and there was a whole wall covered in paintings of women aged from one to 100. A few years after that I thought about it again and decided it would be a great idea for an exhibition. Then I met the two guys through the camera club and I put the plan to them and they were really interested in exploring the possibility of getting the project off the ground. Originally the idea was to just hold an exhibition then it evolved into a book. We are working on it about seven months at this stage. We now have about 70 people who have committed to having their photograph taken. The reaction we are getting is extremely positive.”

A need for funding

A hardback tome such as this is understandably expensive to produce and the current plan is to print about 400 copies of the finished product. The venture is non-commercial as it stands. It is hoped that public money for this artistic endeavour will be made available by Galway County Council. The team has been in contact with representatives from the local authority’s Arts Office who have emitted positive vibes about the project.

Considerable work has taken place over the past seven months with more than half the 100 years already accounted for. The team are having a little difficulty finding potential candidates who were born in the earlier years between 1916 and 1919. If anybody is aware of a man or woman aged in their late ninties who would be willing to take part, the team would very much like to hear from them as Mr McDonald explains; “We have an e-mail address and a Facebook page. We want to hear from people who would like to be involved, especially those in their 90s. We would also love to hear from anybody that had a relative involved, or had some connection with the Easter Rising. Geographically we are trying to have a spread of people from the whole county from Portumna to Gort and Glenamaddy to Connemara. We also have one person from Inis Oirr and would like another representative from the Islands. It means there will be a county-wide interest in the book.”

The book will be shot in black and white and will certainly be an attractive coffee table addition. It is extremely fitting that Galway city and county, with its rich cultural tapestry, will play host to a project of this type. Ian McDonald says the main aim of the book is to showcase the evolution of the area. “The people have made Galway what it is today and hopefully the project will really display the changes down through the various generations. Galway has become very multicultural and extremely cosmopolitan which is a wonderful thing to see.” [email protected]


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