Eamonn Doyle: Eagle Eye of the Northside
There is nowhere in the world quite like north inner city Dublin.
It’s where Pádraig Pearse read the Proclamation aloud at the height of the 1916 rebellion and where vibrant new immigrant communities are springing up all the time.
It’s a place full of echoes of the past and hope for the future. It’s colourful and friendly and gritty all at the same time. It’s changing constantly, but somehow feels like it never has.
And how do you capture all that? The unlikely documentarian of this fiercely individual place is Eamonn Doyle – a man who stepped back into the world of photography in 2008 after a 17-year hiatus.
After finishing his photography degree in 1991, Doyle got swept up in Dublin’s burgeoning electronic music scene. Founding record labels, producing music and running a festival, this is where he spent his energy for almost two decades.
Working within a roughly 1km radius of his Parnell Street house, Doyle began capturing the older Dublin figures he saw on his doorstep. A complete unknown in the photography scene, he sent his debut book to anyone he could think of, including one of his heroes Martin Parr.
Parr went on to describe the collection as “The best street photo book in a decade”, international critics hailed this as a turning point for the genre and soon his debut book had completely sold out.
Suddenly photographs of elderly Dubliners catching a bus and collecting their pensions were adorning coffee tables all over the world.
The perfect example of a person whose inspiration was unlocked by their surroundings, Doyle’s subsequent collections were met with similar praise and awe. This time he trained his camera’s gaze on a wider cross-section of inner city life. Burgers, sea gulls, Chinese lanterns. Young, old, middle aged.
Despite their diversity, all his subjects are unmistakably Northside Dublin.