Dublin way back then

Dublin way back then A young man in Dublin in the 1960s.
A Different Dublin: The 1960s through the lens, photographs

by Bill Hogan (Currach Books, €19.99)

Bill Hogan was a cinema projectionist in different cinemas across Dublin in the 1960s. He worked largely at night, so most of the daylight hours were his own to indulge his developing interest in street photography. He was largely inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

His images have fortunately been rescued and are now published. They quite rival the more famous Fr Browne’s. Though he came from comfortable working class people, what Bill Hogan saw and recorded on the streets of Dublin moved and troubles him. “I will never forget the emptiness and loneliness on the faces of some of the homeless that I photographed.”

In one image a protester holds up a sign: “10,000 homeless In Dublin.” The current figure is 10,378 (Peter McVerry Trust), so no improvement there. This book is not a social study of that kind. But the images of the elderly, the poor and those scraping a living are matched by images of well-fed young people in good jobs or at college. Yet the dominant feeling is not of an ageing worn out city, but one teeming with vital and active young children at active and hearty play.

However thinking about the images one realises what is missing: working men in their 30s and 40s: emigration was still cutting deeply into the society of both Dublin and rural Ireland.

This is a moving and thought provoking book, one by a Dubliner who knows his city and its people.

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