Beautiful People, Beautiful Place // Daoine Álainne, Áit Aoibhinn

A photo documentation (from 2008 – 2018) of my hometown of Newcastle West, Co. Limerick.

Some images of the book cover and internal pages.

This book is 450+ pages of my photos, writing and artwork. It is a view into my hometown life and my way of seeing things.

The book is a culmination of several years of documentation (10s of 1000s of photos over 10 years). It is intended as a look at Irish life, celebration, love letter, historical document, store of memory, journal, way of living, toilet companion and, medium of expression.

The series of images include portraits of people, shots of landscape and built environment, moments and events from around my hometown. It is almost A4 in size.

My hope is that the book will be shared with people all over the world, not just Newcastle West.

The project stems from my love of photography. It is a way for me to really look at things and see whats there, to appreciate things. It is a way to celebrate and record life. Maybe even it’s my attempt to (futilely) stop time and to hold onto moments. I have had a tendency to be quite nostalgic!

I was fascinated by old photos of my parents and life on the street before.

My Grandparents: On the left, it’s my dad with his parents in a photo taken across the road from where he grew up and where I live now. On the right, it’s my mum’s parents in a photo from London.

Photos from a bike race going up Bóthar Buí about 1981. And the field behind the road, that is now full of houses. I wasn’t even around yet!

Changes on the road. Photos of family home being built in the 70s. See Mossy Ambrose on the scaffold. And snaps by my dad of a field that is built upon now, and old houses that have been knocked down and replaced.

I was also aware that things were changing so fast. I was brought up in a hair dressing salon attached to our house. I was in the play pen surrounded by all these women from the town. As I grew older I could see that this environment would not last. My mum would finish work. The people would die. And I wanted to record some of that life.

I also just was so interested in people. The way they looked. The stories they held in their bodies and energy.

So, I started to take photos, tentatively at first and then got in the swing of things.

Here are some images from the collection.

Here are some pages from a previous exhibition of the photos. Questions and thoughts that arose around our focus, our mind, our internal stories, our magnificence. Ugh, it’s a bit cringe inducing to look at my thought patterns and how I exposed them. But this is part of the project – To see the creative process. To look at the mind and it’s dark sides and try to shed some light on it all.