Tony O’Shea: The Light of Day

The Gallery of Photography Ireland and RRB Photobooks are pleased to present The Light of Day by Tony O’Shea. The book is a retrospective of Tony O’Shea’s work, spanning 4 decades from 1979 to 2019, and is published to coincide with an exhibition of his work at the Gallery of Photography Ireland in 2021.

It is the first complete overview of O’Shea’s practice to date, which has been prepared by the Gallery in close collaboration with the artist. The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication from RRB Books with an essay by Colm Tóibín.
The book is produced in an edition of 1000 copies, including 100 copies with a signed and limited silver-gelatin print of ‘Welcoming home the Irish team after reaching the quarter-finals of Italia ’90, Dublin’. All pre-ordered copies will also include a signed postcard from the book.

A legendary figure in the context of Irish documentary photography, O’Shea’s book Dubliners occupies a pivotal role in the history of Irish photography and defines the territory that O’Shea made so inimitably his own – the everyday life of ordinary people, their joys and sorrows, their struggles and triumphs, the rituals that they use to make sense of their lives.

Despite a long career as a press photographer, O’Shea’s most enduring interest has not been in great events or well-known figures, but rather the myriad of small ways in which history is actually experienced, as something that happens between people, at home, on the street, wherever they happen to be. His work is reportage in the best sense of the term, alive to the possibilities of the moment as it unfolds, its capacity to reveal a deeper truth about how people live.

Although best known for his work in Dublin, O’Shea has engaged with an extensive range of subjects and the exhibition gives a sense of this, including excerpts from his studies of social and religious celebrations, sporting events and political protests, alongside the always sensitively observed images made in his adopted city. In these hard-hitting, eloquent pictures he has captured the many complexities of a country undergoing profound change.

About the Author

Tony O’Shea was born in Valentia Island, County Kerry in 1947 and lived there for the first 20-years of his life. He studied English and Philosophy at University College Dublin and towards the end of the 1970s became increasingly interested in photography.

A portrait of Tony O'Shea

By 1981 he had begun working full-time as a photographer with In Dublin magazine and once it ceased publication he went on to work for Sunday Business Post for many years. His first book Dubliners, including a text by Colm Tóibín, was published by Macdonald Illustrated. He lives in Dublin with his wife Sarah, and their daughters Keelin and Siúin.

30 January – April 11th, 2021
Gallery of Photography Ireland, Dublin

Hardcover: 112 pages, 90 black and white photographs
Edition: 1000 copies
Publisher: RRB Photobooks (31 Oct. 2020)
Language: English
Text by: Colm Toíbín
Weight: 1.1 pounds
Size: 11.02 x 8.2 inches
ISBN-13: 978-1916057562
ISBN-10: 191605756X

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