Tuesday 26 September 2017

Photographer's book puts rural life in focus

Patrick Delaney is driven by Patrick Brennan to a GAA match in Laois in April 2000
Patrick Delaney is driven by Patrick Brennan to a GAA match in Laois in April 2000
Bill Deegan, Joe Deegan, Mark Langton and Billy Deegan gather stooks of oats in Stradbally, Co Laois, in July 2000

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

INSIDE the bucket of a tractor was as good a way as any for Patrick Delaney to arrive at his local football grounds.

Photographer Alf Harvey captured the Laois man being chauffeured in style to the Crettyard v Ballyfin ACFL match in April 2000.

Patrick Brennan glanced over his shoulder, with a smile, to make sure Mr Delaney was comfortable.

The two men were oblivious to the fact that Harvey, who was supposed to be taking action shots at the match for the local press, had pulled his car over.

"I saw the lads and abandoned the car. I ran over and took the shot. They were just their natural selves and weren't minding anyone else," said Harvey.

The image is part of a collection of 1,054 photographs published in his new book, titled 'Life Through the Lens'. It documents the life of a photographer in the regions through pictures.

"I drove over 30,000 miles to capture all those pictures in the year 2000," he said.

Another image shows Bill Deegan, Joe Deegan, Mark Langton and Billy Deegan preparing stooks of oats in Stradbally, Co Laois, for the threshing at the local annual steam rally in July 2000. Today, an empty nursing home stands on the site where the men worked.

Also pictured in the book is Kathleen Ryan, manager of the Coliseum Cinema in Portlaoise. She was on duty on the final evening before the old cinema closed in November 2000.

"I remember going to see my first movie there as a child. It was 'The Sound of Music'. It closed once the new Storm cinema opened up in town."

'Life Through the Lens', published by HR Photography, focuses on Laois and its surrounds in the year 2000. The book contains images for every month of the year and is available in bookshops priced at €25.

Irish Independent

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