Wednesday 21 February 2018

Tributes as pioneering photographer dies aged 84

Fergus Black

Pioneering photographer Pat Maxwell has died in Dublin at the age of 84.

The founder of the successful Maxwells Photography agency, who had heart and liver problems and had been on dialysis for the last seven years – died peacefully, his family said.

Mr Maxwell's colourful career spanned half a century and he worked for all the leading English papers and world magazines like 'Time', 'Picture Post', 'La Stampa' and 'Stern'.

He got his first taste for the profession when he photographed class colleagues in O'Connell School and sold the prints at a penny each.

He later became an apprentice photographer in the 'Irish Times' and also worked for the 'Dublin Evening Mail' as a young photographer before branching out and starting his own successful freelance picture service.

In 1956, Mr Maxwell and his wife Marie moved to Grafton Street before relocating to Hawkins Street.

His many picture scoops included the capture of the Beatles in Dublin in 1963 when he got a world exclusive of the Fab Four having afternoon tea, English style, right under the noses of security.

He also took the last picture of Earl Mountbatten on his fishing boat before it was blown up by the IRA in Mullaghamore, Co Sligo, in 1979.

His was the first news agency other than a newspaper to operate a "wire service" in the 1970s for the transmissions of pictures. He was also the first news photographer to purchase a digital camera in the 1980s.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern described Mr Maxwell as "one of the greats" of Irish photography.

"I knew him all my life while growing up around the Drumcondra area. They say a picture speaks a thousand words and Pat helped to make that so with his work."

Mr Maxwell is survived by his wife, Marie, sons, Mark and Tony, who now run the family photo agency, daughters Anne, Yvonne and Susan, and by his four grandchildren.

His son Mark paid tribute to an "incredible man and photographer" who will be remembered for "fighting the good fight right until the end".

"He was active up until recently and he still loved taking pictures," he told the Irish Independent. "His great joy was that he got a book out on his photographic exploits and that gave him great satisfaction and happiness."

His remains will repose at the Kirwan Funeral Home, Fairview Strand, Dublin, with removal this evening to Corpus Christi Church, Homefarm Road, arriving at 5pm followed by the funeral tomorrow after 10am Requiem Mass and burial in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Irish Independent

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