An exhibition entitled 'The Country of Yeats' by the acclaimed New York-based fine art photographer Alen MacWeeney has opened at the Kamera 8 Gallery in Rowe Street, Wexford and will continue until September 8.
MacWeeney who recently sold his entire archive to University College Cork, travelled from his home in New York to attend the official opening in Wexford which was performed by the artist and art historian Mary ruth Walsh, a lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology.
Born in 1939 and educated in Dublin, MacWeeney began his photographic career at the age of 16, as a press photographer for the Irish Times, later moving to Paris in 1961 as an assistant to Ridhard Avedon. He also studied with the renowned graphic designer Alexey Brodovitch at the Design Lab in New York. He has been based in New York since then and has worked as an editorial, commercial and art photographer, engaging in many self-assigned projects and books including Charlestown House: The Home of the Surrealists and Ireland Stone Walls and Fabled Landscapes.
His photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, GQ, Harper's Bazaar and his work is featured in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art among others.
Ireland has played an important role in his personal work with photographic essays including Portraits of the Catholic Clergy (1962-63): reflecting the poetry of W.B. Yeats (1965-66), Irish Travellers, Conflict in Northern Ireland (1971).
He photographed Travellers in Dublin and the West of Ireland from 1965 to 1971, resulting in the books- Irish Travellers: Tinkers No More' and 'Once Upon a Time in Tallaght'. During his time with the Traveller community, he tape-recorded an oral history of their music and songs and stories and produced an LP of the music entitled 'Travelling People of Ireland'. In 2001, he directed a feature length documentary Traveller, which was broadcast on RTE and BBC television. His work is distinguished by the painterly way he unveils the character of his subject through a wide range of emotion from humour to drama. MacWeeney's Wexford exhibition came about after Kamera 8 director Anya von Gosseln met some years ago in New York at a lecture on the Enniscorthy-born designer Eileen Gray.