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Taking a historical and thematic approach, Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography begins with the media imagery of the Troubles that compelled photographers and artists to intervene in the flow of press photography that dominated a global, visual portrayal of Northern Ireland in the 1970s. From this response, and influenced by wider, international trends in contemporary photography, an engaged and often polemic aesthetic emerged, individual to each photographer but also shared across diverse photographic practices. With the Peace Process in the 1990s a new dynamic entered the scene which required photographers to think about the social and political past and future of Northern Ireland, and which also offered new opportunities for exhibiting and publishing work.

While presenting an analysis of its broad aesthetics, the exhibition also questions the extent to which the theme of conflict has dominated our view of Northern Irish photography. The photographers presented in the exhibition have formulated their visual language and its way of seeing Northern Ireland from wider photographic influences and from the gradual acceptance of photography as a gallery-based art form. Through the inclusion of work by photographers with a keen sense of trends and debates in the wider contexts of contemporary photography and art, the exhibition presents photography in and from Northern Ireland as a reflection of place in the broadest possible sense.

Photographers include Craig Ames, Sylvia Grace Borda, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Ursula Burke, John Byrne, Victoria J. Dean, Willie Doherty, John Duncan, David Farrell, Malcolm Craig Gilbert, Paul Graham, Philip Jones Griffiths, Anthony Haughey, Kai-Olaf Hesse, Sean Hillen, Claudio Hils, Daniel Jewesbury, Peter Marlow, Gareth McConnell, Patrick McCoy, Moira McIver, Mary McIntyre, Sean McKernan, Eoghan McTigue, Jonathan Olley, Mark Power, Paul Quinn, Paul Seawright, Victor Sloan, Mervyn Smyth, Hannah Starkey and Donovan Wylie.

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