Over the last years, PhotoIreland focused its efforts in bringing to Ireland examples of the most relevant contemporary practices around Photography, with a special emphasis on the photobook. The publishing boom experienced in the last decades, on and offline, made it easy to access a large amount of work by artists from all backgrounds and at all stages of their careers. Still, in Ireland it has been always a challenge to find many of these new printed materials. Ours is a small market, poorly served, with few specialised bookshops. We feel the situation for Photography started to change over the first decade of the new millennium, and especially after PhotoIreland’s big push with the first Book & Magazine Fair in 2011, the birth of The Library Project, and a more widespread use of the term ‘photobook’.
Our intention always has been to make sure we in Ireland were able to find out more readily what was happening elsewhere, to draw refreshing, new, engaging, and often emerging practices from this growing supply of new voices. In this context, for us the photobook has been invaluable as it constituted an inexpensive exhibition on tour, a means to stay informed and connected to practitioners worldwide. We also felt that being able to browse these books at the local bookshop would help an appreciation of the medium, and would generate a collecting mindset. Though despite this fact, a key part is still missing in the process: to be able to ultimately see the printed work as the artist intended it to be presented and exhibited.
More could be done in Ireland to host larger, more comprehensive contemporary photographic exhibitions throughout the year, as much as to facilitate the purchase of photographic artworks, especially by emerging artists. Put simply, that is probably the only way to really support any visual artist’s practice – a point to stress amongst all the free exhibitions and the free wine. It is time to end any prudish and old-fashioned disconnect between Art and commerce, and instead cultivate more entrepreneurial mindsets in Art Schools. HALFTONE is presented to Irish audiences as our effort to start a conversation, and hopefully a change of perceptions.
HALFTONE is Dublin’s Fresh New Print Fair, running 19th to 22nd of November. HALFTONE is an initiative by PhotoIreland, in collaboration with Black Church Print Studios and the support of Temple Bar Company, Dublin City Council & Fáilte Ireland. Read all about it and submit your printed work!