Belfast Archive Project
You are welcome to attend an exhibition launch of John White’s ‘Calm before the storm’.
The exhibition will showcase the preservation work carried out on the White archive since June.
Artcetera Studio (formerly the Red Barn)
43b Rosemary Street
Monday October 24th - 7-9pm
For further information contact Frankie Quinn on 07821260883 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Belfast Archive Project is a unique opportunity to preserve and present the vanishing photographic heritage of Northern Ireland. The ‘Project’ has been and continues to be entrusted with collections of film negatives, glass plates and prints by local photographers and their families in order to protect them for future generations. In all, there are over 100,000 images in 35mm, medium format and 8mm moving film. These images are at risk of deteriorating so our focus is to preserve and make these images accessible to the community through curated exhibitions, online galleries and print publications.
The Project has amassed its unique collection from many sources by actively seeking images that are exciting, indelible, stimulating and moving. It includes the work of some of N. Ireland’s most respected photographers. It is our goal to continue with the archive’s development.
The Project aims to keep our shared photographic heritage as a vital part of our future.
After weeks of intense work on scanning, restoring and editing his negatives, we are now able to present a selection of images from the John White archive showing the transformation from raw scans to finished product.
John White - ‘The Calm Before the Storm’
John White was born in the Ballymacarrett/Short Strand district in 1930. Before his death in 1992, he captured the dramatic changes in this small industrial enclave. White’s photography is notable for revealing the everyday lives and practices of those with whom he lived and worked.
White began taking photographs of his young family and neighbours around Saul and Vulcan Streets in the early 1960s. Neighbours would often see him carrying both a still camera and an 8mm cine camera around the streets as he made a record of their daily minutiae. When the “Troubles” began again in the late 1960s, John was there to capture the unfolding political situation. He captured the barricades between the Falls and Shankill, the arrival of the British Army in August 1969, riots following internment in 1971 and the growing human toll in these early days of a conflict that was to last all too long. In his photographs, you can trace the changes in the very faces of his neighbours as the world around them became upturned. His work displays a keen eye for capturing the "decisive moment" of humans interacting with one another — moments that reveal the fleeting and vulnerable instances of happiness, anxiety and sorrow.
White’s aesthetic was shaped by his own working-class background. He was an active trade unionist and worked for the Transport & General Workers Union at their offices in Transport House. Like most non-professional, working-class photographers, White used the income from weddings and portraits to supplement his appetite for documentary work. He left as his legacy over 2,000 negatives in both colour and monochrome.
White’s photographs are one of the finest examples of “community photography” anywhere in the world. They are important social, historical and artistic documents he left for future generations to learn from.
The exhibition will run from 24/10/16 to 29 /10/16 All welcome.