Books

Dividing Lines at Photobook Cafe 11 and 12 Jan

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Dividing Lines The book of ‘Dividing Lines’ is being launched at the Photobook Café on the evenings of 11 and 12 January 2024, and accompanied by a pop-up exhibition of images from the project.

Frankie McAllister’s book ‘Dividing Lines’ is an essay responding to the effect of Brexit on Ireland and more specifically to the landscapes of Donegal, one of the border counties and a place she has strong connections with. Using the landscape as a metaphor, she has created images exploring the artificiality (and absurdity) of externally imposed borders, whether they are borders we impose on ourselves or those imposed from outside.

Runs: 11 – 12 January 2024
Open: Launch & Pop-up 11 January 6pm to 9 pm, 12 January 6pm to 9 pm
Also open for view on Saturday 13 January 1pm to 5pm
Private View: 11 and 12 January 6pm to 9pm

Gallery: The Photobook Cafe, 4 Leonard Circus, Shoreditch. EC2A 4DQ
Public transport: Nearest tube Old St.
https://www.frankiemcallister.com
https://photobookcafe.co.uk


Handmade

It’s always satisfying to make something tangible no matter how brief or flimsy, so I create zines and booklets of various series’ or subjects as a way either of pulling a collection together, or of drawing a line under a particular project.

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Urban Backgrounds is literally that, a short zine featuring a collection of images from ordinary background things I notice every day. The marks and textures on walls, floors, and windows, the peeling paint and torn curtains, damp and mould, faded graffiti, damaged render, old posters, cracks and holes, scratches and scrawls. They form the everyday background to urban life and the create abstracts of their own. 

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Winter Light – a short booklet from a week of storms in the north west of Scotland.  We had only the briefest of forays out into the weather and the images are of the limited glimpses of the surrounding countryside and coast, and the views from the studio where I was staying. 

Blog post Written by Frankie MaCAllister


The Troubles and Dividing Lines

We were a fairly small group at The Forester pub on May 2 for our second live meeting. The main event was a presentation by Kyun Ngui on the Chris Steele-Perkins  book, ‘The Troubles’, featuring photographs from West Belfast in the late 70s, with text written by Paul McCorry.  Kyun describes it more fully below.  We also looked at an early rough layout of a Zine by Frankie McAllister, taken from her ongoing project Dividing Lines-Artificial Constructs also described in more detail below.

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The Troubles by Chris Steele-Perkins. Published in 2020, described by Kyun Ngui:  The Troubles comprises images made by Chris Steele-Perkins on several occasions: from his first visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1978 as part of a project looking at inner city poverty in the UK, then the Milltown Cemetery attack in 1988 and finally from 2008 (10 years after the Good Friday Agreement) when he was on assignment for The Times.

Chris Steele-Perkins, as he says from the Introduction, “intended to cover the situation from the standpoint of the underdog, the downtrodden: I was not neutral and was not interested in capturing it so.” By underdog, he meant the Catholic community, whom he stayed with on his first visit.

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The images from his first visit captures that community, its leisure, entertainment, homes, fun and funerals. There are also images more familiarly associated with The Troubles like rioting and the military occupation.

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He was there at the Milltown Cemetery attack in 1988. During the funeral for three Provisional IRA members killed by British special forces in Gibraltar, an Ulster Defence Association member attacked the mourners with hand grenades and pistols.

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In 2008, 10 years after the Good Friday Agreement, Chris Steele-Perkins went back to Belfast on assignment for The Times. He looked up people he had photographed 30 years ago and interviewed them. The interviews are published in the book together with images of them in 2008 and 1978. The interviews give these people a voice. They, like most ordinary people, simply wanted to live their lives in peace and to have equal access to opportunities in Northern Ireland.

The book also includes a commissioned text about growing up in West Belfast by a friend of Chris Steele-Perkins, Paul McCorry (whom he met on his first visit in 1978). The text is atmospheric and anecdotal, rather than analytical.

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The strength of this photobook lies in its giving glimpses into the ordinary lives and activities of the ordinary people in a Catholic community and in allowing their voices to speak in the 2008 interviews. Images of The Troubles have been predominantly about the military occupation and the rioting and violence that arose from it. It must be remembered that there are ordinary people, on both sides of the community, who simply want an ordinary life that many of us take for granted.

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Frankie’s presentation was a run through of a very early draft pdf spread of a zine on her project ‘Dividing Lines – Artificial Constructs’, a long term project about the northern Irish border post- Brexit and the artificiality inherent in the imposition of externally applied borders to a landscape.

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The project aims to depict concepts of disruption, artificiality and division through manipulated landscape photographs from the border country of Donegal. 

And lastly, the group discussed our forthcoming exhibition as part of Ealing BEAT. TRICKSTER Remakes the World is still sparking off a lot of ideas and debate from everyone but we agreed we will need to try to start getting a firmer idea of likely images, at least in indicative form, by end May.

written by Frankie McAllister


Living lockdown zine

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Sean McDonnell has turned his collection of photographs taken during lockdown around the streets of Ealing into a zine to raise money for Ealing Foodbank. 
 
The images document a moment in time when the world turned upside down. 
 
Adverts for holidays became a distant dream. TFL promoted riding bikes, not taking the tube. Supermarkets asked us if we really needed to buy more. People's garden walls became display shelves for belongings to give away. Chalk made a comeback for games. Everywhere social distance circles appeared on pavements. Some shops came back to life, others did not.