Tuesday, 14 June 2016


Its been such a pleasure being back in an exhibition space, showing work, talking with those who came to see it, or who just ventured in after they had lunch in the building, or indeed, after they had visited EPIC. I am delighted and excited about the response to the work and feel assured that audiences will be very interested in the next step along this road to understanding what in fact it is to be a modern Irish person. Either here or there!
To this end I am now introducing Beyond Leaving  and the concept behind my next show. A couple of years ago now I set off on a new smaller, but a little more rigorous research, to try and fathom the distance between  expectation  and the reality of today for a small group of people who collaborated with me in the production of the Leaving Dublin series.
This research will culminate in a show in the National Photographic Archive this coming November.
The show will feature new photographic works, video, interview, audio-visual, and research documentation.
One strand of these works will be a series of skype interviews which have been made with collaborators. The clip here is demonstrative of the many ways that this kind of communications can be laborious and unfruitful and it can sometimes be hard to realise ones intent.However as              e-communication platforms expand there are now several alternative ways to talk with video  to people all over the world, facetime, whats app, facebook messenger video,  and google hangouts all look like making this area of communications easier and more fruitful into the future.

So here is my opener, my first piece so to speak.
I hope you enjoy it and what it has to say.
there is lots more to come in this stream.
Please like ans share and as alway your comments will be appreciated and replied to as they will help  to shape the process of making the exhibition.

With thanks

Sunday, 22 May 2016


The chq Building on Dublin's Custom House quay has recently being transformed  once more as times and peoples tastes change. From 19th century stack house, to  a Celtic Tiger born shopping mall in the early 2000's,  to a mixed use space including some retail, cultural spaces, and a very large tech co-working space called Dog Patch Labs. The most recent addition is Epic Ireland, which offers visitors Dublins most immersive visitor experience  as they explore the unique global journey of the Irish people.
It was with that in mind that the management of the chq building were approached and the idea of hosting a show of On Leaving was floated by my partner/producer Carole Caprani.  The team there were enthusiastic. It was felt that a certain amount of synergy could be harnessed by both exhibits which are indeed  proving to be complimentary.  The work was hung on Saturday and Sunday the 14th and 15th of May by Ian Monahan and Adam Abuzenan and the show opened it's doors to the public the following day.  I was in the USA for this first few days, (more about that in the next few posts), but returned on Friday morning in time for the opening reception which happened between 17.30 and 20.00 that evening. 
I was delighted that Irish Times journalist and curator of the blog Generation Emigration, Ciara Kenny enthusiastically accepted my invitation to open the show and she made some very good points about the common ground we share in telling the story of the individual. I would echo that our position is very important in  the age when people  are fed generalisations about things such as migration, migrant culture and the realities of modern life.  Series like Generation Emigration and indeed my work play an important part of debunking the myths spun out in other areas of the media 
which paint a monotone picture of our society. Testimony featured on Generation Emigration has played an important part in keeping the absent present in our  national consciousness  and for that we should all be very grateful.  

On the night although slightly jet lagged I really enjoyed showing the work to guests who had never seen the work before, and introducing the other strands of the piece to those who were only familiar with the leaving Dublin Series.  Indeed I have had three full days already in the space talking endlessly with enthusiastic viewers of the work who in some cases only ventured into chq just to get a bite to eat. In fact, nipping into chq for a bite to eat should be the start point.The work should be something there to  be discovered and in this location I am delighted to be the perfect filling to a lunchtime sandwich treat. There are indeed some great places to eat in the building and everyday the concourse is filled with happy workers from the offices and businesses close by doing just that.  I suggest you join them over the next two weeks and finish lunch off with a look at at ON LEAVING,  and maybe even a visit to the vaults which now house EPIC, the story of our diaspora and how it has shaped the world in which we live.
Big thanks to Paul Mc Carthy for the photos (I owe you one for sure) and to all who turned up on the night. I really appreciate it. Tune in here over the next few weeks for some tales of adventure. Please share and comment on this post below and get your friends together and go for a bite in the chq and drop in for a long (or short) discussion  with me, I will be there till 4th June 11.00 - 16.00 daily..

Thanks again to all

Thursday, 19 May 2016


I am so delighted to be announcing the first showing of On Leaving In my hometown, Dublin, the place where the work for the large part was conceptualised and made.
True a component part of the project, Leaving Dublin, was shown there in the  National Photographic Archive as part of the photoIreland festival show Living-Leaving   in 2012. But the show of all three components of the greater photographic project did not come together until October 2013 when I was invited to assemble a solo show for Siamse Tire, in Tralee Co, Kerry.
As this show came together on site the plan for a book of On Leaving evolved over the stay in Kerry where I  designed and  then Installed the show with  the help of fellow photographer Lanka Perren. From that day my mission was to work on pulling the final components of the work together by traveling and making the remaining portaits and Landscapes  needed to cradle the texts which were slowly coming into view. It took a further year of travel and the intervention of superbly thought out design by Niall McCormack to bring the book On Leaving into existence. Terrifically printed by Nicholson Bass in Belfast  this book was named  the best printed book of the year In 2015 by the print industry of all Ireland.
 The Book On Leaving is the reason for this presentation of the work in Dublin. The existence of Epic Ireland in the vaults of the chq building the reason for showing the work  in this location. And the  time is now right  to show the work to a bigger audience  as it  appears things are returning to normal in Ireland at this time.
As we all know appearances can be deceptive so we have to be aware of all that has happened to the people of Ireland over the last eight years or so. On Leaving provides a lens through which we can look back over  this latest twist in the tale of the Irish Diaspora. During the period of the show the book will be available to contextualise the work which hangs in the large gallery space on the ground floor of the chq building.
I am grateful to  Carole Caprani who arranged the show and to Ian Monahan for   frame design,  providing the soundtracks to many manifestations of the work and  for  hanging the work with    Adam Abuzenan, and to  Pete Smyth for texting us up.
The book is on sale during the show period and I hope viewers of the exhibition take advantage of the special exhibition offer to push the book out throughout the world( it's a free postage offer)
I also hope that a a big group of you the readers of this blog turn up on the night of the launch on Friday the 20th of May 2016 to celebrate all of those people who took part and collaborated in the work that has become On Leaving. The work wil be introduced by Ciara Kenny, journalist and editor of the Irish Times Generation Emigration Blog
I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


As I opened my tripod a builder on the single story roof  of the house next door pointed at the sky and shook his head, 'looks like rain he said!'
 It has taken some time. But today I stepped once more into the place where I am most comfortable.
Setting up my camera in the back garden of a house on Church Avenue, Eastwall. I was grateful,
grateful to be once more working with someone I consider a friend. The man who twice set me on my way to the Airport in Sao Paulo after negotiating a shared taxi for me,  who showed me around, and  pointed out the roughness around the edges of the mega-city as I passed through it on my way around the Americas. And of course  I was grateful to be working once more to be making photographs especially within a zone that is now so close to me.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015


I am so delighted to have found this report on the facebook page of the Immigration Museum Melbourne, Australia, as it proves several things, That the world is a small place, That distances don't really matter where media is concerned, and that good work will be celebrated especially when it receives  accolade.The post can be studied in detail here. The report also points to the full site of the show hosted by the Immigration Museum in October 2012, The high point of my photographic career to date. Also contained on the site is the video report made especially for the Australian presentation.
The text of the post reads' David Monahan’s wonderful publication 'On Leaving' has won a major award at the Irish Print Awards. The now award winning publication followed on from the Leaving Dublin exhibition held at Immigration Museum in 2012.' It goes on to point to an article that the museum staff  found whilst trawling the internet. an article from the newspaper Newtownabbey Times.
A report based on a press release that two days earlier I had contributed too. And so the world goes round I speak some words down the phone to Peter in Mallusk ( A townland Name I had no knowledge off till I saw this report from Australia),He includes my input  in his press release, Its printed in the local newspaper in Newtonabbey, and then  its reported on in Melbourne in time for me to see it on face book.
Here is the text of the press release!

Mallusk firm Nicholson Bass won the much coveted awards for ‘Best Irish Printed Book’ and ‘Best Irish Printed Magazine’ at the recent Irish Print Awards, held in Dublin.

The book, ‘On Leaving’ by David Monanhan, is a photographic conversational piece depicting the current wave of Irish emigration following the economic crash in 2008.
The judges described the publication as “a truly classic book with excellent printing, binding and overall appearance.”
David Monahan commented: “When myself and accomplished designer Niall McCormack set out to find a printer for our project we had two key goals, to print it locally and to have the best result. This was made possible by the skilled team at Nicholson Bass and we had the impression on our first trip to Belfast that they were the best in Ireland. Now we have proof!”
‘Freckle’ is an independently published magazine celebrating the people and landscapes of Northern Ireland and beyond. It is all reproduced on recycled material.
Praising Nicholson Bass for their work on the publication, the competition judges said: “This magazine has everything, the look and feel are superb, the quality of the colours used and the reproduction is excellent.”
Jonathan Megarry, Managing Director of Nicholson Bass commented: “These awards are a true compliment to everyone in our business and rubber stamps all the good work that every member of staff has helped contribute to.
“It is genuinely enjoyable to work with customers who have the same passion for what they do as we do. Nicholson Bass are not just a printing company, we try to inspire and connect through the medium of print and projects like these do that.”

 Its great once more to make this kind of connection with the Immigration Museum, and I am delighted when evidence that their faith in my work was well placed.
Personally I am  also delighted for Myself, designer Niall McCormack, and of course  Nicolson Bass.
Together we produced the best printed book in Ireland of 2015. Fantastic.
If you would like a copy of this book which celebrates  the heroes of modern Ireland,( those who emigrated after the financial crash of 2008-9) I have a special end of year offer if you go to the site to purchase the book( onleaving.com) and use the code  smallworld 1 you will get free postage anywhere in this small world for nothing. This time at least distance will have no significance!

Oh, and please comment and share this post across your social networks, it could reach further!

Sunday, 25 October 2015


I am delighted to be once more on exhibition in two locations in two different counties.
The first is 4 week engagement in Raheny and Edenmore in Dublin. "Window to Eden'"is an exciting development in community arts which presents work of artists in a number of mediums in  presentations beyond the gallery space. The work hangs in two locations and is viewable by pedestrian who pass the windows where the work hangs in Raheny Library and at St Monica's Community Information Centre, Edenmore. The book 'On Leaving' is also available for inspection inside in the Library building.
Big thanks to Cindy Morrissey for the invitation to hang and for her invaluable assistance in putting the show together and following through to a super hang.

The second showing is happening, in Co. Kildare. The Illuminations gallery in N.U.I. Maynooth.
It's an all digital Gallery which shows work on a series of 8 screens. This is an ideal format for the showing of this work which had its first international showing in the form of projections back in 2012. In addition to the works then shown, there is a screen of images from the 'Empty Spaces' series,
the 'Visitation' projection originally shown at Slideluck Dublin in the summer of 2013,  and there is one other new piece which features the last nine shots of the 'Leaving Dublin' series which did not feature in the first version of the show and projection, ( as they where shot at a later date).
I am very grateful to Colin Graham who made everything very achievable, Mary Gilmartin and Jennifer Redmond for making the introductions and proposing the show. I am looking forward to meeting with students in early November.
The book 'On Leaving' is available on campus in the bookshop and of course online at onleaving.com 

I hope the work is well received and I look forward to announcing further presentations of the work here.

please share and comment below.


Friday, 4 September 2015


This morning at 8 a.m. this, the latest edition of the Irish Arts review, dropped through my letterbox.
Fantastic, I thought. I ripped it out of its plastic bag and flicked nervously to the rear of the magazine.
On the way I came across a great  review of the work of  Eamon Doyle with two pages of images.A piece on an upcoming Sean Hillen show. An interesting article by Anthony Haughey, calling for a new National Museum of Photography, or Centre for Contemporary Photography and a new school of photography offering undergraduate degrees, Masters and PhD programs. This article was coloured with work from some recent graduates from various colleges around the country. Photography was also well represented in an article about recent art graduates.
Anyhow, on I went, I scoured the books section at the rear, under a review of a book that I must check out called Visual Notes on the Recession Time in Ireland 2013, by Tom Szustec, I found it.
 At last!
 The Irish Arts Review, review of On Leaving.
Here it is and big thanks to Ros Kavanagh for the very positive review.

The New York Times used the phrase 'crash art’ to describe the substantial body of work born out of the recent recession. We have seen the illusion of prosperity evaporate, exposing an all-too-familiar empty landscape bearing the scars of material folly. It was however a sign of hope that we can make art about this at all. David Monahan has been determinedly engaged in his widely reported on project Leaving Dublin since 2010. Arising from a measured anger at ‘politicians’ brushing aside of the hardship of immigration, he sought  and photographed those leaving Dublin for a better life elsewhere. Following a successful series of exhibitions, he has collected this work in On Leaving. Superbly produced, it is set out in three sections: "empty spaces"-large format images made a time of locations that Monahan describes as sacred to his subjects; "Leaving Dublin"-84 nighttime images of individuals, couples and families on the cusp of leaving; "visitation"-the series of images produced during follow-up visits to the emigres, some of whom have returned.

The book has contributed essays and poetry by Sarah Maria Griffin, Piaras Mac Énri, Noreen Bowden, Jennifer Redmond, as well as text by Monahan. These are set out so that both text and images can be read in parallel, without referring specifically to one and another. None of the main plates are titled, but forbearance is rewarded by a richly detailed appendix with dates, locations, names and anecdotes.

The central images of the book are the stylised night portraits from Leaving Dublin. Rigourously constructed and playfully lit, they exhibit a theatricality that prepares the ground for their stories to be sought out and read. A final text by Monahan shows the personal connection  made with the subjects and the endeavour of his commitment over the last five years. His encyclopaedic blog-the Lilliputian-is a must for further enquiry.

Reading through the review I was delighted. Then bang, just as I finished reading my phone binged!
I checked  the source of this phone chatter to see that a limited edition of the book had been purchased by some one across town.
Someone who obviously around the same time as me had received their copy of the Arts Review.
It's in the post now as I type and I am hopeful for more action on the foot of this review.
I am delighted to be in the Arts Review, but especially delighted to be in an edition so rich with photographic content and interest.
Please share this post on all your social media platforms as it helps the cause.
Great to see the blog about to turn over 130, 000 reads soon, thanks for all of your support!
Remember the book is available from  onleaving.com see ad below!