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!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Its been a long slow walk from there to here. It started in March 2010 and ended on December 11th 2014 with the Launch of the book ON LEAVING. The end of one journey so to speak , but the start of another. The volume has been produced and now it is my job to drive as many as I can to the site onleaving.com to buy this work, complete and sequenced as only a book can sequence a work in the way it was meant to be seen.This is the definitive presentation of this work and I am so proud of how it looks and feels in the hand.  In a very positive review Last week, photomonitor said the following of the work
Throughout On Leaving the notion of loss is successfully articulated in two different ways—visually and literally—and, more importantly, from two different perspectives. While Monahan’s night time portraits in Leaving Dublin and Griffin’s moving poem American Wake might focus on the individual in the face of uncertainty, Monahan’s desolate land- and cityscapes as well as his informal portraits speak of a collective loss: a loss for a family, or for an entire country. The loss Ireland suffered and is suffering today as a result of the Diaspora is mapped in the highly informative and equally poignant writings by Piaras Mac Éinrí, Noreen Bowden, and Jennifer Redmond, which accompany Monahan’s sophisticated photographs. On Leaving is both a valuable contribution to documentary and fine art photography, and an invaluable addition to the history of a people. ( Lisa Stein, photomonitor )

The fine work done by Designer Niall McCormack has to be seen to be believed and understood.
This book is a design masterpiece and it is bound together with a complex simplicity that adds so much to the work enabling it to shine a light on a phenomena of our times.

I want this work to penetrate and have impact through intimate networks of friends and individuals who have seen, experienced, touched and have been touched by this work. To that end I am offering
two volumes of the work up to you the readers of this blog who can direct traffic to onleaving.com.
Once you have yourself blogged,Posted,tweeted,facebooked,google+'ed, tumblered, or placed a link in the way of any audience you will be entered into a draw for a copy of the book on leaving.
This draw will happen once the work has found itself out there on one hundred posts.
All you have to do is post it and send me the details, either by mail to dmon@me.com, by fb message , or in the comments box below. Once the link is verified you will be entered in the draw.
Once the posts reach two hundred I will also make a signed and boxed deluxe edition of the work available by draw to all who have shared and encouraged traffic to the site onleaving.com

   I look forward to making the announcements  here and on face book and google plus when the work is won by two of you. Looking forward to your help in getting this work out there.
Thank you so much for all.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

I Stand With so Much Behind Me Still Looking Out on the World

With the completion and publishing of the book ‘On Leaving’ a chapter has closed and I am delighted with the way that the act of publishing this volume has ‘book-ended’ this process in a way that punctuates my activities and my involvement in the issues surrounding modern day movement of people from my community.I now go forward with the accumulated knowledge that this process has brought to me as I immersed myself, absorbed in the pursuit of a finding a way of presenting a picture of this time and subject to you the readers of this blog, and indeed, to the greater public via the volume’ On Leaving’.

It would be true to say that my intention to start this project was not to  produce this volume. It would also  be true to say  that I did not envisage spending almost five years working solely  in this area, but this has proven to be then case! It would be truer to the facts to state that my concern initially was to make a dramatic photograph  of a single emigration for a family member. Whilst thinking of a suitable means of execution of  this duty it occurred  to me that a series of similar images  would indeed make an interesting social comment.

 From  that singular point of departure  the project On Leaving developed  exponentially and as time passed I  became more involved as I climbed its curve towards  the plateau that was to become the above mentioned publication. From this perspective, the now, I have a clear overview of all that this experience has brought to me and my  collaborators and I am set to investigate further, but from a now altered perspective and with a different way of evaluating what I find.

Let me explain. On October 1st last year (2014) I took up a research position in my old school
(IADT Dun Laoaghaire). I am currently pursuing the making of a practice led study on current Irish emigration which aims to ask a specific question.The question being:  In the case of  the current Irish emigrant, what  is the distance between expectation and reality? The answering of that question will involve the making of new artworks, (photography, moving image, soundscape) and it is envisaged that experiencing the works will add new depth to the understandings already arrived at by other academic investigations into the area of recent emigration.

A practiced led research study Is for this project, a novel and innovative way in which to look at this subject and should as a result of this new investigation from the practice perspective, add new depth to what is already known about this subject. Whilst it applies the full weight and responsibility  of academic research to the topic a large proportion of its study is given over to producing new works whose process and  creative outcomes demonstrate the generation of new knowledge. For me this means the grounding of all works on a solid base of all that has gone before. For you the viewer of these final works the reassurance that you will experience works as evocative as those I have produced in the past, but with an extra depth that may induce a desire to look deeper into the research that brought these works to life. An exhibition of this soon to be started practice component of this project will happen in early 2017.The physical work starts now.
See a great review of the book here  https://www.photomonitor.co.uk/15434/ see it , like it , share it!
See the book here! onleaving.com , buy it!

Saturday, 3 January 2015


Almost three years ago now I planned this video piece and prepared it in its first form for St Patrick's day projections around the world.Having finished  shooting the series in summer 2013 I re-edited the work to include all of the works ( the count went from 75 to 84in the intervening period)
This piece was used in the first On Leaving show in Siamse Tiré,Tralee,co Kerry.
With all the contributors thanked in the acknowledgements of the book On Leaving,  I felt the time was right for one final re-edit so as  to slowly name all of the sitters on a list in the form of the credits at the end of this piece.On the night it gave me such pleasure to see this come together. I beamed with pride to hear two fantastic pieces of music by my collaborator Ian Monahan Echo loud and sure all around meeting house square.
And so for all,of you who came down on the night a big thanks.For those of you who could not make it, the video played on the night is here and the book is available for immediate shipping from onleaving.com
I Have resisted placing this projection piece online till now, I hope you all enjoy it!
Please comment freely, It helps to work it all out!