I’m just home after a couple of days in Dublin. I went over for the opening of a photographic exhibition by one of my oldest and dearest friends, Paul Connell.
The exhibition is called Pathfinders and it’s a series of portraits of older men and women who were involved in the struggle for equality and rights of LGBT people in Ireland. Some of these were activists with a high public profile. Most were simply people who lived their lives quietly but openly and with integrity. Brave rebel hearts!
A key element of the portraits is that all are shot in exactly the same way: same backdrop, same stepladder, same camera, same lighting. It’s a democratic approach that places all the focus on the person and their character. And taken together, the collection becomes a nationally important archive.
Paul and I have been close friends for many years and there’s always been a sense of our lives running in parallel. As I approach my 60th birthday I feel that, by becoming a funeral celebrant, I am finally doing something truly fulfilling. Paul’s been a photographer for years but the Pathfinders exhibition, held in historic Dublin Castle and opened by the Irish Minister of Culture, Josepha Madigan, marks national recognition for his skill, artistry and vision.
And in our different ways, both our work seeks to celebrate the essence of a person’s life.
Thank you, Paul, for your friendship and support through more than thirty years.