Ms. Dietrich


This shoot with Lillian happened a few months ago on Valentines day. Shot on the main stage in Draíocht. Hair and make-up by Aoife O Sullivan and Leslie Ann Daly. Styling by Niamh Hogan.

Ms. Dietrich


A Reflection

“In the West the dominant trope for aging has been the decay and decline of the body. Time or age, we will say, writes itself on the body. For the most part we fear what will be written there. We repress the subject of aging. We relegate aging to others. We do not recognize it in ourselves.” — Kathleen Woodward

Lillian - Reflection

My father told me recently he got his last 10-year driving license. After someone reaches 70, an application is required every few years. It’s strange to think of them as actually getting older, of being 70. My parents are married 40 years this year. I clearly remember my grandparent’s 40th wedding anniversary. My father then was the same age I am now. The mind boggles. Only recently I was given the first indication of my own aging self when my physiotherapist said that the resistance in one of my muscles might just be a thing I have to live with. Really?

One of the threads which has been spun off from my conversations with older people in Blanchardstown is that of our aging reflection. I’ve never really given it much consideration. My laughter lines are only beginning.

A woman in her 60’s brought this up a few months back, which caused me to write something down in my notebook. Her thing was that she started to notice a new face at 40, and at 50 she started to see her mother looking back at her. Now in her 60’s she has to get used to another face, which will change again in her 70’s. I talked to another lady today, a former model in her 20’s, and she told me that when she looks in the mirror, she knows what to expect. It’s when she’s accidentally confronted by her own full-length reflection from a shop window that she sometimes gets a shock. Another woman said she didn’t like looking at photographs. By doing so, she sees herself as others see her.

Ernest Jones, in his biography of Freud, wrote about Freud’s elderly mother Amalia. Upon being given a beautiful shawl, she refused to wear it because “it would make her look too old”[1]. Amelia was in her 90’s. Commenting on a photo of her in a newspaper, she said that it made her look a hundred, that it was a “bad reproduction”.

Everyone has stories that mirror this observation. In the course of this project, a participant told me her mother would go along to senior citizen events, she a senior citizen herself, and would serve tea but would not sit down with the other senior citizens. Not doing so allowed her to be feel younger than the group she helped out with, even though their ages were the same. We all will carry our youthful self with us till the end, and as Woodward so eliquently puts it, old age is something that is relegated to others and not recognized in ourselves.

As part of this project, I photographed each participant engaging with their own reflection in their own mirror, and got their views about aging with their mirrors.

Anne - Reflection

Deirdre - Reflection

Vincent - Reflection

Bernadette - Reflection

Eddie - Reflection

Mick - Reflection

Monica-Ann - Reflection

Betty - Refleciton

[1] Woodward, Kathleen, Aging and its Discontents: Freud and other Fictions, 1991, p.3


This is Me – My Fashion

Pick a location that is relevant to you. Wear something you would wear to a special occasion.

The locations chosen were mostly related to events in the participant’s youth. Monica Anne Dunne, who used to model in her 20’s chose an area right next to the house she grew up in down in Co.Kildare. The jacket is an old one and one that required a re-mortgage, but she loves it. Mary Toole chose St.Stephens Green as she went to school just across the road and then went to work in the hospital that was right beside it. Betty Shanahan lives in the Pheonix Park, one of the lucky few who can. This was on her doorstep. Deirdre Owens also chose the Phenoix Park, in particular this pathway that she used to walk to meet her father in the Garda HQ. He died when she was twelve. Bernadette Gallagher chose the beach in Donabate. It’s a place she enjoys coming to. The others are already mentioned in my previous blog entry This is Me.

Each person talked about their own experience with fashion and growing older in a video interview, which is an unedited (but interesting) pile as of yet.

Monica Anne Dunne

Mary Toole

Betty Shanahan

Deirdre Owens

Bernadette Gallagher

Eddie McGinley

Anne Flanagan

Vincent Reilly

Lillian Harris


Earliest Memories Pinhole Exhibition

8-second pinhole portraits along with participant’s workbooks are the first thing you are confronted with in Earliest Memories Through a Pinhole Camera at Draíocht.

8-second Pinhole Portraits

Group Portrait

Each participant made their own camera using a matchbox and other household items, reconstructed their earliest memory, photographed it, printed it in the darkroom and framed it. A beautiful full-colour catalogue compliments the exhibition.

Draíocht Upstairs Gallery

The images were presented floating in a frame, with a one-line extract from their memory which was recorded in full in the catalogue.

I had never broken anything before

Black cloths were strewn over all the pictures and mirrors

I don't know why I was in a hospital

Black pudding tastes nice


Bealtaine 2011

The Clyne Gallery / Bealtaine 2011

I was delighted to be part of this year’s Bealtaine, Ireland’s festival celebrating creativity in older age. I was given the opportunity to exhibit Wearing Purple in the Clyne Gallery on Upper Exchange St in Dublin’s Temple Bar. For this exhibition, I wanted to take some of the work that has so far been confined to a one-off book that I made a few years ago, and put it onto the wall. The book was made up of the participant’s photographs, made on disposable cameras along with my own field notes. The only direction I gave them was to take photos of their everyday lives, no matter how boring the shot seemed. The contrast between the portraits I made in their homes and the normal snapshots of their daily routines provided a balance to the work that I was really happy with.

Thanks to Patricia Clyne-Kelly at the Clyne for generously providing the space, and to Dominic Campbell, Bealtaine’s artistic director, for wanting the show to happen.