Sackville Street after the Easter Rising, one of the 1916 images exhibited at Photographers’ Gallery, London
“The exhibition reveals how photography (like Yeats’s poem) served as a weapon of propaganda for the nationalist cause, helping create heroes of the slain and mythologise what was a relatively minor event into one we’re commemorating 100 years on. ”
…The other problem is the rather partisan tone of the wall-texts: the sense of British wrong and Irish right pervades (the decision to paint some of the gallery walls shamrock-green hardly helping).
Hence we’re told that “Ireland’s economic fortunes had declined markedly” after the official Act of Union; that British conduct was frequently “draconian”; that Prime Minister, David Lloyd George “ignored a democratic mandate”, and so on.
…Which is a pity, as the last thing we need is any kind of blame game. If that were the case, one might stress in riposte that the rebels were bankrolled by Germany. But such an approach seems unnecessarily polemical at a time when reconciliation is the order of the day. Besides which, it denies the photographs the proper chance to speak for themselves.”
A two-star review for the Sean Sexton Easter Rising photo collection
Thanks Colm King