The Embassy of Ireland in the Federal Republic of Germany held an exhibition on 26th September 2013 in which they presented a selection of the work of the renowned Irish Photographer John Minihan.

H. E. Ambassador Sitona Abdalla Osman attended the Opening of the Exhibition that was personally opened by the Irish Ambassador, H. E. Michael Collins. During the Opening Mr. Minihan gave a short speech about himself, as well as his relationship with the legendary Samuel Beckett, and also personally led H. E. Ambassador Sitona Abdalla Osman on a tour of his exhibition. The exhibition featured his photographs of Samuel Beckett, as well as images of the photographer’s home town of Athy. These included works from “The Wake of Katy Tyrell”, a series of photographs documenting the final journey of a local Athy woman from the deathbed to the grave. These photographs have received good reviews, and been described as “sad, poignant and sublime”.

A highlight of his exhibition was a picture he took of Mr. Samuel Beckett together with

Director  Walter Asmus about 30 years ago. Mr. Asmus was present at the exhibition gallery.

 

Samuel Beckett (13th April 1906 – 22nd December 1989) was an Irish novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy. Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century and is considered one of the last modernists. Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature for his writing.

 

John Minihan was born in Dublin in 1946 and raised in Athy, County Kildare. At the age of 12 he was brought to live in London, and went on to become an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail. At 21 he became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. For thirty years he remained in London, returning every year to his hometown of Athy to record the people and their daily lives.

In between documenting Athy on visits home, Minihan continued his career on Fleet Street, which included the iconic snap of a 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in the garden of the nursery she worked at, the morning sun to her back, her legs in silhouette through her skirt.

 

Over the years Minihan developed a close relationship with many writers and his photographs of Samuel Beckett show a particular affinity between the two men. His friendship with Samuel Beckett produced some of the most remarkable photographs ever taken of the writer. Among his numerous photographic publications are Photographs: Samuel Beckett (1995); Shadows from the Pale, Portrait of an Irish Town (1996); and An Unweaving of Rainbows, Images of Irish Writers (1996).

 

He is currently a freelance photographer specialising in ‘the arts’. His book of photographs of Samuel Beckett was published in 1995. His photographs of Athy have been exhibited  throughout the world. He was given the freedom of Athy in 1990. Minihan’s many exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world include the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 1984; Centre George Pompidou, Paris 1986; the National Portrait Gallery, London 1987/8 and the October Gallery, London 1990 as well as the Guinness Hop Store, Dublin 1991.

 

John Minihan has lived in Ballydehob, West Cork, Ireland for the last three years (johnminihan.blogspot.com).