Belfast Exposed


5th Aug - 25th Sep

Street View: ‘Above The Fold’ by Noel Bowler

Belfast Exposed is proud to present Street View: Above The Fold by artist Noel Bowler.Above The Fold is the culmination...

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5th Aug - 25th Sep

Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020

Belfast Exposed presents Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 which showcases new photographic works by two early-career artists, S...

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14th Oct - 25th Nov

Looking Through Our Eyes

Belfast Exposed present a photographic exhibition exploring the theme of portraits by a group of individuals who have an acqu...

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1st Mar - 22nd Apr

Natural Connections

Belfast Exposed is delighted to partner with Translink on a photography competition to capture the 'Natural Connections' whic...

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Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography

Gallery 1

10th May 2013 to 7th Jul 2013

About The Exhibition

On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, Belfast Exposed is delighted to be working in partnership with the MAC to present Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography, an ambitious exhibition featuring almost 200 photographs. Since the 1980s Northern Ireland has produced a distinctive body of photographic work by photographers from within and outside Northern Ireland. Many of the photographers to be included in the exhibition have established global reputations, but have not previously been considered in any sustained way as group of photographers interacting with each other’s work. The exhibition focuses on the growth of new, fine-art documentary practices, more often produced for the gallery space and the photo-book rather than for a press or media context.

Taking a historical and thematic approach, Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography begins with the media imagery of the Troubles that compelled photographers and artists to intervene in the flow of press photography that dominated a global, visual portrayal of Northern Ireland in the 1970s. From this response, and influenced by wider, international trends in contemporary photography, an engaged and often polemic aesthetic emerged, individual to each photographer but also shared across diverse photographic practices. With the Peace Process in the 1990s a new dynamic entered the scene which required photographers to think about the social and political past and future of Northern Ireland, and which also offered new opportunities for exhibiting and publishing work.

While presenting an analysis of its broad aesthetics, the exhibition also questions the extent to which the theme of conflict has dominated our view of Northern Irish photography. The photographers presented in the exhibition have formulated their visual language and its way of seeing Northern Ireland from wider photographic influences and from the gradual acceptance of photography as a gallery-based art form. Through the inclusion of work by photographers with a keen sense of trends and debates in the wider contexts of contemporary photography and art, the exhibition presents photography in and from Northern Ireland as a reflection of place in the broadest possible sense.

The Artists

Craig Ames Sylvia Grace Borda Adam Broomberg Oliver Chanarin Ursula Burke John Byrne Victoria J. Dean Willie Doherty John Duncan David Farrell Malcolm Craig Gilbert Paul Graham Philip Jones Griffiths Anthony Haughey Kai-Olaf Hesse Sean Hillen Claudio Hils Daniel Jewesbury Peter Marlow Gareth McConnell Patrick McCoy Moira McIver Mary McIntyre Sean McKernan Eoghan McTigue Jonathan Olley Mark Power Paul Quinn Paul Seawright Victor Sloan Mervyn Smyth Hannah Starkey Donovan Wylie


Curator's Tour with Karen Downey

10th May | 11am | Belfast Exposed

Free Admission
Curator's Tour with Karen Downey

17th May | 1pm - 2pm | Belfast Exposed

Free Admission
Public Discussion

17th May | 2pm - 2.30pm | The MAC

Free Admission
Public lecture by publication author Colin Graham

7th June | 12pm - 1pm | The MAC

Free Admission
Talk with Keith Connolly of Tonic Design

15th June | 1pm - 1.45pm | BX Bookshop

Free Admission


The exhibition is curated by Karen Downey, Senior Curator at Belfast Exposed. Karen also works as an independent curator. In 2009 she curated Northern Ireland’s presentation at the 53rd Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition by Susan MacWilliam, and in 2011 she curated Versions and Diversions at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin. In 2012 she was Lead Curator and Editor for Into the Light: The Arts Council – 60 Years of Supporting the Arts.