Belfast Exposed


2nd Sep - 24th Oct

Human Condition

Belfast Exposed is delighted to present Human Condition, a graduate show highlighting recent graduates from the BA in Photogr...

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2nd Sep - 24th Oct


Belfast Exposed is delighted to present Anthropology, highlighting the work of a selection of recent MFA Graduates from the U...

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4th Nov - 28th Aug

Arts and Older People

'Arts and Older People' is a project where Belfast Exposed are working in partnership with Ballybeen Women’s Centre. The ph...

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24th Oct - 28th Nov

Through the Looking Glass

‘Through the Looking Glass’ a photographic exhibition by a group of women from the Greater Village Regeneration Trust. ...

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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.