Belfast Exposed


5th Sep - 28th Sep

We Love Dogs!

Open Submission - Call for work.Celebrate your four-legged furry friends with us by sending in high quality photographs o...

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4th Jul - 27th Jul


Belfast Exposed will play host to a specially commissioned exhibition by the Queer Artist Forum, a group of local lens-based ...

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25th Sep - 7th Oct

Young People Behind the Lens

Over the summer, a group of young people from Start 360 explored the cityscape of Belfast. They found new ways to see the...

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21st May - 22nd May

Showing the faces of dementia with Alzheimer’s NI

Ahead of the Alzheimer’s Society Annual Conference 2019 (ASAC19), Belfast Exposed was commissioned by Alzheimer’s NI to w...

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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

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


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.