Monday, 7 April 2014

Who Do You Think They Are? Can you help?
Click image for PRONI's Flickr site
The work of prolific Strabane photographer Herbert Cooper is to be celebrated in Strabane Library from this week.

Heather Stanley, Head of Collections at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), where more than 70,000 of Cooper's glass plate negatives are held, says that generations of people in Strabane and the surrounding area beat a path to the photographer's studio. "Brides came for wedding photographs. Parents brought their children. Young men and women sat for portraits as they set out on life’s adventures. The images present the changes in fashions and family celebrations over 60 years. They were precious to the local people who commissioned them and PRONI is delighted to bring them back home to Strabane for local people to enjoy once again. We would love to hear from anyone who had their portrait taken by Cooper or who recognises the people in the photographs.”

From his studio in Strabane’s Railway Street, Cooper travelled extensively capturing townscapes and rural scenes. Cooper’s informal style of photography has left us with a unique visual record of life in the North West in the first 60 years of the 20th century. PRONI has uploaded some 700 Cooper images to Flickr, where they can be viewed free of charge.

PRONI and Libraries NI are holding an event at Strabane Public Library to showcase the exhibition on Thursday 10 April, 11am to 12noon. Two presentations will be given, followed by a Question & Answer session:
  • Herbert Cooper – the photographer and his work, with Heather Stanley (Head of Preservation & Collections Management, PRONI)
  • Who do you think they are? – PRONI’s project to identify Cooper’s portrait collections, with Joy Carey (Digitisation Officer, PRONI)

Why not go along and see if you recognise anyone in Cooper's portfolio?