Wednesday 7 November 2012

Small Lives. Big pleasure.

So there I was, minding my own business walking down Dawson Street, when a copy of Small Lives cried out from the windows of Hodges Figgis: 'Buy me! Buy me!'

How could I resist?

Small Lives, Photographs of Irish Childhood 1860-1970, is a charmer all right. Kids always look cute, whether they're posing like miniature dandies complete with a cane and feathered cap, or absorbed in play on a slum street with no concern for their grubby knees and baggy clothes, but there is more in this collection of photos than the appealling innocence of youth. At an intellectual level, the book captures the evolution of Irish society; at an emotional level, it is pure nostalgia. and ought to come with a lump-in-the-throat warning.

Aoife O'Connor, who edited the book and curated the exhibition of the same name for the National Library of Ireland, has created a keepsake and a perfect gift. Published by Gill & Macmillan, it has 216 pages, some 140 black and white photos and a RRP of €24.99.

You might also like to listen to Aoife being interviewed on Newstalk Radio by Sean Moncrieff. Follow this link  , select 31 October and Part 2, and move the slider along to about 12 minutes.