Ireland Ever: The Photographs of Jill Freedman

Jill Freedman, Photographer, Frank McCourt, Text by (Art/Photo Books), Malachy McCourt, Text by (Art/Photo Books) ABRAMS $29.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4340-7
For a country so identified with the color green, it seems odd to photograph Ireland in black and white. Freedman's approach, however, brings out the spirit of the Irish people and landscape in less familiar ways. The stone cliffs and walls of The Burren in County Clare spread solidly over two pages, and a robust man sets off rowing under a darkened sky in Dingle. In her prefatory note, Freedman says she tries to get away from ""the ugly, noisy modern world"" when she visits Ireland, and instead seeks out people living as they have for ages. To this end, she photographs scenes such as an elderly man journeying with his mule and dogs in County Leitrim, a man giving his pony a sip of Guinness and a small boy leading cows up a road in County Kerry. Earlier in her life Freedman was a musician, and she clearly still loves music makers: the book includes several striking pictures of old men playing their pipes in solitude and many more of fiddlers and accordionists. Other standbys of Irish life--pubs, the Catholic Church, hunting--are present, but in an unobtrusive, unconventional way. A few photos (a trio of mud wrestlers; a group of college lads with their pants around their ankles) briefly take the book away from Freedman's romantic rural vision, but for the most part, she succeeds in presenting a photo-journal that lovingly captures the enduring aspects of Irish tradition. 90 duotone photos.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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