The most press photographs would have captured

The Kathleen Buffini album contains
photographs by multiple authors and from multiple sources and not all were
taken by my grandmother but she is the collector of the photos and collator of
the album. In my interview with Dr Orla Fitzpatrick, she informed me that at
the time it was a popular to buy copies of press photographs of important
events and keep them as memorabilia.1
Some of the photographs in the album would have been acquired this way but
other photographs would have been copies of photographs that my grandmother
came across during her work developing pictures in Kodak. It was a common
practice for workers in the developing room to make extra copies of certain
photographs and to keep for their own albums.

 

Both Orla Fitzpatrick and Lar Joye commented
on the unusual angle of some of the photographs taken of the funerals of
Collins’ and Griffiths funerals as most press photographs would have captured
the event from the front of the procession in contrast to certain photographs
that are captured from behind, above or the side of the march.2
These images are discussed in chapters two and three (see figs 26, 28 and 29) Photos
such as these would have been either taken by my grandmother or by other
amateur photographers whose photos she made extra copies of. With the
accumulation of her family and work photographs and the historical snapshots
both professional and amateur the album shows a wide range of themes and is
difficult to categorise into one discipline.

 

After a careful study and grouping of
the photos in the album I have been able to further analyse the narrative and
order of the album. All together in the album there are 452 photographs and 83
pages of photographs including the back of the front cover which has
photographs stuck to it. I have divided the photographs into the following
categories: family, war, work, public events, tourist, city and animal. I have
made a table (Fig 14.) of the contents dividing them thematically and showing
the number of pictures in each category and the percentage they take up of the
whole album.

After analysing these results, I have been able to make clear
observations about the content and structure of the album. The highest
percentage of photos fall into the category of family, however many of these
photos overlap with the other categories such as work and war. There are 93
photos in the War category, 85 of these are George’s photos from the war and
eight of these are from the Civil War in Ireland.

 

However, 83% of the 111 photos in the
Public Event category are related to the Civil War featuring the funerals of
men such as Griffith and Collins who died as a result of the war. There are
twelve photos solely in the Tourist category but 68% of George’s 85 pictures
could be considered to belong to the tourist category also as they are
snapshots of places from around the world that may be mistook as holiday
snapshots if one was not aware of their source. The results of the table
confirm that it is almost impossible to separate all the photographs into
individual categories with no overlaps as this is simply not how life is lived.
Family life continues during war, war rages through the city and public history
is a part of everyday life. The relationships between the people, the places,
the events and the history are interconnected in the album like a web of
stories.

 

The
particular relationship between Kathleen’s private small history and the bigger
public history of that time is a very interesting insight into how
normal life was lived at that time amongst the political chaos. This
relationship can be seen in this photograph of Kathleen and her future husband William
(fig 15) watching Arthur Griffiths’ funeral from the rooftop and the press
photographs of the funeral (fig 16). The sombre mood in the press photographs
is emulated on the faces of William and Kathleen as they observe the historic
funeral from above. Marita Sturken offers an analysis of the relationship
between cultural memory and personal photographs in The Familial Gaze which correlated with my own thoughts about my
grandmother’s photos and their cultural relevance. Sturken argues that the most
‘poignant of photographs are those that were created within personal or
familial context yet have since acquired a cultural, legal or historical
status’.1 After my meeting with Dr Orla Fitzpatrick and Lar
Joye it became clear that this album is far more than just a family album of
sentimental value. They stressed how rare the album was with the collection of
family life, work life and public life all in the one place. At the time it was curated, my
grandmother’s album would have been considered a fairly typical family album but
now with its age and place in history it has become of invaluable cultural and
historic importance and can be considered a hugely important social and
historical document.

1 Sturken, Marita. “The Image as Memorial: Personal Photographs in
Cultural Memory.” The Familial Gaze. Ed
Marianne Hirsch. Dartmouth College: University Press of New England, 1999. Pgs
178-195. Print.

1 Fitzpatrick, Orla. Personal Interview. 25th October 2017.

2 Joye, Lar and Fitzpatrick, Orla. Personal Interview. 25th
October 2017.