Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Gray, Breda
The Sociological Review
Leaving Dublin: Photographic Portrayals of Post-Celtic Tiger Emigration – A Sociological Analysis
Optional Fields
This article analyses David Monahan’s photographic portrait series of over 120 people before emigrating from post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, entitled ‘Leaving Dublin’. As a digital series that circulates across multiple media channels, it moves beyond the tradition of documentary photography into a more hybrid aesthetic, political and media environment. As well as inserting these images in multiple circulatory platforms and replicable formats, the series disrupts the dominant visual culture of emigration by expressively recasting how it is seen and thought. This article argues that the highly stylised and unsentimental aesthetic adopted by Monahan pushes the images beyond the established visual culture of sentimental departure, visualising instead transnational and multicultural histories and politics through complex circuits of migration. As such, it highlights what Mieke Bal sees as the instability of migratory culture in the city landscape. At the same time, however, it re-enacts particular social distinctions and divisions. Just as new trajectories, relationalites and stories ‘appear’ as constitutive of Dublin and contemporary mobility, so also other trajectories, relationalities and mobilities are disappeared in ways that keep an exclusionary topography and politics of mobility in place. This is evident in the insistent and persistent separation between Irish asylum-seeking/immigration and emigration-focused digital photographic projects. So, although digitisation facilitates reflexive ways of communicating contemporary migration, and Monahan’s project succeeds in forging subtle connections, it also re-enacts structured disconnection and forgetting.
Grant Details