New photographic record of Clonmel in the 60s and 70s

Donal Wylde’s Clonmel - the much anticipated book by Donal Wylde has arrived and will be launched at South Tipperary County Museum this Friday night at 7.30pm

Donal Wylde’s Clonmel - the much anticipated book by Donal Wylde has arrived and will be launched at South Tipperary County Museum this Friday night at 7.30pm

Donal’s new publication and exhibition ‘The Light Of Other Days’ is a thought provoking, beautiful and captivating photographic record of life in Tipperary during the 1960s and 1970s.

The former chief photographer of The Nationalist has assembled an atmospheric collection of pictures from town and county life in the Sixties and Seventies. The period covers the years when Clonmel was at its most diverse economically, politically and socially. It captures places that have long since disappeared or that change has obscured. Most of all it reveals the human side of life, the great sense of community that abounded and the conditions in which the people prayed, worked and took their leisure.

Donal recalls - ‘Change is one of the few things that we can be sure will happen. In my working lifetime monumental technonogical changes have happened in photography, printing reproduction and media communication. Sheet-film cameras like the Speed Graphic, the 2¼”square Rolleiflex (rollfilm) and 35mm cassettes were common place. Now all of this has changed.

These changes are almost comparable to the inventions of the printing press by William Caxton in the 15th century and that of Louis Daguerre (1787-1851) in his photographic process.

In parallel today, television news gathering has altered, from film to analogue tape and digital-image capture on disc to solid-state flash cards. Today photography in all its many forms is an everyday tool for many and camera-phones are commonplace.

The ‘camera obscure’ was used by artists to assist in painting landscapes. Pioneering photographer and Clonmel’s first, Dr. W.D.Hemphill of Oakville House, began recording change as early as the 1860s.

As a child I was fortunate to have access to and knew people who were familiar with good cameras. This grew into a passion and, gradually, an obsession with capturing scenes, events and images which have now vanished forever. These moments in time are gone now but the pictures remain on film, now digitised.

It is only when we see these photographs that we are aware that change is not consistent: sometimes it is startlingly dramatic, a gradual process that we only recall in my first publication ‘The Light Of Other Days’, like some of the children’s simple pleasures and pastimes of the era’.

Edited by his former colleague in R.T.E., Peter McNiff, the book will be available in local bookshops from Saturday.

Images from Donal’s book will be transformed into an exhibition with the assistance of South Tipperary County Museum. ‘Admission to the Museum is free and all are welcome.