Exhibition by photographer with Clonmel roots links Switzerland’s past and present

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

A photographer whose grandfather established one of Clonmel’s best-known stores is staging an exhibition at the town’s Main Guard.

To You I Follow, which opens on this Friday night, June 1st, is presented by Dubliner David Killeen, whose grandfather James Clinton many years ago established Clinton’s in Parnell Street, which remains one of the town’s leading department stores.

The series of photos in the exhibition was inspired by a journey taken by an unnamed American couple travelling around Switzerland in 1935. Their accompanying photo album catalogues every stage of their trip as they toured different parts of the country. Each photograph is dated when and where it was taken and also includes a map of the route they took.

Having come across the album (which he purchased on eBay) in the spring of 2008 David says he found himself “entranced by the nature of the relationship between the images and the map. With this in mind, I set about recreating their journey almost 75 years after they had set about their own”. The purpose of his trip in 2010 was to return to the specific areas they had visited and photograph each site on the same day the original images were taken, three-quarters of a century later.

Some of the images graphically illustrate the extent to which the ice caps in the Swiss Alps have retreated as a result of global warming, an effect that David describes as “sobering”.

He plans to return to Switzerland to photograph the same areas in 2015, on the 80th anniversary of the American couple’s visit; and in 2035 to commemorate the centenary.

Born in Dublin in 1984, David is son of Ruadhan and Evanna (nee Clinton) Killeen, who live in Clontarf. The couple, both of whom are solicitors, practice at their firm in Mountjoy Square in Dublin. His aunt Mary (Costello) and her husband Denis run Clinton’s department store in Clonmel, while his uncle Michael has an accountancy firm next door.

David began to take an interest in photography while at secondary school and continued his artistic studies at Colaiste Dhuilaigh. The following year he was accepted into the Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork. He completed his Honours degree in Fine Art in 2008 and in the same year obtained his first solo show, titled Sunday to Sunday, in Cork city.

That autumn he continued his studies by undertaking a Masters in Photography and Urban Culture at Goldsmiths University of London.

Much of his work focuses on memory, journey and environment. Many of his series include the Alpine region and aerial photography in Southern Florida.

David has staged several exhibitions in the past and presented a number of lectures on his work in Britain, Ireland and South America. He divides his time between Dublin and Shepherd’s Bush in London, where he works for Downing Jones Designs, a property management company.

The exhibition continues until June 29th and is available for viewing during the Main Guard opening hours.