My Grandad’s job as a Photographer – By Megan Sheerin

Published in Employment, Personal History

Photo of President of Ireland Eamon De Valera visiting Sligo, that my Granda.

Photo of President of Ireland Eamon De Valera visiting Sligo, that my Granda.

My Granda always told me stories about his job. He was a photographer. He moved from Glasgow to Buncrana in Donegal. The reason his family moved was because my great Granda didn’t want my Granda being conscripted in the army in Glasgow. My Granda was the eldest of five children. My Grandad had studied as a professional photographer in the Leslie Stuart Studio in Derry. They moved to Sligo and my Grandad got a job as Photographer in the Sligo Champion five years after they moved from Derry. During his time working in the Sligo Champion he captured Sligo changing over the years. After his time with the Sligo Champion he Produced a book called ‘Lenscape’, this was a collection of photographs of Sligo. Whether it was the big news story of the day or just family occasions my Grandad had Photos.

He told me before that he used to film news items for RTE. He then had to send the news reels and written reports on them to the Dublin studios by train as it was in the pre-digital era. The camera he used to cover news stories for RTE on was a Swiss-made 16mm spring-wound Bolex. He really loved his job as he got to meet so many people. I never remember a family occasion where my Granda didn’t have his camera.

I have learnt a lot from my Granda’s photos I have seen how Sligo has changed over the years. I remember being in my Granda’s office when I was around five and it amazed me, there were photos of everything that had happened in Sligo since my Granda moved to Sligo. There were photos of festivals in Sligo, communions, dinner dances and big events that happened in Sligo. He was also a judge for the St.Patricks day Parade so he often had lots of photos of the floats. These were my favourite of his collection of photos. I love looking back at all the old photos and comparing things back then and now.

My Granda always used to tell me stories about the people he met. He met Eamon DeVelara when he was President of Ireland and came to Sligo. Another was Séan lemass. It wasn’t just people who were well known that my Granda enjoyed meeting, he really enjoyed meeting the people of Sligo and he took the same amount of care taking photos of communions or family occasions as he did with well known people. Pictures tell a million words and it is so interesting seeing photos from the past. Another person my Granda met was Johnny Cash. This was one of my favourite photos. I always remember the photo above his desk in his office.

Photo of O’Connell Street that my Granda took in 1973.

Photo of O’Connell Street that my Granda took in 1973.

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