LAST YEAR WE brought you the story of Arthur Fields, the photographer who took photos of passersby on O’Connell Bridge from the 1930s until he retired in 1985 at age 84.
Film-maker Ciaran Deeney was looking for funding for his interactive photo collection project that gathers the photos and tells the story of Arthur Fields.
Since then, the project has come to fruition under El Zorrero Films and funding by the Arthur Guinness Projects.
Last week they appeared on RTÉ’s The Late Late show and appealed for you to send on your family photos taken by Fields over the years, as well as attend the events organised to scan your cherished pics.
In just one week they have had over 1,800 photos submitted and they’re still rolling in.
Arthur fields – the man behind the camera
Arthur Fields took hundreds of thousands of photos throughout his career but no negatives survive.
The goal of the project is to gather these photos from the public from their personal collections and create an alternative photographic archive of Dublin city, one that reveals how we lived, how our city and its people changed over fifty years.
Source: El Zorrero Films/Vimeo
Arthur was just one of many street photographers who worked in Dublin over the years, although he was the most prominent and enjoyed the lengthiest career as a street photographer.
Fields was a Jewish man who had fled the Ukraine amidst the breakout of World War Two and became a Dublin institution.
It is estimated he took more than 182,500 photographs throughout his career.
Speaking to The Journal.ie, Ciaran Deeney says the enthusiasm towards the project has been overwhelming.
“We appeared on RTÉ’s Late Late Show last week and it was a perfect platform for us to make an appeal for photos,” he said, adding, “since then it’s been flying”.
Deeney said that after seeing the show, one man in Derry got the first bus down to Dublin the next day so that he could attend the scanning event in Clerys.
“It was touching as he was actually willing to donate the one photo that he had of his father, but we explained that we only wanted a copy of it,” explained Deeney, who said that there are a lot of emotions surrounding these photos.
Some photos come from the most unusual places, as this story tells:
Source: El Zorrero Films/Vimeo
“There photos come with a lot of family stories and memories. The girl scanning the photos has been through a whole range of emotions hearing everyone tell their stories,” said Deeney.
He explained that the project is not a short-lived one and will be going on over the next year. All images are going to Dublin City Libraries where they will look after them being archived.
“To see Dublin in photos over 50 years, it tells a social history of the people, the fashion and the architecture, it really is fascinating that Arthur documented all of this with his photographs,” said Deeney, urging that everyone get searching in their old family photo albums and dig them out.
So, if you have a family photo in an old family album that you would like to submit, what do you do?
You can head along to one of the locations where images are being scanned or you can upload a copy of it by clicking here.
Here are just some of the photos that people have submitted so far:
Source: Arthur Fields/Twitter
Source: Man on Bridge
Source: Wally Cassidy