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“People With Broken Umbrellas in Dublin”

Seán Hillen, 1888 , Dublin

For too-many years I obsessively photographed throw-away umbrellas which littered the streets and overfilled every bin on predictably windy rainy days in Ireland. I enjoyed the colours and trying to make each a unique composition. (The original images are too low-res to make a nice gallery but I might dig them out.) However on those days I began to notice how many people were struggling along with variously broken umbrellas, some slightly some catastrophically, but all slightly charmingly and amusingly and terribly human I thought, and I became obsessed with taking those photos: I’d be walking in a busy Dublin street in pouring cold rain with an expensive camera wrapped as best I could; and would see a subject. I would approach or stop them (difficult enough, as who wants to stop in those circumstances?) and explain that I’m an artist, and one of my projects is People With Broken Umbrellas in Dublin, and that theirs is a REALLY BEAUTIFUL one, and might I take a picture? All done as quickly as possible, all the better, and often the subject laughs, or tries to wrestle with the thing, which I love too:

 
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  • Seán Hillen
  • Early 20th century
  • On View: Room 37, South Wall
  • Photography
  • Oil Panel
  • 1945.87
  • 68 x 67,5 cm
  • Art & History Museum, on loan form a private collection

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