Most of Doyle’s work is produced in and around the Dublin city centre where he has lived for the past 20 years, and these images prove that some of the best photographs can be taken on your very own doorstep. This particular study is a series of beautifully cropped portraits of individuals as they go about their daily lives. Most of them are elderly which imbues the images with a strong sense of the transience of our existence. Their many experiences – their joys and sadnesses – they wear on their faces. Implicitly this is, then, also a meditation on photography itself: its ability to capture at once a fleeting moment and a complete story. Doyle manages to endow the images with an eerie purity, for they are void of the litter and urban furniture that is usually so common in street photography. Martin Parr has described it as ‘the best street photo book in a decade’. Indeed, the series is reminiscent of some of the greats, such as Walker Evans’ Subway photographs of the late 1940s, Harry Callahan’s Chicago series of the 50s, and Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s Streetwork of the 90s. The pictures possess all the mystery, candour and what Walker Evans described as “naked repose” of timeless street photography.

While photographing, I began to strip away as much of the context and background from the subjects as I could. The subjects are all shot at close range, but respectfully, perhaps even reverently. The pictures show only fragments of possible narratives, but for me, every life has weight and drama, even if its meaning is ultimately elusive.

Eamonn Doyle

Source: Michael Hoppen Gallery