Bill Doyle

Bill Doyle

Cead úsáide: Leo Doyle

Rugadh Bill Doyle sa bhliain 1925, mac le Jack agus Brigid Doyle. Chónaigh sé i dtosach i Sráid Charlemont sular bhog an teaghlach chuig Marino. Tar éis dó freastal ar an modhscoil ar Shráid Mhailbhríde, d’fhreastail sé ar choláiste tráchtála ar Fhaiche Stiabhna.

Ina dhiaidh sin, bhain sé sult as a bheith ag plé le lónadóirí loinge mar phost, ach níor réitigh an dara post a bhí aige chomh maith céanna: ag díol árachais. Ba bhall é de An Óige agus The Ramblers araon, agus sna blianta i ndiaidh an Dara Cogadh Domhanda, chuaigh sé ag taisteal chuig an Iorua, an tSualainn, an Spáinn agus an bPortaingéil. Sa Spáinn, ag deireadh na 1950í, thug sé cuairt ar an dánlann Prado, áit a ndeachiagh saothar Goya, Velasquez, agus ealaíontóirí eile i bhfeidhm go mór air.

Agus spéis aige sa ghrianghrafadóireacht ó aois óg, agus múinte aige féin go príomha, sa bhliain 1967, chuir sé grianghraif a ghlac sé ar thuras go hÁrann sna 60í, agus ó thuras rothaíochta chuig an bPortaingéil ar aghaidh ag The Daily Telegraph dá nduais mar Ghrianghrafadóir na Bliana – agus bhuaigh sé. Spreag sé sin é le cúram lánaimseartha a ghlacadh sa cheird, agus é sna 40í, agus é ina shaorghrianghrafadóir. Ba iad páistí nua-shaolaithe Ospidéal Rotunda na céad cuspaí a bhí aige go gairimiúil. Ach ar an iomlán, rinne sé nasc leis an tírdhreach ina chuid oibre, ar thurais timpeall na hÉireann go minic, agus ceamara Leica ina lámh aige.

Aitheanta ina Cartier-Bresson na hÉireann, bhí nós aige grianghraif le feidhm chinnte a ghlacadh. Bhí sé go hiomlán ar bord le dearcadh an ghrianghrafadóra Fhraincigh sin faoina thuairim i dtaobh ‘an Tréimhse Chinntitheach’: an scil a bheith san áit cheart, ag an am ceart, agus a bheith in ann gníomhú go gasta leis an gceamara. Luaigh sé féin gur ‘ghrianghrafadóir aon-bhabhta’ é, agus bhain an cleachtas sin le riachtanas: ní raibh an oiread sin airgid á thuilleamh aige, agus bhain costas lena cheird. Sheas sé sin leis thar na blianta. Fuair sé cuireadh ó chara leis a bheith ag plé le stiúideo grianghraf ar Fhaiche Staibhna, agus bhain sé máistreacht amach ar an gcineál sin grianghrafadóireachta freisin.

Foilsíodh a chuid oibre ina shaothar éagsúla ina measc: The Aran Islands: Another World (1999), Images of Dublin: a Time Remembered (2001) agus Bill Doyle’s Ireland (2007). Taispeánadh a chuid oibre ar fud an domhain: sna Stáit Aontaithe, i Sasana, san Astráil, agus sa tSeapáin, agus ar ndóigh ar fud na hÉireann Japan. Ní hé nach dtagann aois ar ghrianghraf Doyle. Dáiríre, tá teist orthu mar go dtagann aois agus seanfhaiseantacht áirithe i gceist leo in imeacht na mblianta. Slí isteach is ea iad chuig an mbealach saoil a d’aithin Doyle a raibh deireadh ag teacht air i saol na linne. Saothair ealaíne agus taifead staire is ea iad.

Cailleadh Doyle ar 24 Samhain 2010, agus a bhean Tina caillte roimhe sin, agus a iníon Lesley agus a dheartháir John beo i gcónaí.

Born in Dublin in 1925, Bill Doyle was the son of Jack and Brigid Doyle. He first lived in Charlemont Street before the family moved to Marino. After attending the Model School in Marlborough Street he studied at a commercial college on St Stephen’s Green. He enjoyed his first job, working with a firm of ship’s chandlers, but the second, selling insurance, was less to his liking. A member of both An Óige and The Ramblers, in the years after the second World War he travelled in Sweden, Norway, Spain and Portugal. In Madrid, towards the end of the 1950s, he visited the Prado, where the work of Goya, Velásquez and other Spanish painters left a lasting impression on him.

Interested in photography from an early age and largely self-taught, he became a full-time photographer in his early 40s. Known as Ireland’s Cartier-Bresson, he always took photographs with a sense of purpose. He fully subscribed to the renowned French photographer’s doctrine of “the decisive moment”, the art of being in the right place at the right time, with fast reflexes.

He was, he explained, a “one-shot photographer”. This was partly out of necessity: “I wasn’t earning a lot, and film was expensive.” It was a discipline that stood to him in later years.

In 1967, he submitted photographs he had taken on a mid-1960s trip to the Aran Islands and on a cycling trip through Portugal to The Daily Telegraph Photographer of the Year Award – and won. The win prompted him to join the professional ranks as a freelance. Doyle’s first subjects as a professional were babies at the Rotunda Hospital, where he was paid to take photos of the newborns. His art, however, mostly took him outside, on journeys around Ireland – usually with a Leica camera.

A friend with a photographic studio on St Stephen’s Green invited him to work with her, and he quickly mastered the crafts of the studio photographer.

His books include The Aran Islands: Another World (1999), Images of Dublin: a Time Remembered (2001) and Bill Doyle’s Ireland (2007). His work was exhibited around the world: in the United States, England, Australia and Japan, and, of course, throughout Ireland. Doyle’s photographs are not, by any means, timeless. In fact, they are even more important for not being so. They are portals to a life and time that Doyle knew were fading in his day and are fading faster still in ours. They are both works of art and they are pieces of history.

Doyle, who died on November 24, 2010, was pre-deceased by his wife Tina, and was survived by his daughter Lesley and brother John.

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