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Colin O’Brien Retrospective
Sat 7 Dec 2019 : 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Saturday, repeating until Sat 28 Mar 2020
Colin O’Brien’s journey of photography began in 1948 when he took a picture of his two Italian friends in Clerkenwell with his family’s old brownie box camera. From then, he photographed the life of Londoners, capturing dramatic and affectionate images which speak eloquently of change and continuity in the daily existence of this city and its people. The resulting body of work is one that forms a social record of breath-taking expanse, in which poetic beauty is never lost, no matter how commonplace at times the subject matter.
The London into which O’Brien was born in 1940 is now a long distant memory. This is what makes O’Brien’s images of day to day life – children playing, lovers taking a stroll and even car crashes – so significant. The commonplace is so often overlooked, but these photographs are the most important documentation of a vanished way of life.
Colin was a Patron of Chats Palace Arts Centre from 2015 to 2016 and collaborated with us on this exhibition, choosing images from across the span of his career to form a very personal retrospective. He had an undoubted affinity with Hackney and so we make no apology for the exhibition’s strong east London bias, framing as it does the nature of a very special friendship.
Chats Palace Arts Centre | Photochats
List of plates (anti-clockwise from left):
1960s: Snow Scene, New Year’s Eve, Clerkenwell 1962
1940s: Italian Boys, Clerkenwell 1948
1950s: Love Now/Pay Later, Soho 1959
1960s: Cowboy & Girlfriend, Finsbury 1960
1980s: Comings and Goings, Brick Lane 1986
1980s: Lady in A Summer Dress, Chatsworth Road 1980
1990s: Preacher, 1990s (exact date unknown)
1980s: A Boy Fishing, The Hackney Cut, River Lea Navigation 1982
1960s: Accident, Clerkenwell 1962
2000s: Last Day of No. 38 Bus, Clapton Pond 2005