All 176 residents of a West Cork island, from babies to 90-somethings, are to be photographed as part of an historic initiative marking a ‘moment in time’ in the life of the offshore community.
The project, which will result in the publication of a book of photographs featuring every resident of Bere Island, is being supported by Cork County Council’s Creative Community Award, to the tune of €5,000.
“The photographs will be made into a special book, a copy of which will be gifted to each family,” said John Walsh, the island’s development officer.
He said the photographer would also work with local schoolchildren to video the memories of older residents: “They will give their recollections of life on Bere Island long ago.
“It is about recording a point in time in the island’s history, and the videos and photographs will constitute a great archive of information about the island.”
A photomontage of the photographs would also be created for display at the Bere Island Community Centre.
Mr Walsh said he got the idea while visiting Inishturk Island off the coast of Mayo 10 years ago.
“On the walls of the local pub, were the photographs of everyone in the local community — including a baby, who, by the time of my visit, had grown up into the girl who was working behind the bar!
“It stayed with me,” he explained, and later broached the idea for a similar project to Ian McDonogh, arts officer for Cork County Council.
Mr McDonogh told him a similar project was completed in Kilbrittain, in West Cork, some years previously by photographer Ed Godsell, a freelance TV cameraman and photographer.
John spoke to Ed and the rest is history.
Members of the local community applied for the grant scheme run by the county council and, last week, the project was approved.
Mr Godsell (edgodsell.net) explained he had participated in a similar project run by the village in 2014, although on a somewhat smaller scale than what is planned for Brere Island. He plans to set up a temporary studio on Bere Island in the springtime.
“There will be a lot of organisation involved as I will basically be hoping to photograph everyone on the island over a weekend.
“We have no definite date yet, but we plan to do it sometime next spring,” he said, adding that the project in Kilbrittain had been very successful and had resulted not only in a book but in a very large montage of photographs in the local community hall.
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