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Arthur Fields became a Dublin institution by standing on the city’s main bridge 365 days a year. He would pretend to take a picture of a passer-by and, when they stopped, he’d take the real one. Then he’d give them a ticket and they could collect the photograph from a nearby studio run by his wife. She developed all the photos.
Ciaran Deeney, Director, The Guardian
Man on Bridge collects the photos and tells the story of Arthur Fields, a street photographer who captured people on Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge from the 1930s to the 1980s. Arthur took hundreds of thousands of photos throughout his career but no negatives survive. The goal of the project is to gather these photos from personal collections and create an alternative photographic archive of a city, one that reveals how life was lived, how a city was enjoyed and how its people changed over fifty years.
Adding photos online and scanning through communities across Ireland, the project has become the largest digitization project in Ireland, collecting over 5000 images and stories. At the centre of the project is the website which reveals the archive and also tells the story of the photographer himself. Born Abraham Feldman, he became Arthur Fields and ultimately died as the “Man on the Bridge”, a photographer who touches almost every family album in Ireland.
Attaching the documentary story of a street photographer to a call-to-arms campaign to gather his photos, the project is a contagious idea that encourages everyday people to participate in a unique photographic record of Irish social history, a record that is continuously growing.