A Look at James Joyce and Photography

A Look at James Joyce and Photography

Bloomsday is the annual celebration of Irish writer James Joyce. This year we will be holding an event to celebrate it. Georgina Binnie from the University of Leeds will be presenting a talk.

The influence of photography is evident throughout James Joyce's work, from his narrator's furtive photographic framing in Silhouettes, c. 1897, to the voyeuristic celebrity-style snapshots in Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce wrote at a time when photography was rapidly changing, with photographers moving outside of the darkroom, and everyday consumers able to take their own photographs on the new Kodak Brownie camera. As photography became cheaper, and smaller cameras were produced the way in which photographs were taken and consumed began to change.

Joyce's fascination with the cinema and proto-cinematic devices has been well documented, but there has been no comprehensive study of the influence of photography on his work. The Joycean critics R. Brandon Kershner, Garry M. Leonard and Louise E. J. Hornby have begun to address the ways in which photography and literature intersect with one another, but have looked at individual texts rather than Joyce's work as a whole. The photograph, as both a static image and a new form of modernity, is synonymous with the conflict that Joyce's protagonists face between remaining in Dublin and seeking creative fruition elsewhere. My talk will discuss how photography informed Joyce's creative practice, providing an overview of his work and offering an insight into the role of photography in Dublin in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.


Monday, 16 June 2014 19:00


Victoria Hotel