From Antrim County to County Cork, County Kerry and County Clare, with love

Posted on March 30, 2009


Photographer D. James Galbraith lived in the northern reaches of Antrim County, Michigan, and in a lot of other places, too.  He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work documenting the intimate life of a small town in Livingston County, Michigan (Hartland: Change in the Heart of America).

D. James Galbraith - Focus exhibit

Galbraith loved to travel in Ireland, and made an extraordinary series of images there between 1970 and 1997, a time of great change in that country. After his death, his widow Susan made arrangements for over 1,200 negatives, prints and ephemera to be acquired by the National Library of Ireland.  Earlier this month a special exibit, “D. James Galbraith’s Ireland 1970 – 1997” opened at the National Photographic Archive, Temple Bar, Dublin. 

Susie was there.  She writes: So, with fine luck, I managed to get there again for the Opening – some 75 prints covering their entire Photo Center !!!! What am honor for the Galbraith clan and Antrim County !!!!  So I thought, well, don’t hold back, Susie – tell us how you really feel!!!  And so she has, and so she should, for this is a wonderful thing, this exhibit of Jim’s work in Dublin.  It is an honor for a fine Michigan photographer, and it is an emblem of the deep affection Americans have for Ireland, and the strong ties that we feel.  Jim loved the landscapes, the lives, the people he photographed.  That love glows in his photographs, including the one he titled Slainte.

D. James Galbraith - Slainte 

I think the best article on the exhibit is the one in Source Photographic Review.  You can read about it, too, at National Library – Current Exhibits – or you can read the same thing in Gaelic, which I think is pretty special.  No one has ever written anything about me in Gaelic, even though I listen to Thistle and Shamrock all the time and cry every time someone sings Danny Boy.  OK, not just anytime, but definitely when Dan Neal sings it.

The story made it to Wanted in Europe and to the Northern Michigan Art blog and now it has made it to Torch Lake Views.   I tell ya, camels in Egypt, photographers in Ireland—how cosmopolitan can a tiny township in northern Michigan get?

AND – none of the rest of those outlets have pictures of the Galbraith home in Antrim County, Michigan, or of our own Susie Galbraith, who has tended the flame of Jim’s legacy even as she’s made art of her own.  Last April I interviewed her about the prospective exhibit of Jim’s work.  I thought you might like to see their house – the one Susie calls the Hobbit Home.