Calling all Photographers
In 2007, pictures of some old cigarette cards were posted by Joseph Burns to the Photography Ireland forum. The cards were part of the "Irish View Scenery" collection issued by Gallaher Ltd. between 1908 and 1910. The complete set runs to 600 cards. Many of the featured photographs were taken by the great Robert John Welch, who was born in Strabane in 1859. R.J.Welch went on to become the official photographer for Harland & Wolff in Belfast, birthplace of the Titanic. Many of the other images were taken by photographers working for William Lawrence, a Dublin based photographer and studio owner. One of the most prolific of these photographers was Robert French who photographed over 30,000 Irish Views for the Lawrence Collection. Many of the Lawrence views can be seen at the The Lawrence Collection, a digital archive held by National Library of Ireland.
The old cigarette cards caught the attention of the forum members not only due to the quality of the photography, but also because of the interesting social history contained within them. Alan Rossiter, another forum member, suggested that the members should collectively try to recreate these old views to see how the country has changed over the passage of more than 100 years.
I personally got involved in this project with my recreation of card number 242 as part of my Antrim cave project. Since then, I have been inspired to collect the cards and have now amassed somewhere in the region of 520 of these. I have now started to scan and index the cards and they are available to to view at the database linked below. I hope that they inspire photographers all over Ireland to post their recreations to the Gallaher Recreations section of Photography Ireland.
The photo recreation project is ongoing at PI. This is where you should register and post your recreations of the old cards.
Thanks to Mark Tracey at PI for setting up a permanent home for this project.