Born in Dublin in 1969, Eamonn studied painting and then photography at Dun Laoghaire College of Art & Design, 1987–1991. After leaving college he set off travelling around the globe, pursuing thoughts on being a “world photographer”. He soon returned to Ireland and moved into 147 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, a building that was once the family’s business premises. The building became a hub of studios for artists, filmmakers and photographers. In the course of developing a plan to make a film, they bought the makings of a recording studio, which they set up in the basement of the building. They began recording local bands in the studio, which quickly progressed to the launch of Eamonn’s first record label, Dead Elvis. With his life-long passion for music, an operational recording studio in the building and the possibilities of new technology, Eamonn soon began to broaden his interests into electronic music. In 1994 he set up D1 Recordings, a highly influential record label, and the engine behind so much of what has happened since.
Eamonn had met designer and artist Niall Sweeney in college, and it was through the establishment of D1 Recordings that they began a life-long relationship working together on the designs for the label and its associated events and festivals, and later collaborating more closely on the publications, exhibitions and films. Over the next twenty years D1 recorded and published electronic music with many national and international artists, and Eamonn toured the world as a result, this time with vinyl records in hand instead of a camera. Eamonn would meet composer and musician David Donohoe through the label as one of its recording artists, a relationship that has given rise to many music collaborations. Together, they produced String Machine, 2008-2013, a project that explored acoustic and digital traditions and practices through a series of live performances. In 2002 Eamonn established DEAF, the hugely successful Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, which ran until 2009.
Around this time, on the streets just outside his inner-city Dublin front door, Eamonn began to take photographs again. His interests in literature, particularly Samuel Beckett, and the cultural developments and social politics of our time, all seemed to combine with his experience in music to resonate on the streets of Dublin through his photographs. In 2014 he self-published i through D1, the first of the “Dublin trilogy” of books. When Martin Parr famously announced that it was “the best street photo book he had seen in a decade”, everything stepped up a gear. In that same year, Eamonn was taken on by Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, as one of their artists. i was followed a year later by the equally successful ON. Soon after that came the invitation to exhibit at Rencontres d’Arles 2016, resulting in the immersive installation and book End., for which David composed a suite of interconnected music works. End., both publication and exhibition, would be the first fully-collaborative large-scale project between Eamonn, Niall and David, a model of collaboration and friendship which continues.
International acclaim, collectorship and exhibitions followed. While planning new work in 2017, with ideas that stemmed from an interest in Bob Quinn’s Atlantean films from the 1980s, Eamonn’s mother died. This triggered a series of events that led to K, 2018, a new body of work and publication, photographed in the west coast of Ireland and accompanied by David’s composition based on traditional Irish lamentation song. At the same time, Fundación Mapfre had extended their invitation to exhibit in Madrid in 2019. This would eventually connect all of the strands of thought and investigation that had evolved into K, with Eamonn travelling to Extremedura in Spain to photograph the Spanish series in 2018. It was also in 2018 that both ThisIsPopBaby and Thames & Hudson simultaneously commissioned Made In Dublin, the nine-screen cinematic work and the book, and through which Irish author Kevin Barry became a fourth collaborator. Made In Dublin was featured at Photo London 2019.
The Fundación Mapfre exhibition premiered in Dublin, 2019, at RHA Gallery before it travelled to Madrid, becoming the largest exhibition of Eamonn’s work to be staged anywhere. Eamonn still lives and works where it all began, just off Parnell Street in Dublin, with the D1 Recordings studio still operating in the basement.
Last update on 22nd October 2020