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Jon Riley Photographer


A Longing for Home

As yet unpublished, A Longing for Home has gone through several versions, trying to find one that would appeal to a publisher like Abrams, Chronicle and Phaidon, among others.

I spent over five years searching for and collecting the images from an extensive photo-walkabout through all thirty-two counties: the twenty-six of the Republic and six of the North of Ireland.

This is the most personal of my three Ireland projects. I took much of the text from my daily travel journals, which gives this book a heightened texture and feelings, making the reader feel as if he/she is there in Ireland on a misty, soft day.

From the Introduction:

So this book is the result of my Irish journey, a Celtic walkabout to search for, and make these photographic images, mostly in the hidden, quiet parts of this land, remote and frequently by-passed, a 21st Century pilgrimage to the far corners of my ancestral jewel-like island. I was, to quote from John O’Donohue, “an artist and pilgrim on the threshold” of my particular story, a journey within the heart of Ireland.

The Irish poet, scholar, writer and former priest, John O’Donohue, has written this apt summation, perhaps a photographer’s brief, found in his book Eternal Echoes:

“There is always some magnet that draws your eyes to the horizon or invites you to explore behind things and seek out the concealed depths. You know that the real nature of things is hidden deep within them. When you enter the world, you come to live on the threshold between the visible and the invisible. This tension infuses your life with longing. Now you belong fully to neither the visible or to the invisible. This is precisely what kindles and rekindles all your longing and your hunger to belong. You are both artist and pilgrim on the threshold.”

© 2011 Jon Michael Riley