15 August 2013

Vintage Clips: Belfast Photographers -- On the Front Lines Every Day

Photo District News, 1992

On a trip to Ireland in 1991, I took a train from Dublin, the world's largest village, to Belfast, center of conflict between Irish Nationalists and U.K. Loyalists. It was just before Christmas, when bombings -- and thus checkpoints and police presence -- typically peaked, and it would be seven more years before the "Good Friday" Agreement would signal an end to "The Troubles." It felt to me like it may as well have been the Soviet Union. It didn't feel "free," from the perspective of a 20-something American in the pre-9/11 world. Three newspaper photographers -- Alan Lewis, Hugh Russell and Trevor Dixon -- spoke to me about the challenges of shooting even the most mundane events, never knowing when they might erupt in violence, and of balancing their personal political feelings with getting the best, most newsworthy shot.