Photographs

Exit Menu

Photographs

Light and time

The American photographer Aaron Siskind observed that
‘what you have caught on film is captured forever…It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.’

That sums up why photography is so important to the museum’s collections.

National Museums NI holds a wide range of historic photographs—almost 500,000 topographical, portrait and record images. Most are in black and white, and kept in print and negative format. The collection dates from around 1870, and mostly relates to the northern parts of Ireland. Other regions are also covered, especially the west. They describe:

• commercial and social life
• industrial and economic activity
• street scenes and townscapes
• land, sea, air, and road transport
• political and social events

Signature collections include:

• The natural history photography, and The Harland and Wolff Collection of shipyard photographs, taken by RJ Welch (1859—1936)
• W.A. Green (1870—1958) photography of rural industry
• The social realism of A.R. Hogg (1870—1939)
• Photographs taken by the Ulster Tourist Development Association, and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, between 1940 and 1980.
• The Dundee Collection, chronicling farm life in Sentry Hill, County Antrim.
• The Hackney Collection, charting the recruitment and training of the 36th Ulster Division in the First World War, and their journey to the Battle of the Somme and beyond.

Other important collections include the work of:

• Cecil Newman, describing local urban and road development in the 1960s and 1970s.
• Bob Martin, a shipyard worker whose images reflect life in Belfast and output at Harland and Wolff's in the1950s and 1960s.
• The Garland collection, which records the aftermath of the Belfast Blitz, 1941, and the work of local home defence agencies.
• The Browne collection of photographs relating to civil engineering projects post 1945
• The Glass Album relating to the Land War in Gweedore, County Donegal, in the 1880s.
• The Douglas Sobey Collection relating to the LGBT movement in Northern Ireland in the 1970s
• Photojournalism from 1970 by Martin Nangle, Bill Kirk and Frankie Quinn

The museum maintains a large collection of lantern slides—for use in magic lanterns, a 19th century forerunner of the slide projector—depicting social, economic, and industrial life in Ireland in the late 1800s and 1900s. We also hold a large, publicly-accessible photographic archive, which includes copies of major collections held elsewhere, such as the Annesly, Young, and Langham collections.

The photographic collections also chart the development of photography itself. Our oldest photographs are daguerrotypes and calotypes from the dawn of the medium. We hold a collection of cameras, magic lanters, and photographic equipment, dating from the 1850s onwards.

Searchable list of collections

20588 items found.
View 
 Items per page
If no image shows this may be due to copyright restrictions. Please contact picture.library@nmni.com who will be happy to help.
'Allies Memorial'

'Allies Memorial'

slide from lecture derived from Jim Maultsaid's War Book showing veterans at Allies memorial at Theipval; numbered 3/4...

Swamp at Thiepval

Swamp at Thiepval

slide from lecture derived from Jim Maultsaid's War Book showing the swamp at Thiepval forest, with a shell bursting and two soldiers in right foregro...

'Trench Warfare on the Somme 1915-16' 'Up With Soup'

'Trench Warfare on the Somme 1915-16' 'Up With Soup'

slide from lecture derived from Jim Maultsaid's War Book showing cartoon signed J. Maultsaid 1917; published in 'The Incinerator' RIR regimental magaz...

Photograph

Photograph

subject : View of rose trials in Lambeg;Condition : good...

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

subject : series of slides of Belfast Abbatoir, Stewart Street, made by A.R. Hogg for Dr. O'Neill. Slides produced on 27 November 1913: Slide 1, forei...

Photographic negative and contact

Photographic negative and contact

St Columba's Youth Club. Boy leaning on a chair while others play table tennis. Technical Data: TRI-X 400 ASA D76....

35mm slide

35mm slide

Redecorating VSB (Voluntary Service Belfast), 56 Lisburn Road. One boy painting the bannister blue....

35mm slide

35mm slide

Women Together childrens Hallowe'en party, Whitehead (children from Newtownabbey). Children having drinks and fruit snacks....

Photographic negative and contact

Photographic negative and contact

Eva Flood and family. Marked image. Mother sitting on an armchair in front of the television. Technical Data: TRI-X 400 ASA D76....

Photographic negative and contact

Photographic negative and contact

Hartington Street Playscheme (VSB). Marked image. Girl looking at the camera. Technical Data: TRI-X 400 ASA D76....

35mm slide

35mm slide

VSB (Voluntary Service Belfast) Playbus No. 2 Woodvale. Children on the playbus....

35mm slide

35mm slide

VSB (Voluntary Service Belfast) Playbus No. 2 Woodvale. Child going down the slide in the playbus....

35mm slide

35mm slide

Child on a playbus....

35mm slide

35mm slide

Women Together childrens Hallowe'en party, Whitehead (children from Newtownabbey). Photograph of a bonfire....

Photographic negative and contact

Photographic negative and contact

At home with John Lawlor and family. Marked image. Boy building a plane in living room with two others watching. Technical Data: PANATOMIC-X 32 ASA D7...

Photographic negative and contact

Photographic negative and contact

London Peace Rally. Bottom of Nelson's Column with a banner reading 'Northern Irish Peace'. Technical Data: PLUS-X 125 ASA D76....

Photographic negative and contact

Photographic negative and contact

St Columba's Youth Club. Marked image. Boys playing table tennis. Technical Data: TRI-X 1600 ASA D76....

35mm slide

35mm slide

VSB (Voluntary Service Belfast) Playbus No. 2 Woodvale. Boy looking at toys, a lorry and holding a blue box....

Photographic negative and contact

Photographic negative and contact

London Peace Rally. Marked image. Focus on clergyman talking. Technical Data: PLUS-X 125 ASA D76....

35mm slide

35mm slide

Women Together childrens Hallowe'en party, Whitehead (children from Newtownabbey). Close up of children playing and laughing....

35mm slide

35mm slide

Women Together childrens Hallowe'en party, Whitehead (children from Newtownabbey). Photograph of a bonfire....