Can You Identify the Unknown Photographer?
Mysterious case donated to Red Barn Gallery – view photographs taken in Belfast circa 1930-1940 including image of 'Moshulu' ship featured in The Godfather
When Red Barn Gallery founder, Frankie Quinn, put the phone down, his heart dropped. Queen's University student Andrew J Woollock, whose exhibition of photographs taken in Japan and Belfast exploring 'the plurality of collective narratives and visual storytelling', entitled Project ema, was cancelled, with less than a week to go until opening night.
Red Barn Gallery's door is always open, however, and thankfully omitted Belfast resident Joanna McKibbin the very next day, who arrived carrying a case full of black and white photographs which had been gathering dust in her mother's loft for many years. The man or woman behind the collection was unknown, but the images spoke for themselves. Quinn's heart soared – the day was saved!
Now opening on March 5, 2015, as part of the Late Night Art initiative and running throughout the remainder of the month, the Red Barn Gallery's forthcoming as yet untitled exhibition features 28 images retrieved from the case. Below is a selection of photographs taken in Belfast and the surrounding areas, which Quinn was able to date to the 1930s and 40s following yet another fortuitous occurrence.
'A few days after seeing the collection, which contained a photograph of two men putting a lick of paint on a ship named 'Moshulu', I was watching the film The Godfather and noticed the 'Moshulu' bringing a young Vito Corelone to Ellis Island,' Quinn reveals. 'I looked it up online and saw that it had been docked in Belfast Harbour in 1938 before sailing to Australia. It was later used in various films, the most famous of which is undoubtedly Francis Ford Coppola's mafia masterpiece.'
As ever, Quinn is determined to discover the origins of the photographs, and hopes that the Northern Irish public will be able to provide information as to the identity of the photographer in question. Contact Quinn via the Red Barn Facebook page, or visit the gallery on Rosemary Street, Belfast.