A photo exhibition by Ross O’Callaghan became the talk of the town in New York on St Patrick’s Day. The Dublin photographer and filmmaker staged two shows of ‘Paddy Portraits’ in Manhattan for Ireland’s national feast day. The exhibitions at Lume Studios, Tribeca and outdoors on Pershing Square Plaza, in front of Grand Central Station, run until March 22.
They feature portraits of 50 men named Paddy, Pat and Patrick, Padraig and Padraic of all ages and from all walks of life. The idea for the project was formed when O’Callaghan met award-winning architect Paddy Bradley in 2013 during filming for Channel 4’s Grand Designs, which Bradley later went on to win. “That’s not a typical Paddy,” thought O’Callaghan.
Bradley, a part-time farmer who designed and built a shipping container home on his land, saw his work recognised as Kevin McCloud’s all-time favourite design of the 20-year TV series. O’Callaghan’s idea kept forming and on St Patrick’s Day 2021, he and his partners Roisin Keown and Peter Snodden at the Brill Building creative agency launched a campaign.
They issued a call-out for men named Paddy, Pat, Padraig, Patrick etc to get in touch. Their aim was to showcase the diversity of the contemporary Irish male and challenge the global stereotype of the ‘Irish Paddy’ through a collection of portraits. Now, more than 500 applicants later, the Paddy Irishman team has finally opened its exhibitions in New York.
The series comprises a cross-section of Irish men and promotes a narrative of contemporary Ireland. It challenges the idea that there’s any such thing as ‘a typical Paddy’ and questions assumptions around what it means to be Irish and male. The invite for the project came from the New York City Department Of Transport and the Grand Central Partnership.
Among the Paddies featured are comedian and TV personality, Patrick Kielty; Dublin make-up artist Patrick Blue; golfer Padraig Harrington; Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes; film director Paddy Breathnach; architect Paddy Bradley; Nigerian-born actor, Patrick Martins (pictured); racehorse owner Paddy Kehoe and Birmingham Six survivor Paddy Hill.
To book your ticket, go to https://mii.ie/dmx/