TV Honan is famous as a can-do person in the arts, a fixer, a creator of opportunity and most of all, a deliverer of quality projects. His work with the early Red Kettle grew in maturity and his business sense brought Spraoi to an international audience and in the process changed the face of entertainment and accessible theatre in Waterford. He is admired by many and I too admire him greatly for his wellsprings of enthusiasm and his legendary ability to talk people into more involvement than they thought possible.
Now as he enters another phase in his life, his own creativity comes into focus with a wonderful exhibition of photographs – A Year In The Night Of Waterford, where 52 photographs and captions, by way of the subjects comments, opens up a narrative about people who work in Waterford at night, providing essential services away from the obvious glare of publicity. In one sense, they are ordinary people doing routine ordinary jobs, but through the mediated lens of TV Honan, the visual and emotive content is far greater than any one image.
There is hardly any tricksy photography, except a stunning grainy shot of Mick O’Keeffe of Electric Avenue, but this show will resonate like Annie Brophy’s work does in Waterford. This is a visual poem about out city, from sweepers, milkmen, furnace men, taxi drivers, ambulance crew, fire-fighters, late-night djs, a helicopter pilot and an electrician who raises Rice Bridge.
Christ Church Cathedral have a hit on their hands by mounting this exhibition, that sings out, rings out, with authenticity. The subjects comments add to the story and what struck me most of all was the happiness on show. No moody set-ups, but lots of real and ordinary situations.
I loved the knowing and a little weary face of Barry Manto, taxi-driver, the happy smile of Martin Murray, street cleaner or the grin of Roy Collins, fire-fighter. The theatre images appealed to me. Michael Oates, a Garter Lane technician doing a set-up or get-out. James Whelan, actor, getting into character.
Pat Maher, a Bausch & Lomb utility operator, all gowned up on a shift of 300 people who produce 40,000 lens a shift. There’s the ambulance crew of Con Murphy and Michael Fanning, ready and waiting for action and the newly poignant image of Herbie Berger, at Waterford Crystal, on the job that is now history.
In its own way, this TV Honan exhibition is already a part of history, hanging on a wall to evoke memories.