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Photo Museum Ireland

Kingdom of Hounds by Tony O'Shea (Limited special edition with print)

Kingdom of Hounds by Tony O'Shea (Limited special edition with print)

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Kingdom of Hounds by Tony O'Shea, signed copy. 

‘O’Shea combines the approach of a poetic European documentary tradition – an empathetic, if at times almost Beckettian sense of the absurd – with an anthropologist’s eye for social realities. In these hard-hitting, eloquent pictures he has captured the many complexities of a country undergoing profound change, at the same time, securing for himself a key place in the canon of Irish photography.’ – Photo Museum Ireland

Coming early 2023, RRB Photobooks is delighted to present Kingdom of Hounds, a new publication from documentary photographer Tony O’Shea.

Born in 1947 in County Kerry, Ireland, O’Shea set out to return annually to his home county to pursue the Kerry Beagle drag hunt.

Kerry beagles, one of the oldest native Irish dog breeds, are bred as hunters and trained by the local huntsmen. As strong a presence in the images as they are in the community, throughout the book the Kerry beagles demonstrate their hardy bloodlines. The hounds plunge into strong river currents, soar over high hedges and rough terrains, not once taking their mind off the task at hand.

Shot over 30 years, the huntsmen photographed are O’Shea’s neighbours and friends, giving him a unique perspective on the community that an outsider would never achieve. Living in County Kerry, they are shaped by the harsh landscape in which they reside. Many of the huntsmen come from families who have been breeding and training hounds for generations and the rivalries between neighbouring hunts have been around for just as long.

Regarded as one of Ireland’s most important contemporary photographic artists, Tony O’Shea is interested in capturing the deeper truth to how people live. This is prevalent in Kingdom of Hounds, where O’Shea offers a locals perspective into the intricacies of the County Kerry hunt. Through gruelling weather, competitive tensions and celebrations, O’Shea’s delicate photography shows us the intimate moments of a community coming together to continue this deeply rooted tradition.

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