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NOT SURRENDERING - PHOTO BOOK LAUNCH
EXHIBITIONS & PRESENTATIONS

Visiting Belfast for the first time in 2010 to begin research on the post-conflict society of Northern Ireland, what I discovered went far beyond my imagination.

The first things that come to mind when recalling the conflict in Northern Ireland are Bloody Sunday and the Omagh bombing. For many of us, this is associated with a distant past. However, for the residents of Ulster, ‘The Troubles’ continue as a daily reality; the locals function in an environment struggling with the trans generational trauma caused by over 30 years of conflict that officially ended in 1998.

This led to my visual storytelling long term project entitled Not Surrendering. Among many other forms of recognition, this project won the National Geographic Photo Contest in Poland, UK & Ireland. To bring this decade-long project to a close, I published a photo book.

 

Order your copy

To order Not Surrendering photo book
please visit my online shop at
Between Pictures Project page here.

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Four generations of a loyalist family against the backdrop of a bonfire structure prepared in honour of the island’s capture by the English.

Not Surrendering brings us closer to an almost completely unknown social group marginalised by British politicians, the royal family, and mainstream media for various reasons. Through years of observation and determination as well as the patient winning of trust in a very closed community, a unique image of everyday life among British loyalists has emerged.

The photo book, Not Surrendering tells a visual story specifically about the struggle of loyalists to shape a distinct identity in post-conflict Northern Ireland. The documentary narrative introduces us to the daily lives of the local British working-class as well as members of its illegal paramilitary groups. Recognised as terrorist organizations until recently, these associations still carry weight, sow fear, and control Northern Ireland’s Ulster.

By focusing on the spaces which the book’s subjects inhabit, aspects of their daily lives, and the particularities of their neighbourhoods separated by ominous ‘peace walls,’ my photography brings to the fore the psychological state of siege which permeates working-class districts in Northern Ireland. The story also spotlights the atmosphere of despair which accompanies each successive generation – trapped socially and mentally in unprocessed traumas from which it cannot escape.

 

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An Irish Republican child fighting with the PSNI rioting police at the street of Belfast.

The aim of this photo book is to increase awareness and knowledge about processes of reconciliation in post-conflict societies that are divided territorially, politically, nationally, and religiously. The story this volume tells highlights the difficulties NGO and other grassroots projects face while working with difficult youth from families deeply involved in the conflict.
The photographic images illustrate the tensions arising during celebrations of national identity, during which especially members of paramilitary groups openly fan the flames of hatred towards their neighbours. This directly affects the indoctrination of the youngest who actively participate in numerous events of this type, leading often to recruitment of young people into paramilitary associations or organised criminal groups.

This year of 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement formally ending the violence in Northern Ireland. This is, therefore, an ideal moment to underscore the importance of the time required to restore social stability in post-conflict regions.

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Young loyalist at the UDA part of The Village district in Belfast.

British minors playing with Irish tricolour flags around bonfire. Irish flags will be placed on top of dozens of bonfires together with election posters of Irish politicians and Republicans banners, to be burned during 11th night celebration.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

The photo book format is 25x19 cm, hard cover, and printed on high quality paper; lay flat Swiss bookbinding technique will allow the beholder to enjoy photographs across a double-page spread. The album contained 96 photographs and 168 pages. It's first and limited edition of 300 copies.

The introduction has been written by journalist and writer, Malachi O’Doherty; the photographs were edited by Régina Monfort, an independent photography and visual book editor experienced with long-form narratives. The book has been designed by Iwona El-Tanbouli Jabłońska who is the art director of National Geographic Poland and co-founder of F11 Studio, also print management was done by Leszek Marcinkowski and production was coordinated by Maciek Jabłoński from F11 Studio.

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An ultra-Loyalist part of the centre of Belfast plunged into clouds of smoke and a smoldering fire: a bonfire structure of about 1,000 pallets was torched by Irish Republicans over two weeks before the 12th of July commemorations.

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Only a seweral pro-Brexit members of the public gathered at the front gates of Stormont Parliament Buildings for a 'Brexit Celebration' event at 11pm. In referendum, England and Wales voted to leave but London, Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to stay. As a result the overwhelmingly majority of Irish nationalists voted to remain in the EU while Ulster loyalists voted to leave. Most of the loyalists and british illegal paramilitaries called the Boris Johnson deal with EU, with border at the Irish sea as "Betrayal act".

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Social houses at the Loyalistst community neighbourhood, days before 11th July bonfire. The fire is extremely hot even dozens of meters away from the bonfire, every year local council secure thousands of doors and windows to avoid plastic frames from melting.

Awards & nominations

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Galleries, Organizers and Festivals

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Exhibition Media Partners, interviews & reviews.

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Where to buy my book

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