Cafe Royal Books release weekly publications, focussing on post-war documentary photography linked to Britain and Ireland. This includes the work of photographers from all backgrounds, the widely known, the unseen and the underrepresented. Much of the work published, regardless of the maker, is previously unpublished. Each book focuses on a single body of work, and each book is part of the larger, extensive series. As a series they provide a valuable resource into cultural and social shifts in Britain and Ireland. So far there are over 500 books in the series, subjects are wide and varied and include folk customs, protest, mining and industry, general documentation of a place or city, architectural change, music culture, politics and religion.
Café Royal Books (founded 2005) is an independent publisher based in the North West of England.
All books are softcover, staple bound, 20 x 14 cm
30 years on from taking these photographs, a lot has changed, the Belfast and Good Friday Agreements, power sharing and a return to peaceful coexistence. However the pursuit of Brexit and the fantasy of a return to pre-colonial greatness gave the hard line members of the DUP an opportunity they could not resist. Those who pursued the Brexit project either were completely ignorant of politics and the history of Northern Ireland or they simply did not care that an equilibrium that had begun to exist could be sacrificed to their plan. The DUP threatening to collapse the executive over the Northern Ireland Protocol, the economy under severe strain and the Loyalist Communities Council, the body representing loyalist paramilitaries withdrew their support for the Good Friday Agreement. It doesn’t feel as if there is a lot to celebrate.
I am not a news photographer, there are many of my colleagues who have pursued that profession with much greater and success than I. Even though on occasion I had covered some news events, my concern has always been to document the often quiet and unreported insignificant moments that make up the day to day lived experiences of ordinary people living through extraordinary times.
Ardoyne was an overwhelmingly Republican area with about 11,000 inhabitants surrounded on three sides loyalist / unionist areas. It was an area with a history of violent attacks by loyalist paramilitaries, the British army and the police. The area had a militia mentality dictated by its geography. Ardoyne was surrounded and people had to stand up for themselves because no one else was going to look out for them. Ninety nine residents of Ardoyne died at the hand of the RUC, British Army or loyalist paramilitary groups in the 30 years of the Troubles.