Dr. Bill O' Gorman, from WIT, speaking about this site on WLR

Friday, August 14, 2009

Annie Brophy: the first female photographer

Annie Brophy went to school at the Mercy Convent and was singled out as a student with an artistic flair. She began to train as a photographer in the early 1900s with Mr Hughes of Manor Street, who was a prominent photographer in the region. At the time, photography was an unusual career for a female and when she finished her studies with Mr Hughes, Annie became the only professional female photographer in Waterford and possibly in Ireland.

In 1922, Annie established her own studios at 9 Barker Street in Waterford City. Her brother Billy assisted her at the studio. During her career Annie took thousands of photographs, mainly of Waterford people. Almost every home in Waterford City has as least one Brophy image, usually beautiful portraits of family occasions such as Christenings, First Communions, Confirmations and Weddings.

Annie Brophy is remembered fondly in Waterford as a photographer who truthfully documented the city's everyday life. She was born in Johnstown in Waterford City in 1899. Her father Michael was born in Co. Kilkenny and her mother Hannah was born in Co. Cork. Her father was a constable in the RIC. Annie had two sisters called Margaret and Isabella, and four brothers called Thomas, Andrew, Michael and Billy.

Annie Brophy retired in 1978 after a very long and successful career, which had spanned five decades. Following her retirement, she moved to 22 Morley Terrace in the city. She died on Friday 21 November 1986, aged eighty-seven years. In 2005, Waterford City Council purchased Annie Brophy's collection of over 60,000 negatives. These are deposited in the City Archives. There are several public exhibitions of Annie's photographs each year. The Annie Brophy Collection, with its wide-ranging photographs of Waterford's people and buildings, tells us many important things about the social history of twentieth-century Waterford.

1 comment:

John Barry said...

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