Butler Gallery is seeking proposals from photographers who would like to participate in a financially supported residency newly established as part of the gallery’s Learning and Public Engagement Programme. The Gypsy Ray Social Documentary Photographic Residency is intended to support photographers towards the production of a new body of work based on the principles of social documentary in their photographic practice.

The Residency
This residency opportunity is open to Irish photographers who have an interest in documenting the environments and communities in which they live, work and socialize, or which they otherwise observe. Social documentary has a basis in the ‘familiar’ and is often credited as expressing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Practitioners of documentary photography offer us alternative ways of seeing the lives of our fellow citizens and the society or environment of which we are part. While there is neither a brief nor a prescriptive desired approach for this residency applicants are encouraged to articulate their role as a documentarian or agent of expression within the local communities or the environments with which they would like to engage.

The residency will take place over the course of three consecutive weeks in September 2021. Butler Gallery will loan relevant cameras and equipment to the successful candidate for the first two weeks during which a new body of photographic work can be produced in the candidate’s chosen community or environs. The final week of the residency will consist of the development of these images within the darkroom at Butler Gallery. It is anticipated that the successful candidate will participate in a public presentation / discussion based on the residency project.

Residency offer to photographers

  • €1,500 fee inclusive of travel and accommodation.
  • Use of Hasselblad 501c single lens reflex camera, including Hasselblad Zeiss Planar C2.8/80mm lens and CF 4/50mm lens.
  • Use of extensive array of Butler Gallery darkroom equipment including Omega ProLab 2 4x5 Enlarger.
  • Access to Butler Gallery Learning Centre resources.

Residency dates
The successful photographer must be available to carry out the residency project over a three week period in September 2021.

How to Apply
Applications should be sent via email to the Learning and Public Engagement Interim Curator, Alan Kirwan at [email protected] no later than 5pm on 31st July 2021. Applications should include an up-to-date CV, an artist’s statement, 5-10 images of previous work and a brief synopsis of subject matter/thematic content to be photographed during the residency (no more than 500 words).



About Gypsy Ray
A native of Illinois, USA, Gypsy Ray (1949-2020) studied drawing and photography at the University of Iowa later receiving her Masters degree in photography from Goddard College. Most of her U.S.A. based photographic work was created in California where her series based on The Male Nude and her later work with the San Francisco Aids Foundation and San Francisco Hospice received national and international attention. Resident in Ireland since 2000 she continued her documentary practice through creative engagements with local Camphill communities and with Traveller communities in County Kilkenny. Her work is to be found in many public and private collections including Permanent Collections, (U.S. Library of Congress), The Wellcome Trust Gallery (British Museum) and the David Kronn Collection (Irish Museum of Modern Art).


The Gypsy Ray Social Documentary Photography Residency has been made possible with the support of Mary L. Ray and Steve Berlinski.

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