In Source 102 I review Enda Bowe’s ‘Love’s Fire Song’, currently on exhibition in the Gallery of Photography:
“In undoing the ideological differences between the two ‘sides’ in Northern Ireland, in order to put the focus on the ‘emotional narrative’, Bowe ultimately reinforces commonality over diversity. It’s an approach interestingly at odds with the official culture in which these post-adolescents live, a Northern Ireland which functions politically (when it functions) through the explicit acknowledgement and institutionalisation of differences of identity, rather than their commonality. ‘Love’s Fire Song’ is, then, a challenge (and perhaps a challenge to our current understanding of Northern Ireland) asking if it’s possible to see only, or primarily, the universally human – via portraiture – through the noise of culture. Admirable for its empathy, its patience, its palette, and its conceptualisation, ‘Love’s Fire Song’ is a kind of photographic ‘Normal People’ for contemporary Northern Ireland, grounded in a central assertion that there is drama and universal truth in the quotidian, even when that quotidian is culturally specific, contentious, and ideologically-charged.”
See the Source website here for more details.