Sunday, 1 April 2012


Who would have thought that one photo of a young boy would lead to a world of fame? Michael Kenneally has been seen the world over, though he's never left home...

Famous photographer captured Co Clare's rural life in iconic images

New award-winning documentary about Dorothea Lange to be screened in Ireland

By Staff Writer

Published Sunday, April 1, 2012, 7:42 AM

Michael Kenneally in his home today near Inagh.

At 81, Michael Kenneally, has rarely left his native Co Clare and has never been out of the country, but a famous picture of him as a young man has traveled all over the world.

Snapped by American photographer Dorothea Lange in 1954 for 'Life' magazine, Mr Kenneally, from Inagh, Co Clare, clearly remembers the day the photograph was taken.

"She was passing on the road and she came up and just asked me if she could take my picture," he told the Irish Independent.

Mr Kenneally, who was 24 at the time, was living in the family home with his mother and "doing a bit of farming."

After he married his wife Bridie, the couple moved into the house and raised their three sons -- Gerald, Pat and Michael.

Mr Kenneally was just one of a number of subjects photographed by Dorothea Lange for 'Life' magazine. The photographer, most famous for her work during The Great Depression, took more than 2,500 pictures of rural life in Co Clare, over 100 of which were published in the magazine. More images were featured in Gerry Mullins' 1996 book 'Dorothea Lange's Ireland.' The book reached number three on the bestsellers list at the time it was published.

Lange is now the subject of an award-winning documentary entitled 'Child of Giants.' The film is directed by Tom Ropelewski and is about his father-in-law Daniel Dixon and Daniel's famous parents, Lange and the painter Maynard Dixon.

Mary Leyden Kinnavane, 68, also recalls being photographed by Lange.

"I remember her well," Mrs Kinnavane, the daughter of a publican in Ennis, recalls. "She asked my two sisters to step aside because I was the plainest of the three and she wanted my picture."

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