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Born 1945 (Dublin)

John Minihan (born Dublin 1946) is one of Ireland’s most celebrated photographers, famous for literary portraits and landscapes. His friendship with Samuel Beckett produced some of the most remarkable photographs ever taken of the writer.1

Bio & Career

John Minihan was born in Dublin in 1946 and raised in Athy, County Kildare. At the age of 12 he was brought to live in London, and went on to become an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail.  At 21 he became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. For thirty years he remained in London, returning every year to his hometown of Athy to record the people and their daily lives.

In between documenting Athy on visits home, Minihan continued his career on Fleet Street, which included the iconic snap of a 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in the garden of the nursery she worked at, the morning sun to her back, her legs in silhouette through her skirt.

Over the years Minihan developed a close relationship with many writers and his photographs of Samuel Beckett show a particular affinity between the two men. William Burroughs once referred to Minihan as “a painless photographer”.

His friendship with Samuel Beckett produced some of the most remarkable photographs ever taken of the writer.

Among his numerous photographic publications are Photographs: Samuel Beckett (1995); Shadows from the Pale, Portrait o f an Irish Town (1996); and An Unweaving of Rainbows, Images of Irish Writers, 1996.

He is currently a freelance photographer specialising in ‘the arts’. His book of photographs of Samuel Beckett was published in 1995. His photographs of Athy have been exhibited throughout the world. He was given the freedom of Athy in 1990.

Minihan’s many exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world include the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 1984; Centre George Pompidou, Paris 1986; the National Portrait Gallery, London 1987/8 and the October Gallery, London 1990 as well as the Guinness Hop Store, Dublin 1991.2


Appears in

  • 1995, Samuel Beckett – Photographs by John Minihan, Secker & Warburg
  • 1996, Shadows from the Pale – Portrait of an Irish Town, Martin Secker & Warburg Limited
  • 1998, An Unweaving of Rainbows – Images of Irish Writers, Souvenir Press Ltd.
  • 2004, John Minihan’s Cork, Robert Hale

External links & References