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Paula T Nolan

Born 1959, September 29, Dublin, Ireland

Paula T Nolan is an Artist & Documentary Photographer and Graphic Designer based in Dublin, Ireland. Her work has been exhibited by The Paul Kane Gallery, the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and Farmleigh Gallery, amongst others, and several photographs have been purchased for the State Art Collection. 

Her work covers the artistic and the documentary, with much of her artistic imagery inspired by a lifetime’s interest in painting. Her documentary photography is greatly influenced by the Jesuit, Francis Browne, and among her documentary photo projects are numerous about Jesuit life. Paula shot and published twenty replica photographs for the book ‘Wandering Wicklow with Father Browne’, edited by Robert O’Byrne – a book of Wicklow photographs by Francis Browne. Her essay on this replica photographs project is included in the book.


Appears in

  • 2020, Edited by Robert O’Byrne, Wandering Wicklow with Father Browne, Dublin: Messenger Publications, 97817881226891234
  • 2014, The Jesuit Community in Leeson Street 2013, Dublin: self-published for Jesuit Archives5

Awards and honours

  • 2021, Shortlisted, Biodiversity Photography Award, Ireland 6


Solo exhibitions

  • 2021, Double Exposure, Paul Kane, Irish Architectural Archives, Dublin, Ireland, (7 October – 16 October). This was in fact a two-person exhibition, the other photographer being Michael Corrigan.7

Group exhibitions

  • 2014, End of Year Show, Institute of Photography, La Catedral Studios, Dublin, Ireland, (14 June – 15 June)
  • 2016, Portraits of a Nation, Jacquie Moore OPW, Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, (8 April – 29 May)
  • 2016, Portraits of a Nation, Jacquie Moore OPW, The Main Guard, Tipperary, Ireland, (October)
  • 2018, 188th RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA, RHA Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, (23 May – 11 August)
  • 2019, 189th RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA, RHA Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, (21 May – 24 July)
  • 2020, Life in Still Life, OPW & Dep. Finance N.Ireland, Counties Down, Antrim, Galway, Dublin, Ireland, (January – June)
  • 2021, 191th RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA, RHA Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, (27 September – 12 December)
  • 2022, 192th RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA, RHA Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, (24 May – 24 July)


  • Home (2013) 

An attempt to show familiar images and objects from childhood that resonate with memories of my mother’s alcoholism, and a child’s experience of that. Made into a slide show with the long title, ‘My Ship of Dreams is a haunted ship / that I sail when the moon rides low / for my dreams have suffered complete neglect / and I don’t want the moon to know.’


  • The Jesuit Community in Leeson Street (2013-2014) 

The polished hallways and evidence of community living that will very soon be a thing of the past. I was given permission to spend many days wandering around this community dwelling called the ‘House of Writers’, for the Jesuits based in Leeson Street, Dublin. This is a huge project that captured the individuals in the community in formal portraits, the architecture of the building, the Jesuit Archives housed in Leeson Street and a sense of daily life in the community.


  • Dad (2013-2016) 

The undertaker gave us a candle with our father’s name on it which I kept and still have, and light on Christmas Day. The first photo shows it on the windowsill of my father’s house as we are working to empty it and put it up for sale. This project includes before/after photos – the rooms when he still inhabited them, and afterwards as we cleared them out.


  • Dad Is Gone (2013-2016) 

This differs from the DAD project in that it attempts to put together images that give a sense of the fleeting glance, the things we see but hardly bother to store, yet resonate hugely with hindsight: the odd view into a room every time we descent the stairs; the receding back of someone we love as they leave the kitchen. Caught over the final years of my father’s life, they can touch the heart in ways a formal portrait cannot.


  • Lock Keeper’s Cottage Renovation Project (2017-2018) 

The Adventure Project is an independent non-profit organisation delivering collaborative therapeutic programs and outdoor education experiences for young people who have experienced difficulties in life. In November 2017 The Adventure Project began the renovation of the Lock Keeper’s cottage at Newcomen Bridge, North Strand, Dublin 3. Willie Whelan is the spirit that guides this project, and he gave me the freedom to take photos of the renovation over the many months it took to complete. Much of the work was done by the young people themselves, and it is fair to say it made this project a lot of fun.


  • Jesuit Novitiate, Manresa, Birmingham (2018) 

This resembles the previous project on the Jesuits in Leeson Street, though is less about the individuals, and more about community living and capturing the old corridors, nooks and crannies of this building only months before major renovations. 


  • 100 DAYS OF WALKING SKIES (2020) 

All these photos were taken between 1st January and 100 days later, in 2020. Each day I took sky photos, each day with the same ultra wide angle lens, the plan being to literally walk from darkness into light, from winter in to spring. Little did we know it would be from the world as we know it, into a brand new Covid world.

  • Father Browne: Wicklow (2020) 

The journey through Wicklow with Father Browne began with a simple idea: why not recreate some of his iconic photographs to show how places had changed over time. With Robert O’Byrne, editor of ‘Wandering Wicklow with Father Browne’, a decision was made to recreate twenty of the photographs in this book. 

A review –

‘Just to say the book arrived. Thank you, it’s a delight. Nicely designed and you kept up the standard of the original shots very well. It’s a very pleasing turn-the-page book. Glad to have it.’ — Eoghan Nolan, Think & Son and Brand Artillery, 22 October 2020.81011


  • Project FLOATING (2020-21) 

These photographs are all taken along a stretch of the Royal Canal between Sheriff Street and Drumcondra. During the winter of 2020-2021, my heart was broken. Walking with the camera was perhaps the only relief to be had from this hurt. I found myself drawn towards images that would be beautiful if only they hadn’t been hurt themselves, polluted, disrespected and betrayed. It took a long journey through a dark winter, into spring, then summer, before I was able to see pure nature without the pollution that had hitherto so endeared itself to me. The images travel that journey. Two limited edition photographs from this project were exhibited in The Paul Kane Gallery Christmas Exhibition, 2021.


  • SYD BLUETT: Before I Wither Away

Syd Bluett, well-known sign writer, graphic designer and man about town, decided to explore his naked body through the medium of photography ‘before it withered away’. These are not sexual images, rather a goodbye to a body he intuitively knows is about to adopt the signs of ageing. Neither is it a vanity project. Syd let me, the photographer, do as I wished with it and the result is a project that is ongoing in terms of what will become of it. It is not featured on my website as yet.


  • TOM MATHEWS: A Year in the Life

Only just commenced, this project is with a book in mind. Tom Mathews is a well-known cartoonist, and we have been friends for decades. Tom turns 70 in October, and plans a retrospective exhibition and a party on Inis Oirr. My hope is between now and then to document Tom at home, out and about, and finally on Inis Oirr. This project is obviously ongoing, and not on my website yet.


  • After Caravaggio: Light in the Dark

A solo exhibition in the planning stages with The Paul Kane Gallery for late 2023, or early 2024.