LITTER LEGENDS & WASTE WARRIORS ASSEMBLE: Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Announce Community Award Winners

Tuesday 12th February saw volunteers gather at the 3rd annual Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Community Awards in Belfast City Hall with host, TV presenter Joe Mahon and guest speaker Jo Ruxton, filmmaker and campaigner who opened the eyes of the world to the problems of plastic in A Plastic Ocean and influenced Blue Planet II.

The evening was designed to recognise and thank all the volunteers who had been short listed for their continued hard work and dedication to the cause – with an opportunity to hear their inspirational stories which instil pride in our local communities through practical environmental action.

From regular litter picks to the creation of shared community spaces these unsung heroes dedicate their time and efforts into making our home cleaner, greener, safer and more sustainable.

The winners have carried out some remarkable work this year including addressing social isolation and loneliness among older people living in care homes by creating beautiful gardens – the only green space that some residents will see.  A keen canoeist has made a significant effect on the appearance of the waterways by removing debris and litter while a young 15 year old litter picker has collected around 100 bags of litter and even taken his litter picker on holiday. Another local hero raised over £1000 from biscuit wrappers alone for ‘Kicks Count’, a charity that promotes baby movement awareness to reduce still birth whilst one group reached out to minority groups to address language barriers by publishing an infographic pack that displays the dos and don’ts of domestic waste disposal and littering – improving community relations.

Guest Speaker Jo Ruxton encouraged volunteers to make a stand in their local communities and champion the reduction of litter: “Never underestimate just how much one single person can achieve. The problem might seem insurmountable but take that first step on your own and just watch how many people join you and help bring about change.”

Live Here Love Here Manager Jodie McAneaney comments:  “These awards are so important, they give us the opportunity to highlight the issues and reward those who are actively making a difference.  Plastic in particular has been hitting the headlines this year with its devastating effects, making our special guest Jo Ruxton the perfect candidate to inspire us to really strive for change.  The fact that every piece of plastic ever created is still on the planet is a real eye opener.  Hopefully in 2019 our continued efforts and that of our volunteers and partners can make steps towards tackling this terrible problem.”

At Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful we run a number of campaigns and programmes that embody the values of Live Here Love Here which would not be possible without the help of our dedicated volunteers.  If you would like to find out more or get involved with Live Here Love Here please visit our website; or contact


Women In Finance Awards UK 2018

The Women in Finance Awards UK took place on Wednesday (10th October 2018) and Managing Director of local business, Insight.Out, Jayne Gibson was announced as Financial Advisor of the Year in Northern Ireland.

Run by Professional Adviser, Retirement Planner and Cover publications, the Women in Financial Advice Awards celebrate the achievements of women working within the financial advice community and also the broader financial services sector.

The glamorous occasion took place at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square in London.

This latest news follows a successful year for Insight.Out Financial in which the company re-branded from GWM Solutions, relocated its business to the Holywood Road in Belfast, and increased its headcount with five new members of the team joining Insight.Out this year.

Announcing Jayne as “A well-deserved winner”, the judges commented that she is “A wholly impressive individual whom is clearly setting the benchmark very high for all advisers, not just women.”

Managing Director of Insight.Out, Jayne Gibson, comments:

“I am absolutely thrilled to be announced as Financial Advisor of the Year for Scotland and Northern Ireland, especially after our major investment and growth over the past two years, which has witnessed our Northern Ireland client base – from businesses to private individuals – dramatically increase.

Jayne Gibson with Zoe Lyons

“These awards are amongst the most prestigious in the finance industry, and the win is a huge credit to my dedicated team here at Insight.Out whom support our clients and myself every day.”


Special Preview Screening of Johnny English Strikes Again At Movie House Dublin Road

Excited families and a host of well-known faces were spied at Movie House Dublin Road on Sunday 30th September 2018, as they attended a special preview screening of Johnny English Strikes Again.

Guests and their families, who included BBC Radio Ulster’s Ralph McLean, model and blogger Lucy Evangelista, and MMA Judo athlete Leah McCourt, enjoyed a spy-themed reception before a first look at the movie.

Johnny English Strikes Again is the third installment of the Johnny English comedy series, with Rowan Atkinson returning as the much-loved accidental secret agent.

The movie opens to the public on Friday 5th October 2018.

Lauren Child: ‘If we don’t take risks and fail, we will never make anything spectacular.’

Lauren Child MBE visited Queen’s University Belfast for the first time in honour of the UK Children’s Laureate for a special BookTrust Northern Ireland event on Friday 21stSeptember 2018.

Perhaps best known for her book series, Charlie and Lola, Child was also joined by children’s book illustrator, Bruce Ingman and Children’s Writing Fellow, Myra Zepf.

The 3 literacy enthusiasts enjoyed a lively discussion on creativity chaired by BBC Radio Ulster presenter, Marie-Lousie Muir.

Speaking at the BookTrust NI event Lauren Child said: “We need to be able to fail in our lives.  If we don’t take risks and fail, we will never make anything spectacular. I also think boredom and staring into space must be allowed.  These spaces are the beginning of the imagination.”

The authors and illustrators discussed the best types of literature to share with children to encourage them to read and the joy that reading and creativity can bring to children’s lives.

Myra Zepf, Northern Ireland Children’s Writing Fellow on inspiring a love of reading: “When trying to inspire a love of reading, those children who don’t want to read can be the most interesting. I hope this event helped shine a spotlight on the challenges of cultivating creativity in children’s lives – something we are arguably more in need of than ever.”

Children’s author and illustrator Bruce Ingman said: “Give a child some paint and a brush and see the pure joy it brings. They let us into their world, how exciting is that? I’ve learned so much from reading and drawing with kids.” 

Liz Canning, Head of BookTrust Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted Lauren Child made a special visit to Northern Ireland as The Waterstones Children’s Laureate. We hope this BookTrust hosted event helped inspire families and practitioners in Belfast to get reading and get creative!”


Radiance Skincare Range Launch

Radiance Beauty & Day Spa in Finaghy, Belfast has recently launched its own signature skincare product range. The range has been developed by proprietor Christine Mackin and a team of dermatologists, & pharmacists to ensure a clinically proven range of products with multiple active ingredients, tailor made for different skin types.

For further coverage of this event see our November issue on sale this Friday!


Try The Spa Experience By Better First Hand


If you want to try the Spa Experience By Better first hand, be sure to check out their Ulster Tatler Readers’ Event on 6th April (from 6-9pm), where guests can sample a range of free mini treatments, receive shopping discounts on retail products and future bookings (up to 30%), as well as a glass of Prosecco and canapés. Spaces are limited, so to secure your place, simply email: putting ‘Ulster Tatler’ in the subject bar. 

Spa Experience by Better, Boucher Road, Belfast. Tel: 07483031864.


Ulster Tatler’s Kellie Burch samples pure pampering perfection at the Spa Experience By Better, located within the new Olympia Leisure Centre complex in Belfast.

When you think of Belfast’s Boucher Road, tranquil retreat does not automatically spring to mind. However, nestled within the uber modern, state-of the-art new Olympia Leisure Complex, is the Spa Experience By Better, the ultimate getaway from everyday hustle and bustle.

I was recently very lucky to be invited along to sample what delights the Spa Experience By Better has to offer. I was warmly welcomed by the professional staff at reception and provided with a robe, towel and flip flops, presented in a lovely ‘Spa Experience’ tote, then shown to the Spa’s changing area. The space is stylish with modern showers, a hair-drying station and lockers to securely leave your belongings.

Once changed, I was given a tour of the impressive Thermal Suite. I decided to alternate the different hot and cold experiences, starting with a visit to the super relaxing Sanarium, which is like a mix between a sauna and a steam room, followed by a trip to the stylish white and blue Ice Room, which has a steady supply of crushed ice to rub into your skin. It was then time to heat things up again in the Aroma Steam Room, which, with a fragrant scent, indulged all my senses. The perfect antithesis to this was the Ice Bucket Shower, which was as cold as it sounds, but was the ideal way to get my circulation pumping. My final hot experience was the sauna, which offers a lovely dry heat and left me feeling completely relaxed.

My next stop was the impeccably designed Monsoon Showers, which boast premium features including colour changing shower settings, to create an ambient atmosphere to wash away all your stress. After I worked my way through the full spectrum of the jet sprays, from warm tropical downpour to the cool water stream, it was time to try the Hydrotherapy Pool. As I got settled, the powerful jets kicked in, instantaneously pummelling any residue tension from my body; this really is heaven on earth.


After a long soak, it was time to dry out on one of the exquisite Hamman Benches. These heated tiled loungers are the quintessential way to unwind between experiences. The Hamman Benches are window facing, allowing you to watch the clouds lazily drift across the sky as you enjoy a glass of fruit infused water. I am not ashamed to admit by this stage I was so chilled out, I could have easily drifted to sleep. It was here that Isabelle, my beauty therapist for the day, found me.

After completing a treatment card, I was shown to the treatment room. With a delightful aroma of oils, combined with a chic decor, I immediately felt at ease. As I got comfortable on the heated treatment bed, I was excited to try my first treatment: the Experience Wellbeing Massage. Upon consultation, Isabelle asked me what type of a massage I preferred (I opted for destress), as well as enquired as to where I held most of my tension (my back). The signature treatment incorporates a variety of massage techniques and is designed to alleviate tension, aches and pains. Isabelle used a fragrant oil and after enquiring if the pressure was to my liking, worked her way through the knots in my back to my neck, shoulders, arms and legs; the massage, combined with the soothing heat of the bed, left me feeling serene from my head, right down to my toes.

To complete my experience, I then got to sample the Elemis Superfood Pro Radiance facial. Again, Isabelle quizzed me about any areas of concerns I had regarding my skin. I am prone to break outs and so she tailored the facial specifically to tackle this. With an enzyme exfoliator and a balancing face mask, in addition to a plethora of superfoods, this treatment provided my skin with a nutrional boost. My skin has been feeling the effects of the winter, however once Isabelle had worked her magic my skin felt smooth, soft and plumper and was noticeably brighter. That evening, the slight break out I had around my hairline had also died down considerably.

As my time in the spa came to a close, I reluctantly returned to the changing facilities to get ready to head back to reality. I have been to a few spas in my time and I can honestly say the Spa Experience By Better was definitely up there with the best of them. The facilities are stylish, state-of-the-art and designed to perfection. The staff, from reception to the beauty therapists, were ultra professional but also welcoming, attentive and engaging. After my trip to the Spa, I could feel the effects well into the next day; I felt relaxed and energised whilst my skin felt nourished, detoxified and supple. After such an impressive first visit, I know I will definitely return to Spa Experience By Better!






Carrie Neely- Arts Diary November 2016


What can I say about Culture Night? It has become one of the most legendary dates in the Belfast social calendar, not just for us creative types…artists, musicians, poets, circus performers, designers, writers, photographers, actors, street artists, pantomime horses etc (you get my drift), but for all the people from Northern Ireland and further afield to enjoy Belfast at its best.

The city was awash with colour and colourful characters lining the traffic free streets of the Cathedral Quarter, whilst music blared from every corner and entertainment was laid on for every creative taste. A huge dinner table was set along the length of Donegall Street in Belfast City Centre, as a giant vegetarian curry made from locally sourced surplus produce fed hungry revellers!

During Culture Night, I took part in a creative Q&A at Blick Studio’s, where myself and five lovely people from both the creative and business world, including the gorgeous Catherine McGuinness from Maven, were grilled about life, business and creativity and how to get that ‘balance’ (which does not seem to exist!).

I surprised myself by making some lovely mono prints at the Belfast Print Workshop with help from my lovely artist pals Karen Daye-Hutchinson and Helen Paisley. Art Loves was well and truly branded by Kaizen Brand, as was Aly McElroy, who brought her gorgeous new baby girl Tig out to play. Some amazing street artists invited by the man himself, Culture Night organiser extraordinaire and Seedhead Arts founder Adam Turkington, came from all over Ireland and the UK to work on some superb new murals for our city.

Local businesses opened their doors and their minds. Line dancers made Hay outside The Spaniard, Bill Harris Hairdressers had a live gig in between the hairdryers, and our all our best loved drag queens took center stage outside Maverick. With over 100 events, there was so much to do and see that I could not fit it all in, but after a quiet drink served by the Adams Family in Malmaison, I did end up in Villa to watch Lumen before heading off to join the long cab queues to head for home.


Within the last few years, and after the huge international success of Good Boy (their first film together), my lovely friends Conan McIvor and Michael Daly have been creating quite a buzz in the film world with awards flying in everywhere from Los Angeles to Cannes. I was invited to the premier of their latest Short called DAM, starring Conor Doran and Cillian Lenaghan which won Best Short Screenplay at the LA Independent Film Festival Awards. DAM packed out The Movie House on Dublin Road, and was of course attended by Belfast’s great and good. There were a few tears shed in the audience as we watched a very sensitive performance as Dickey and Smurf performed the young men’s ritual of getting drunk whilst meandering through their emotions and pondering life after the suicide of their best mate. DAM supported the charity Mind your Mate and Yourself with the film, and provided an insight into some of the emotional struggles that young men have. We were all invited to join the cast and crew for drinks afterwards in Marcus Ward, where I had a lovely catch up with my boys.


My three children go to Loughview Integrated Primary School, and I am always so pleased to support the Integrated Education Fund, which is a charity that works tirelessly to help our Integrated schools in Northern Ireland. So, it was with a hop and a skip that I went to watch five funny friends of the IEF entertain a huge crowd at the Ulster Hall with a one-off comedy special which raised lots of laughs, whilst raising cash for the fund’s work. Supporters of the IEF gathered before the show to enjoy a VIP reception kindly sponsored by Mervyn McCall, with wine donated by Terry Cross and Chateau de la Ligne. The evening was also sponsored by the family of late and legendary Belfast comedian Frank Carson.

“Stand Up for Integrated Education” brought top names together on stage as mentalist David Meade was joined by comedians Tim McGarry, Neil Dougan, Colin Murphy and Wendy Wason (who seriously made me laugh out loud), generously giving their time in support of the IEF.  All the performers were taking time out from their solo tours and Wendy had just finished an intensive run of 50 shows at the Edinburgh Festival. Thanking the stars for the great night of entertainment, IEF Campaign Chair Baroness May Blood said: “Separating children into different schools from the age of four is not a laughing matter, but it’s good for us to giggle, and it’s all raised valuable funds to help our work at the IEF. The charity exists to grow integrated education in response to parental demand and we couldn’t do it without our generous supporters.”

I am so excited to have been invited by Baroness Blood to attend a dinner at the House of Lords in November with my partner in crime and long-time Integrated Education campaigner and fundraiser, Christine Trueman. Now that will be a night to remember!

Carrie Neely- Arts Diary October 2016

David Hockney at The MAC

I grew up with a much loved, signed David Hockney in the Neely household and have always had a soft spot for his work, so I was very excited to hear about his exhibition in Belfast.

More than 200 people packed into Belfast’s leading arts venue, the MAC, for the highly-anticipated unveiling of this new exhibition by the iconic artist. The exhibition, which opened on August 19 and runs until mid-October, is the first significant presentation of Hockney’s work in Ireland and the excitement among art lovers at the launch was palpable.

Representatives from local government, including the Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston and Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell, mingled with invited guests from the worlds of business, culture and the arts at the event, which was addressed by Lady Dufferin, a personal friend of the artist.

Marking his 80th year, the exhibition entitled David Hockney: I draw, I do, focused on the artist’s early work including the famous ‘Paper Pool’ series, alongside work from the current decade, all of which celebrates Hockney’s interest in drawing. Hockney is a painter, printmaker, photographer and designer and much like Andy Warhol at the MAC in 2013, this collection marks another first for Belfast.  The MAC presents this Hockney exhibition in advance of the many celebrations that will happen next year.

19th August-16th October

Culture Night Launch

Art is at the heart of Culture Night, which is undoubtedly the best annual night out in Belfast for bringing people together and sharing the city centre. The roads are closed to traffic and over 100 bars, theatres, galleries and local business are filled with a riot of colour, sound, art, music, drama and circus acts. As Culture Night Programme Manager Adam Turkington says: ‘It never rains on Culture Night!”

At the Culture Night launch we were given a small glimpse of what lies ahead…pantomime horse racing, a street tea party, clowns playing brass and belly dancing to name a few. Lots of colourful characters sat on a long table in amongst sponsors, artists, press and culture night organisers, where we were served soup and bread from The Dark Horse in Culture Night mugs (which we were allowed to take home!), washed down with Club Orange.

This year food plays a massive part with a free feast on ’The Big Table’ for 5000 people in Donegall Street, supplied by supermarket surplus and sponsored by Belfast Harbour.

Last year Culture Night brought over 65,000 visitors, and an estimated 2.5 Million spend into local economy, and 2016 will smash these numbers. If you haven’t been yet…I urge you…GO GO GO!!!

16 September 2016 #CNB16 

Belfast Mela

A capacity crowd packed Belfast’s Botanic Gardens to celebrate the tenth Belfast Mela in truly global style. I brought the whole family down to enjoy the eclectic global village showcasing arts, culture and cuisine drawn from a wealth of nations, creating Northern Ireland’s largest ever celebration of diversity.

As always, the city took its magnificent Mela to its heart and good-humoured, multi-generational audiences danced, sang, shopped and ate their way around the world in one great global afternoon. Reflecting the resounding success of the most ambitious Mela Festival ever, Nisha Tandon, founder and Executive Director of award-winning ethnic arts organisation, ArtsEkta, said, “Ten years ago ArtsEkta’s founding members had a vision of an exciting inclusive festival which would bring the world to Belfast and highlight our emerging diversity.  What we could never have foreseen, as we took those early tentative steps, was just how much Mela would grow and develop.  Over our ten year history around a quarter of a million people have now enjoyed the unique Belfast Mela experience.”

The word ‘Mela’ is actually derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘meet’, which is highly appropriate as I could not turn a corner without bumping into someone I knew! Belfast Mela is enjoyed by people of all ages and from all social and ethnic backgrounds and has such an eclectic mix of entertainment…where else can you watch your kids dance to the Dohl drums, Aggro Jazz, Balkan Folk and Zulu Afro-gospel and then go and chase Chinese dragons? Brilliant day out!

Carrie Neely- Arts Diary September 2016

Jennifer Trouton RUA at ArtisAnn

Belfast’s newest gallery, ArtisAnn hosted an exhibition with a selection of paintings from ‘Ellipses’ by Jennifer Trouton RUA as part of Late Night Art Belfast (#LNAB).

Despite being in the east, far away from most of the exhibition openings, lots of lovely creative folk turned up to see the exhibition, which was inspired by the belongings left behind by two brothers that had previsouly lived in Trouton’s home in east Belfast. Amongst the items were personal journals, letters and notes, and a box of slides relating to a trip to Africa in 1981.

Christine Trueman and I arrived, just as Bronagh Lawson was jumping on her bike for the next exhibition. We were welcomed by ArtisAnne owners, Ann McVeigh and Ken Bartley before having a good chat with Jennifer about her work and I was first drawn to Jennifer’s work when I read that E L James had featured a selection of 36 small paintings entitled ‘Looking at the Overlooked’ in her best seller, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.

I have since found her paintings to be exquisite and especially loved a series called ‘Huddled Masses’. Despite her international fame and numerous awards, Jennifer has stayed in sunny Belfast and is a resident at QSS Bedford Street.


Belfast Exposed hosted the Jerwood Photworks Awards exhibition as part of its national tour for Late Night Art. The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards is a scheme that recognises outstanding new photographic talent and the exhibition featured works by Mathew Finn, Joanna Piotrowska and Teresa Zelenkova.

After Mathew Finn’s emotional portraits of his mother moved Christine Trueman to tears, we chatted to the photographer about his life growing up in Leeds. Mathew flew over for the opening, joined by Photoworks director, Celia Davies and programme curator, Mariama Attah. I was welcomed into the packed exhibition by Belfast Exposed Executive Director, Tracey Marshall-Elliott and curator Ciara Hickey and was excited to hear about the upcoming exhibition by one of my heroes of the photographer world, Magnum’s Martin Parr. Our very own Magnum photographer, Donovan Wylie was joined by his young daughter, Esma.

I had a good catch up with Arts Council’s Deirdre Robb, who brought the whole family, Michael Weir who runs the Belfast Photo Festival and Kim Mawhinney, art curator at National Museums Northern Ireland. I bumped into my gorgeous pal Orla McKeating and her boyfriend Daniel Stojcic, before heading out to my third Late Night Art exhibition of the evening. For more information go to:


Tapestry by Jamie Beard

UsFolk illustration agency presented a new exhibition on Late Night Art in association with Belfast Pride Festival 2016. ‘UsFolk Does Pride’ featured the launch of illustrator Jamie Beard’s ongoing portrait project ‘Tapestry NI’, which aims to capture a collective portrait of Northern Ireland’s LGBTQ community.

The Tapestry project aims to provide people with a platform, amplify marginalised voices, and challenge perceptions and stereotypes. Also on display was colourful new work from a wide array of local talent, based around the theme of Pride and everything relating to it. I passed the Deputy Lord Mayor, Mary Ellen Campbell on my way up to the Us Folk Studio in the old Queen Street.

The exhibition was so packed by the time we arrived that they had run out of booze, but Jeff Magill managed to find a few bottles of beer from his secret stash to keep us going.  I had a lovely chat with Mel Carroll, artist and director of Us Folk, and he introduced me to Jamie Beard, who told me he always wanted to make a statement in his work about issues relating to the LBGT community, and to challenge people perceptions. Tapestry is an ongoing project, and each portrait has a very personal story attached. I was gutted to leave before Jamie Beard got out his guitar for an impromptu jam…

More info at:

Ulster Society Of Women Artist

I was flattered to be asked to do the opening address at the Ulster Society of Women Artists 59th Annual Exhibition at the Crescent Arts Centre, but unfortunately I had to pull out last minute due to illness which I felt terrible about!

Kay Cullen, the USWA president, was very understanding and undertook the address and prize giving herself. Kay’s daughter, our own Grainne Maher was there to support her mum and all the artists exhibiting, including one of the USWA’s newest members, the gorgeous Katie Larmour who exhibited her painting ‘Rocky coast at Ramour’ and was supported by her mum Lynne Larmour.

Judith Logan, another new member, won the Lily Davies Award, and other artists that won prizes included Yvonne Williams, Blanche Pepper, Janice Lightowler, Sandra Maze, Edith McClelland, Helen Condy, Aileen Hull, Sinead Farry, and Barbara Ellison who won the Bradbury Graphics Award (my own personal favourite). Awards judges included artists Mary Doran, Frances Ryan, Gary Devon and President Kay Cullen. Also exhibiting was long standing member, and my mum’s oldest pal from art college, Pat McLaughlin who was joined by her husband Alex.

The Ulster Society of Women Artist’s ( U.S.W.A.) was founded by Gladys MacCabe MBE MA (hons) ROI RUA FRSA in 1957. It is hard to believe that at that time, there was no art society in Northern Ireland that would accept women as members. The society holds various exhibitions throughout the year and invites new members annually. Members are elected to the society on the basis of their skills as an artist, through a vigorous selection process which therefore maintains the excellent standard of work within the society.

“The Edit” At Atelier Design

Art Loves was thrilled to be involved in ‘The Edit’ – a unique lifestyle event hosted by Atelier Design which brought together interiors, fashion, art and design under one roof.

A stunning and opulent new interior design showroom in the heart of Belfast was revealed at the exclusive event, which was the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous paintings we chose to exhibit by Parisian artist Floria Otis-Rosimiro and John Kingerlee.

Atelier Design also partnered with Louise Scott Heatley from French Vintage Vie, Grainne Maher from The Vault and Muriel’s Cafe Bar to entertain their guests in their Georgian home at No.7 Wellington Place, Belfast.

French Vintage Vie showcased some delightful vintage French furniture, sourced by organizer extraordinaire Louise on a recent trip to France, the lovely Grainne Maher provided a mobile fashion show throughout the showroom showcasing a range of Irish independent label and her own signature millinery, and Muriel’s treated guests to hand made cocktails on arrival and throughout the evening.

Speaking at the launch, Victor Branco and James Fairley, Directors of Atelier Design said: “We are delighted to open yet another exciting and elegant interiors showroom space here in our newly refurbished Belfast city centre three storey home store. We continually strive to bring luxurious and exclusive furniture and home-ware brands to Ireland”

Atelier Design is a real hidden gem and is well worth a visit, even if it is just to sit in one of the beautiful chairs and pretend it is yours…just for a minute.

Martin Parr – Welcome To Belfast

Martin Parr is one of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation, and I am a huge fan of his work so I was delighted to be invited by Belfast Exposed to meet Martin before the launch of his ‘Welcome to Belfast’ exhibition.

To have an exhibition by a world renowned photographer (and the President of Magnum) is HUGE for Belfast, especially as Parr took such a genuine interest in our city and the ‘Welcome to Belfast’ tourism project, commissioned by Belfast Exposed and supported by the Arts Council NI and Belfast City Council.

The images from his ‘Last Resort’ series are still etched in my mind from when I used to sell his work for eye storm and Magnum in London many years ago, and I chatted to him about how this body of work in particular had such an impact on his career, as well as his time living in Ireland in the 1980’s, his subsequent visits to Belfast and the impact of digital photography and social media has had for photographers today.

The art and photographic community came out en masse to see Martin’s signature style, and he did not fail with his gritty yet witty vision of Belfast which documented some of our particular social presence, with nods of the past and hints of current attitudes. Parr’s greatest advice to photographers is to ‘seek the extraordinary in the ordinary’, and he really does just that.