Bloody Sunday, taken by Stanley Matchett ©Mirrorpix

Bloody Sunday, taken by Stanley Matchett ©Mirrorpix

A Documentary Film for ARTE, BAI and RTE

Shooting the Darkness is a film about the men who unwittingly became war photographers on the streets of their own towns. They did not leave home in search of war and adventure: the violence erupted around them. They expected a career of wedding photography and beauty pageants and instead the images they produced during the worst years of the 'Troubles' would come to define that conflict. The press photographer deals in single images that must distill story, character and context into a single frame. In the days before digital, a single click of the shutter at the right moment was all that mattered. As the complexity of those days fades from memory we are left with the images.

What did it cost them to take those pictures? What was the value of those images as the conflict raged on for 25 years? Did they help Northern Ireland move beyond the cycle of violence or did they just sell more newspapers? The question of the value of their pictures is still unresolved for most of these men. As they age out of their roles in the press, this is a final opportunity to record the perspectives of these first hand observers of history and to tell the stories behind the images.

‘Shooting the Darkness’ premiered on RTE in the Rep. of Ireland on Jan 31st 2019 to a 20% audience share and excellent critical reaction. The film premiered on ARTE in France/Germany in February 2019.


Directed by Tom Burke - Produced by Thomas Kelly, Jessie Fisk, Alan Maher - Original Music by Gerry Horan - Sound Post Production by Kevin Breathnach at Avondale Studios - Colour Grade by Dave Hughes - Filmed & Edited by Tom Burke

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