Haughton Family // Dublin & New York

Contributed by Kim Haughton

Kim Haughton’s parents were from County Wicklow. They married in 1969 and their first daughter Samantha was born in 1970. Their second daughter Kim was born in 1974. The family spent the first four years living in a mobile home in Portmarnock while they were waiting for a council house to be built. Kim’s mother always said it was the happiest time of her life. This is where the family met Faye, Kim’s other ‘sister’. Faye was the same age as Samantha, and they often played together. Faye was an only child and when she was two, her father was killed in a car accident. It was after this that she came to live with Kim’s family.

The Haughton’s moved to their new house across from the Caravan park in 1978 and Faye had her own room. The girls all went to school together and they would spend time with Faye’s mother Sandra at the weekends. The girls loved Sandra, who was glamorous and vivacious — quite different to Kim’s mother, a homemaker and a strict disciplinarian. Sandra drove a red BMW and she would bring the girls into town in the car with the hood down and music blaring. She bought Faye’s clothes in Switzers and Brown Thomas. Kim felt lucky to be the benefactor of such stylish hand-me- downs. She even wore Faye’s communion dress to her communion in 1981.

Kim’s own father had died in 1980. The following year, Faye and her mother moved to live in Holland. Sandra had met a handsome Dutch man and they planned to get married. As young girls Kim and Samantha felt this loss strongly. Samantha went to England in the summer of 1988, and she never came back, having settled into an accountancy job in Kent.

The black and white photographs here capture Kim’s school days. Kim’s teacher Mr. O’Connell made these in 1982–83. He was an unconventional teacher and was probably ahead of his time. A few parents complained about his unconventional teaching methods, but his students loved him. He also brought his classes to galleries and the theatre, places that opened up a whole new world of art and culture.

Kim’s father was also a keen photographer and had an SLR at home. Kim quickly realised that photojournalism was her main interest. A neighbour who worked for The Sunday Tribune as a Picture Editor helped get Kim a job in the darkroom processing negatives and making prints. In 1993, she had her first by-line in the paper, a thrilling moment. After college in 1995, Kim got a job as a photographer in Newsfour and spent the next 15 years working in Dublin and travelling around the world on assignments.

She moved to New York in 2014 to take up a position in the United Nations Photo Unit and has been here ever since. For Kim, New York doesn’t really feel that far away from home.