John Johnston and friends on holiday in Blackpool, England

John Keenan Johnston with two unidentified friends, in a Blackpool Photography Studio. Ferries used to run regularly between Dundalk Harbour and Blackpool, making Blackpool a popular holiday destination for people in north Leinster and south Ulster.

This photograph exemplifies the standard studio setting of the period between 1900 and ’20; softly lit, with a painted landscape in the background, but less formal than portraiture pre 1870’s. Modernism had not yet replaced Pictorialism as the dominant photographic style, and the painterly landscape in the background was there to lend portraits an air of grandeur.