Formal portrait of John Kennan Johnston

John Keenan Johston is the uncle of this album’s owner, Don Johnston. He was a revenue inspector who worked along the border between the Southern and Northern counties of Ireland, and died in 1956.

The photograph is marked 1914, the first year of World War 1, and also the year the Irish Home Rule Bill, or the Government of Ireland Act 1914, was passed by the House of Commons. The bill was a response to the Irish Home Rule Movement – the efforts of Irish nationalists to self govern and create a new constitution for Ireland. Partially because of the outbreak of the First World War, this Third Home Rule Bill was never enacted, and in 1920, the Fourth Home Rule Bill was passed. (This was the bill that divided Northern and Southern Ireland.)

In 1914 photography was becoming an increasingly popular, and moderately less elite, pastime. The Irish Independent quotes an add from 1914; “Hold fast to all your happy holiday memories. Get you Kodak today. A holiday without a Kodak is a holiday wasted!“