Red heads, donkeys, creel carts and freshly cut turf - there's only one place on earth you could be, Ireland.
This week tributes are being paid in Connemara to the man known as Paddy 'Red' Lydon, the red headed boy immortalized forever in an iconic John Hinde postcard taken in the west of Ireland in the early 1960's.
According to the Irish Times, Lydon, who was photographed collecting turf with his younger sister Mary and a donkey and cart half a century ago, died in Galway this week aged 65.
Millions of visitors have reportedly been drawn to Ireland from the strength of Hinde's 1960's depictions of everyday peasantry working an unspoiled landscape.
Hinde went on to sell millions of his 'Views of Ireland' which were printed in his factory in Cabinteely, County Dublin. But Paddy Lydon often joked to friends that he was paid just half a crown for his modeling work.
The Somerset-born photographer was often accused of contriving images, many of which were later critically dismissed as the 'apogee of kitsch.'
But Lydon’s family recalls that a genuine scene was captured. Both Lydon and his sister Mary were out collecting turf to fill their donkey’s creels when Hinde came across them.
'All he asked them to do was to go home and change their clothes,' first cousin Pat Lydon told The Irish Times 'Paddy would joke that his father, Christy, had cut the turf and had made everything in it – the kids, the creels – except for the ass!'
Although the card became world famous, the red-haired boy, one of five siblings, stayed at home and never married. His sister Mary moved to England. Their mother was reportedly fatally injured in a road incident in the mid-1970's, and their father died in 1979.
Paddy was a ‘quiet man,’ with 'close friends,' who would be missed in the locality, one local said.
Hinde sold his postcard business in 1972 and in 1993 his artistic reputation was 'rehabilitated' when an exhibition of his imagery was staged by the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Interviewed by The Irish Times, Hinde rejected the patronizing 'kitsch' label.
'I photographed donkeys and cottages simply because you can’t imagine a Connemara bog without a donkey walking across with panniers filled with peat,' he said.
'It’s part, of the landscape the same way the Irish cottage is like a living thing which grew out of the ground. It’s true that in some cases my images were doctored and distorted, but if you photographed a beautiful scene off the west coast of Ireland, it would come out as practically monochrome, so we set out to create visually the impression you’d thought you’d had.'
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