Samuel Beckett, one of the foremost playwrights of the twentieth century was rarely photographed, despite the fact that he was extremely interested in the process of photography. In 1969, when it was announced that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, he refused to attend the ceremony, and retreated to Morocco. When he returned to Paris, where he spent most of his adult life, he tended to frequent restaurants and cafes where he would not be recognized. It was in one of these cafes that John Minihan took what became the most famous image of him. John Minihan, an Irish photographer, who lived and worked in London for over thirty years, first met Beckett in London in 1980. It was here that Samuel Beckett saw John's photographs of an Irish wake and, as a result, agreed to be photographed by him. Over the next four years, John continued to photograph him in London and Paris. This book, which contains previously unpublished photographs of Samuel Beckett, is a remarkable and timely tribute to the writer one hundred years after his birth.
John Minihan was born in Dublin in 1946, spent the first eleven years of his life in Athy, County Kildare, and then moved to London with his parents. He started work at the Daily Mail before taking a job at the Evening Standard as a staff photographer covering news and features. It was during this time that he took one of the most famous photographs of the late Princess of Wales, before her marriage, at a kindergarten in Pimlico in 1980. In the same year he photographed Samuel Beckett for the first time. John Minihan's work is on view all over the world, including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the National Portrait Gallery in London, New York University, and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as in many private collections. RTE, the Irish National Television Station, has completed a documentary on John's life as part of their Samuel Beckett centenary celebrations. John Minihan's Cork, a book of his photographs of Cork artists, writers and musicians, with an introduction by William Trevor, is also published by Hale.