Barry McCall on Gabriel Byrne and Pho20graphy

Barry McCall, fashion and celebrity photographer, answers a few questions about his recently published retrospective, Pho20graphy, all proceeds for which go to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). Be sure to check out the video and information at the end of the interview!

Byrneholics: Your new book, Pho20graphy, is amazing! How did you decide which photos to include? What were your criteria?

Barry: The process of choosing the right images was a difficult one…We were trying to strike a balance… between the fashion and portraits, the new and the old images…also the images needed to flow with ease and at a nice pace…just to make the viewing experience as pleasurable as possible. There were a lot of “Sophie’s Choice” moments as I had to leave out some of my favourite images because they just did not work within the context of the book.

Byrneholics: Why did you choose the ISPCC as the cause you wanted to support? Not many artists would give all of the proceeds to one particular cause, so this is an extra special commitment from you–kudos to you!

Barry: I tried to explain within my introduction that the main driving force behind the book was the loss of my mother this year. Upon reflection I realised what a fantastic childhood I had… the freedom, love, encouragement and support of my Mom and Dad helped me become the person I am today…I just wished all children could have the same happy carefree childhood that I’ve had. The ISPCC is Ireland’s oldest children’s charity and it helps so many kids each year, I had no hesitation in donating all the profits to the charity.

Byrneholics: You have been a successful photographer for quite awhile now. Do you love it as much as when you started? Are you interested in other endeavors, like writing or film? And what is your next project?

Barry: Yep, I’ve been in business since 1990…it’s flown… my twenties and thirties are just one big blur of long days in studios, darkrooms, locations and models… Still loving every shoot as much as I did when I started…I will be working on some small video projects and some one else’s book…

Barry McCall
photo ©James Horan/Collins Photos

Byrneholics: Now, on to the Gabriel Byrne photoshoot for Pho20graphy: Have you known Gabriel Byrne for very long? If not, how did you get to know him so well that you could capture him in your photograph so perfectly?

Barry: Would you believe it was the first time I met him!… We got on really well… Gabriel’s nature is to put everyone at ease around him…he loved the styling and the location…a disused factory in Dublin’s city centre. The crew all loved him…after all he is one of Ireland’s greatest legends and exports!

Byrneholics: How long did the photoshoot last?

Barry: The session was a half day (4 hours)…he flew in and afterwards he sat around and chatted with the crew for ages.

Byrneholics: Was it mostly fun or mostly work? From some of the candids, it looks like it was mostly fun!

Barry: There would be a certain amount of pressure when working on a session like this…you have to make sure you have your shot and the artist needs to feel that the images are good for him, too. But all this aside, it was a real blast… Gabriel was on my original wish list when the book was in its infancy so it was great to get him…well worth the wait.

Byrneholics: Did you have ideas about how you wanted the shoot to go when you started? Did Gabriel have ideas?

Barry: Pretty much so…I really wanted to be out of the studio…on a gritty location in his old home town… (not too far from where he grew up). We kept all the styling really classic and we used natural light which works really well with Gabriel’s eyes. I showed him my first few test shots so he knew what I wanted…then he just turned it on… sometimes the job is that simple…

Byrneholics: How did you choose his wardrobe?

Barry: I just asked the stylist for something classic and black so nothing would take away from the mood in the images… quite contemplative.

Byrneholics: How many pictures did you actually take? Will you sell some on the black market? (just kidding–sort of…)

Barry: I probably took about 1200…but I probably had my shot in the first 100 frames! [Note from Stella: OMG to get our hands on these pictures, yes?!]

Byrneholics: Did you swap stories?

Barry: Yeah, we chatted away about lots of stuff…mostly Dublin, old characters…movies, lighting etc…just down to earth stuff…after all, we Irish just love to chat about anything.

Byrneholics: Say anything you want to about the shoot–Byrneholics the world over are intensely interested!

Barry: It was a real thrill to work with Gabriel…little did I know when I was a struggling assistant…that not only would I be doing this book, but I would be working with Gabriel Byrne….need I say more…I can retire!

Many thanks to Barry for taking the time to answer our questions!

Gabriel Byrne
© 2010 Barry McCall, Pho20graphy

Pho20graphy: Behind the Scenes Video: “A brief look at the printing of the Pho20graphy book this September. Look at all that paper! That’s only a fraction of the sheets that went into the completed book.”

Melanie Morris (for the, October 14, 2010): Instead of sitting around on a barstool talking about it, Barry McCall just did it: My insider’s look at how the most ambitious book of Irish photography ever was done

From the Pho20graphy Community Facebook Page:

PHO20GRAPHY by Barry McCall is a 20 year retrospective of his images, including celebrity portraits shot around the world and his favourite fashion shoots from over the years. It is being sold exclusively in Brown Thomas and BT2 stores across Ireland. The book, in aid of the ISPCC and in partnership with Brown Thomas, retails at €80 with every euro from the proceeds being donated to the ISPCC, Ireland’s oldest children’s charity.

Throughout Barry’s career his love for classic art, old movies and fashion has been a constant source of inspiration for his work. With over 350 pages and 300 images PHO20GRAPHY promises to be a book that people will truly treasure with images ranging from Liam Neeson in his family apartment in New York City to Snow Patrol in Red Square; Colin Farrell on a hotel roof in LA and John Kavanagh on the Abbey Theatre stage; Claudia Schiffer and Sophie Dahl; Erin O’Connor and Yasmin Le Bon; Gabriel Byrne and Anjelica Huston; Sienna Miller and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. A beautiful selection of Barry’s film and print fashion shoots take us back to the early days of his career. In each and every shot he has captured the essence of the subject and the style.

PHO20GRAPHY has allowed Barry to share some of the images that have been such a joy for him to capture throughout his career, while also supporting an important charity. The project was born when Barry, along with partner Kari and good friend Dylan Bradshaw, approached Caroline Downey Desmond, director and voluntary fundraiser for the ISPCC, with an initial concept for a smaller magazine spread of celebrity portraits. As talks progressed the project grew into the coffee table book available today.

Be sure to visit the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to learn more about their work and to purchase the book online!


Barry McCall: Pho20graphy

Photographer Barry McCall, known for his work in the fashion world, has done something really magical.

Rather than publishing a retrospective of his photographs over the past 20 years in fashion and portraiture and raking in the proceeds that such a book might yield, he has instead created a lush coffee-table book and is turning over all revenue to the the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). How cool is that?

“This book is a selection of some of my favourite shots from the past twenty years as a photographer” said Barry, “and I am thrilled that the images, which have been such a joy for me to capture, will now also be benefiting such a worthy charity.”

The book was released on October 9 in Ireland and is available for purchase at the ISPCC website. Non-Irish folks should email them first to iron out the details (information on this is at the link provided). If you happen to live in Ireland, you can pick up the book at the Brown Thomas and BT2 stores nationwide. And be sure to check out the book signings.

As you might guess, it seems there are several pictures of Gabriel Byrne included in the book. A definite incentive for Byrneholics, of course!

Read more at (where you can also watch Barry on The Late Late Show), and

We hope to provide you with some of Barry’s thoughts on this project, so stay tuned.

Congratulations, Barry, on the past 20 and here’s looking forward to the next 20!

Must. Buy. Book…



I’m Ready for My Close-up, Mr. McCall

Barry McCall’s fashionable coffee table book, benefiting The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), has been underway for some months and Mr. Byrne sat still long enough to be captured for it.

Mr. McCall shared two behind-the-scenes pictures recently:

Mr. McCall and Mr. Byrne, with scarves

Dylan Bradshaw (Hair) and Karen (Makeup) from Dylan Bradshaw’s salon;
Gabriel Byrne; Catherine Condell (Stylist)

And Dylan Bradshaw (see above!) has this to say about Gabriel Byrne in the

WITH a huge list of famous clients, top hair stylist Dylan Bradshaw rarely gets star-struck.

But the celebrity coiffeur was bowled over after a meeting with Hollywood actor Gabriel Byrne this week.

The grooming expert told the Diary he was called in to look after the Usual Suspects star’s locks ahead of his photoshoot for the upcoming charity book by fashion photographer Barry McCall.

“He was without a shadow of a doubt one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was just so giving and so humble. It was a real pleasure to meet him,” Dylan said.

Barry McCall’s new website will give you an idea of what he might be doing in this book. He has been a fashion photographer and portraitist for 20 years now and the book sounds like a “taking stock” affair, involving tons of very interesting people with very nice faces. Start saving those pennies now for this one-of-a-kind gift (even if the giftee turns out to be yourself!) and read more about the work of the ISPCC, an organization which “exists to advocate on behalf of all children in Ireland.”


The Byrne-ing News, May 2010 Edition

The Cultural Ambassador for Ireland has been popping up in all sorts of interesting places in the past few weeks, both in the US and in Dublin. Galas and fundraisers are part and parcel of his life now and actually always have been. These recent appearances are just like the movies: All Music! All Dancing! All Archeology! Well, pretty exciting, anyway. And, as you know, in the midst of this storm of activity, he celebrated a milestone birthday on May 12. Read on.

The Archeologist

We forget that this was one of the areas of study Mr. Byrne majored in during his undergraduate years. Armed with this (perhaps somewhat rusty) knowledge, he attended the second annual Ancient Gala on Wednesday, April 28, at Guastavinos in New York City, hosted by the Boston-based Archaeological Institute of America. AIA Executive Director Teresa Keller welcomed Jordan royalty and honorary chairs HRH Princess Dana Firas and HRH Prince Zeid Al-Hussein, authors Raymond Khoury and Julie Powell, and our favorite cultural ambassador. The theme was Peru and, judging from the pictures, it was indeed an exotic evening, including a Peruvian Feast. Enjoy the pics below, especially noting the beautiful, if somewhat precarious, flowers.

The rain forest

Is it leaning? I think it’s leaning…

An elegant setting for an ancient evening

Peru is fascinating. I did not realize a Peruvian Feast involved chicken!
And speaking of Egypt, did you know the Irish originated there? No? Well…

The Music Lover

Gabriel’s love of music (we know he plays the accordion, and not badly) must have made the American Ireland Fund New York Gala a real treat. Bono was the honoree and and he spoke at length about the importance of music education and Ireland’s pressing need to support it. Another musical great, President Bill Clinton, also waxed rhapsodic (in his case, the saxophone was key) and the Mayor of New York seemed musically inclined as well.

U2’s Bono joined President Clinton, Mayor Bloomberg and 1,300 members of the Irish-American business, political and arts communities at the American Ireland Fund 35th Anniversary New York Gala at the Lincoln Center Thursday [May 6, 2010] to raise $3 million for Irish and Irish-American projects. Despite the economic downturn on both sides of the Atlantic, this year’s special anniversary gala – one of the largest annual events of its kind among the global Irish Diaspora – surpassed The American Ireland Fund’s target of $2.5 million.

Bono’s speech was very funny, from all accounts, and he is obviously committed to increasing support for music education in Ireland, the focus of his comments.

The Two B’s.

This might be the part in Bono’s speech in which he imitates Einstein. Not kidding!

What’s the little red flower all about, Mr. Byrne?

The Ambassador

The (So-So) Dancer Spends the Day in Dublin

Mr. Byrne attended the world premiere of the dance Day, performed by Jean Butler (of Riverdance) at the Dublin Dance Festival on Wednesday, May 19.

Dublin Dance Festival and the Abbey Theatre are delighted to co-present Jean Butler in an engaging new work by Tere O’Connor. Jean asked Tere to create this solo for her, one which departs from her long history and training in Irish Dance. Entitled DAY, the piece explores the ways we come to know a person beyond the narrative of his/her life. It questions how much we can really know someone and if our projections constitute our knowing more than the actual truth.

Sounds a tad intellectual for a dance, but just the thing for Mr. Byrne.

A trifle tired in these very tiny pics, perhaps,
but we chalk it up to a very busy schedule with a hint of jet lag.

The Harbinger of Summer?

This just in: Spring had definitely sprung in most of the USA, and summer in a few parts, attributable to some degree, we like to think, to Mr. Byrne (check out his effect on all those flowers at the AIA gala!) and now Byrneholics in Europe report that there was a noticeable increase in the temp there once Gabriel made it to Ireland. He seems to have brought summer with him!

Don’t worry, ladies. Flowers just seem to spontaneously bloom in my presence.

The Actor

Perrier’s Bounty

A Dublin bad boy proves his essential goodness under the worst possible circumstances in Perrier’s Bounty, a splendidly plotted if thematically unsurprising comedy. The pleasure comes not from fresh insights, but from a droll script and expertly timed performances. (from a review of the film at NPR)

The incredible cast includes Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Liam Cunningham, and Jim Broadbent. Gabriel provides voice only in this film, playing the Grim Reaper:

The Reaper never appears, though he offers salty musings from the beyond in the voice of Gabriel Byrne.

Read the NPR review for more info on this intriguing film.

We love salty musings from Gabriel Byrne, of course, even if we cannot see him musing on the screen. The film is making its way through the festival circuit now.


From the folks who brought you Played, here is a crime thriller involving a heist that should happen clean and fast but, guess what? It doesn’t.

The best laid plans of slugs and thugs can go dead wrong, and they do in this brutal heist movie. Four career criminals decide to knock off a boutique hotel at exactly 2:22 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. They figure everyone will be drunk or out of it. They figure right, but that’s the crazy factor that explodes on them in this neo “Dog Day Afternoon.”

Check out the rest of the review at The Hollywood Reporter. Gabriel plays Detective Swain in an uncredited appearance. After showing at several festivals, including Cannes 2009 and Toronto 2008, the film will soon be released on both Blu-ray & DVD, with a US release date of August 31 of this year.

LA Premiere in 2008

The Doctor

Last, but certainly not least, word on the street is season 3 of In Treatment goes into production in New York City in June.

We next expect to see the Cultural Ambassador for Ireland at the Picture House in Pelham, New York on June 12, celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of his best films, Miller’s Crossing (see previous Byrneholics reporting on this). In the meantime, we hope Mr. Byrne is holed up somewhere nice, running lines with his new co-stars and preparing for his third turn as Dr. Paul Weston, although it is just as likely that we shall see him out and about carrying the flag for the Irish arts!

Thanks to Byrneholics everywhere for sharing news and pictures of our peripatetic Irishman.


Help for Haiti–Updated!

Variety notes that Hollywood is supporting relief efforts in Haiti, with telethons involving everyone from George Clooney to Bono and donations in the millions pouring in.

On the East Coast, “Gabriel Byrne, Terry George, and others have organized a “Rebuild Haiti” fundraiser in New York for Thursday night to benefit Concern Worldwide and the Edeyo Foundation.”

Read the article. Kudos to Mr. Byrne, Susan Sarandon, Terry George, Alan Cumming, and everyone who is supporting this event and helping Haiti!

Thanks to Ann for the heads up.

Update: here is more information about the benefit, thanks to Lara!


Gabriel Byrne Helps Bring Home the Money

Thanks to Lara for the heads up, as usual!

According to (December 7, 2009):

The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs,  Micheál Martin, T.D., today announced a major grant for a landmark Irish project in New York. Minister Martin said that a total of €2.3 million will be provided immediately towards the construction of  the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan…The Minister paid warm tribute to New York City Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn for their exceptional support for the initiative. He also thanked Gabriel Byrne for his support for the Arts Center and for his longstanding work in promoting Irish culture throughout the U.S.

Read the full article.

And today, The New York Times adds:

Over the years, Ireland has provided New York with cultural assets like Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne and that sometime visitor Bono. Now the Irish government has made a more numerically quantifiable contribution to the city in the form of a $3.5 million grant that will be used to build a new Irish Arts Center in Manhattan.

Read the full article.

Congratulations to all involved in this long-term and very strategic project! As Christine Quinn of The New York City Council  says about the Irish government:

They understand that having a strong America be with Ireland, both in the south and north, is critical to the future of the country.” She added that the grant was a sign of “how strong the bridge is between the countries, and between Ireland and New York.



Spirit of Ireland Gala 2009 on Oct 2


Honorary Co-Chairs GABRIEL BYRNE and  LIAM NEESON invite you to

New York Athletic Club,  180 Central Park South, New York
6:30 pm Cocktails and Silent Auction; 8:00 pm Dinner and Awards Presentation

This is an annual fund-raising event for the Center. Show your support!

More information is available at the official site. And IAC staff are going to try to make time to tweet the event, so check out @IrishArtsCenter on Twitter!

(I would like to attend the Silent Auction, please!–Stella)

gbneeson-20090929postingThe men in charge