The Ma and MacWeeney

Alen MacWeeney was my mother’s first boyfriend, but the relationship didn’t last after he moved to New York to become Richard Avedon’s assistant. He went on to have a stellar career as a photographer there, often coming back to Ireland to shoot a long-term project on the travelling community. I bought one of his prints of two traveller kids with the proceeds from the first script I ever sold, and it’s up in pride of place on the living room wall.

Alen MacWeeney photographed in Dublin, April 2019.

My mother Sara, aged 18, photographed by Alen. He added the image of himself looking at her and sent it from New York.

It was great to catch up with him when I was back in Dublin last week. He told me about the new biography of Avedon, saying “it reads like a thriller”. I’m halfway through its 700 pages, and he’s not wrong.

You can see some of my other pictures of artists in this gallery.


“You just have to live and life will give you pictures” - Henri Cartier-Bresson.