A photographic competition is planned in memory of legendary Mayo cameraman Henry Wills, it was revealed at the official opening of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI) exhibition in Ballina yesterday evening.

Henry, who passed away earlier this year, was a staff photographer with the Western People for more than four decades and won regional and national acclaim for the quality of his work.

James Laffey, Editor of the Western People, said at the opening of the 2024 PPAI exhibition in Ballina Library that the idea of a photographic competition in Henry’s memory had been planted by Mary Ruane.

Mary was a former work colleague of Henry’s in the Western’s photographic department.

 “We are working on Mary’s idea at the moment to encourage the next generation of photographers and find the next Henry Wills”, James Laffey explained.

Citing the fact that the first photographic studio (Thomas J. Wynne) was set up in Castlebar in 1867, Mr. Laffey noted there was a great tradition of photography in Mayo and it was important to continue that tradition.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny officially opened the PPAI Exhibition which will continue until July 20 at Ballina Library, as part of Ballina Salmon Festival.

Henry Wills was a founder member and tireless promoter of the festival.

A former president of the PPAI, he was instrumental for many years in bringing the association’s annual exhibition to Ballina where it always attracted large audiences.


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