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Ronnie Norton

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Following a try out in Aerial Photography with Aerostruct and a toe in the water with Corporate and Commercial Photography at The Silver Grain Company, in 1974 Ronnie opened the doors of “Ronnie Norton Photography”,his very own studio, opposite the watering hole for many of Dublin’s creative & innovative people; O’Dwyers pub on Lower Mount Street. This fortuitous pairing led to lifelong friendships and business relationships that are still driving the photographic entity that became Ireland’s premier digital imaging studio as Norton Associates on Dublin’s Pearse Street.

The cold winds of economic downturn and client’s changing attitudes towards Digital Photography led to the downsizing of the studio in Sept ’08 and it’s re-emergence as DN Design under the leadership of his own Son and Protege, David Norton.

Ten years on, he saw that respect had grown for the real talent of skilled photographers combined with in-house post production facilities, so he knew the time was right to relaunch the legacy brand as Norton Photography and Retouching. Young bloods David and Daniel are skilled in the world of Digital Photography in all its various forms and at this stage have acquired all the traditional studio and lighting techniques of the “Old Guy” Ronnie Norton.

Which means it’s high time this Old Guy starts sharing the secrets of industry success with the wider photographic community, and helping businesses around the world identify the best solution to image creation and management.

On leaving school he discovered that two of his classmates Mick O'Doherty and Pete Cummins were guitar slingers of high renown so a guitar was purchased and Mick, Ronnie and his sister Carol formed trio called The Young Folk and dived into the booming folk and ballad scene in Dublin in the 60's and 70's. Based in the Universal Folk Centre on Dublin's Parnell Sq he watched the developing talents of Donal Lunny, Paul Brady, Mick Moloney, The Johnstons, Tir Na NOg, The Heffernan SIsters, Brendan Grace and every major folk star that visited Dublin and made the Folk Boom of that era the birthplace of the Irish Roots movement that still thrives today. He discovered that compared to the talents around him he would always be a busker so the guitar was gradually replaced by a camera and a lifelong career in Photography was born.

it started with some album covers for EMI, then back stage and front of house at every concert he could blag his way into. Trips to Nashville led to photographing Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and encounters with Crystal Gayle, Dolly Parton and all his superheroes in the music world. During this time a friendship was welded with U2’s graphic designer Steve Averill and the iconic Fanzine and later Europe's top Roots Americana website Lonesome Highway was created. It was and still is the go to publication for every roots artist that visited Ireland to be interviewed and photographed. Interviews with Emmy Lou Harris, Steve Earle and tour programmes for Kris Kristofferson were all part of the daily routine for Steve and Ronnie back then.

A chance encounter with Lee Williams of CMR Nashville Europe's number one Country station led to starting a sixteen year stint with the station with Lonesome Highway and more recently Bluegrass and Beyond, and European Bluegrass Roundup radio shows. More trips to Nashville and Raleigh NC lead to close up and personal contact with just about every body in the Bluegrass and Roots music world.

Resident photographer duties at several major Country Festivals and regular yearly residencies at the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival, the Omagh Bluegrass Festival and The Bunratty Midwinter Festival were all fodder for the insatiable appetite of Lonesome Highway listeners and readers.

Covid killed the live concert venues but the radio shows survived and hopefully all will get back to normal with camera case being tidied out and cowboy boots polished and the Busker turned Photographer and Roots Radio Jock will be back on the Lonesome Highway for many years to come while still balancing all that with a flourishing Commercial Advertising Photographers career.

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