Looking at Siam: Online Talk

Looking at Siam: Situating John Thomson’s work then and now 

Join Jon Riordan, Photographer at the Chester Beatty, for this lunchtime talk.

Looking at Siam will explore how the development of photography as technology and an art form allowed John Thomson to create the images displayed in ‘Siam: Through the lens of John Thomson, 1865–66’. Following which, it will investigate how current contexts in how it is displayed affect how it is viewed by the public.


Jon Riordan has worked in and around photography since finishing a Bachelor of Journalism at Rhodes University in South Africa back when photography meant using film and hiding in dark rooms.
For many years after this Jon worked as a photojournalist exploring the varied stories of modern day South Africa before finding his way back into the classroom.
While completing a Masters degree at the University of Cape Town in 2012, Jon became involved in the fascinating world of digitisation. This interest led him to the Iziko South African Museum where he worked as a digital photographer responsible for digitising their vast collection of natural history subjects. During this time Jon also worked for the Cape Town School of Photography teaching Documentary Photography to new generations of photojournalists and the vagaries of Photographic Discourse to new generations of photographic academics.
In 2017 Jon decided to move to Ireland and explore his long lost Irish roots. He is now employed by the Chester Beatty as a digital photographer. He is responsible for digitising the museum’s unique collection of objects from so many of the world’s cultures.

Open today 9:45am - 5:30pm

Monday to Friday 9:45am - 5:30pm
Wednesday 9:45am - 8:00pm
Saturday 9:45am - 5:30pm
Sunday 12:00pm - 5:30pm

Closed Mondays: Nov - Feb
Closed 1 Jan; Good Friday; 24-26 Dec

Admission is Free
No booking required
Suggested donation €5


Chester Beatty
Dublin Castle
Dublin 2
D02 AD92