This picture was taken by my good friend and colleague Brian McMullan during one of 1970?s big riots in Ballymurphy. The army were firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and I stood with them to get a good photograph of the riot. As I walked back to Brian, I said, I hope you've taken a picture of that? I offered to take one of him in the same position but he replied, Do you think I'm stupid? Photograph: Trevor Dickson
IRA communications smuggled out of the Maze Prison in March 1981 at the start of the hunger strike in which 10 republican prisoners starved themselves to death. Messages were written on sheets of toilet paper in microscopically small handwriting, made into little pellets, wrapped in cling film and then brought out in the mouths of prisoners relatives. The sender of this letter later died when a bomb he was throwing at a West Belfast police station exploded prematurely. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell
Two little girls on swings near Clifton Street in Belfast in the 1960s. At that time, none of us could have imagined how much life in the city would change over the next decades. Photograph: Stanley Matchett
A collection of personal effects recovered from the rubble of the Omagh bomb. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell
Gerry stood there motionless for more than the two seconds that the frame took. He was staring at his wedding album, which was burnt to a cinder on the floor, and he was just reflecting on that it was almost like a Hitchcock moment. He later told me that he believed that the picture got him a peerage because the British government saw that moderate nationalism didn't have a voice in the area - after Gerry Adams had taken Fitt's West Belfast seat - and a way of giving that voice to them was to put Gerry Fitt in the House of Lords. Photograph: Alan Lewis
For a long time, I began to think that I'd almost lost my humanity. I was taking photographs and didn't seem to care what I'd seen, and that worried me. I was wondering what I was becoming. I didn't like it.
Then one Monday in 1974, I was coming out of a building in High Street when I heard an explosion. There had been two bombs at two cafes in Rosemary Street and I was on the scene very quickly. There were three kids who'd been in the explosions sitting on the steps of the Masonic Hall. I took a couple of frames there and went straight back down to the darkroom. I processed the film and got it into the developer.
As the pictures were coming up, I stopped to look at what I had been taking. I saw the kids sitting there, on a day off school, caught up in a bomb through no fault of their own. I just started crying in the darkroom. Nobody saw me but I knew then that I was all right. I had been boxing stuff off - probably the only way to deal with it. I was relieved that I had had a release of emotion.
Then I got on with the work again, knowing that I hadn't lost the run of myself. Photograph: Alan Lewis
The funeral of three of the victims of the Shankill bomb: Michael Morrison (27), his partner, Evelyn Baird (27), and their daughter Michelle (7). The cortage stopped at the site of the attack. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell
I managed, in the melee, to get past the policeman and inside the cordon, but I shot very few frames - probably only half a dozen - before more police arrived and pushed everyone back. Lots of walking wounded were being led away but then a body on a stretcher was carried out past me and I shot that frame as we were being pushed back out of the way. Although I had taken very few pictures, I knew I had a key image: I had the rubble with dust still in the air and a mix of policemen, firemen and locals carrying out the body of one of the victims. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell
People often look at press photographers and say, You have all the good gear and the best cameras. I mean we have nice cameras the way that taxi drivers have nice cars. But I took this picture with a wee compact camera that I had in my bag. I was down getting something out when John Harrison, Lord have mercy on him, rapped the door. A child opened it. She'd a wee nightdress on and there was this big row of bullets right down the door. I couldn't get up quickly enough to get the main camera out, so I got the compact camera and just took one picture. The beauty of the picture to me is that it shows that you don't need to have all the bells and whistles. I still think that it's one of the strongest pictures I have ever taken. No one had been hurt or killed that time. It was a strong picture because of the elements that were in it. Photograph: Hugh Russell
The signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement at Hillsborough Castle on November 15th, 1985. The agreement, signed by British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Taoiseach Garret
FitzGerald, gave the government of Ireland a consultative role in Northern Ireland affairs. We were all called down for the signing - security was incredibly tight, and the room was packed. I remember getting into the room and getting the picture, but not getting anywhere near where I wanted to be. All the big agencies knew this was a world-changing time, so all their photographers were up at the front.
When I took this picture I was still a young lad, and I had no idea that I was taking a picture that people would still be talking about today, it was a moment of history. The sense of history in the picture has got stronger as the picture has got older. Photograph: Hugh Russell
Joe O'Connor was a dissident republican who was killed in West Belfast on October 13th, 2000. At his funeral there was one of the last republican shows of strength. No one had told us for sure that it was going to take place, and I just happened to be in the right spot. Photograph: Hugh Russell
At the start of September, I am often in schools, taking the photographs of the P1 kids on their first day at school. In September 2001, I was at a school as usual, taking the usual kinds of pictures, when I got a call telling me to go immediately to Ardoyne. It was day and night between the kids I had been
photographing earlier that day and the girls at Holy Cross. For weeks there was a really scary atmosphere - the loyalists were throwing everything you can think of at the girls and their parents, including blast bombs. I remember the girls with wee red jerseys and wee red faces. It was heartbreaking. Photograph: Hugh Russell
Divis Flats with the spires of St Peter's Cathedral in the background in 1983. For me, this picture sums up the reasons why places like these were an obvious recruiting ground for the IRA.
The area was also plagued by joy riders, who would steal cars and burn them out on waste ground. I was there doing a story on a joy rider who was defying IRA warnings to stop and was subsequently shot. The photograph makes clear the hopelessness of life at that time in that part of the city. Photograph Martin Nangle
I took this photograph of a member of Cumann na mBan, an Irish women's republican paramilitary organisation, in the late 1970s on the Falls Road. The woman was part of an active service unit that appeared at a rally and caused quite a sensation.Photograph: Martin Nangle
When I got to college, the photography grew in a natural way and my desire to document life in a visual way came together with my favourite subjects of history and geography - everything married well together. Belfast wasn't my home, so when I saw the city for the first time I was shocked. I'd had no idea of the extent of the decaying grandeur that was evident everywhere. This quite proud Victorian city was basically rotting around us and falling apart, both socially and politically. I thought to myself that, as part of the art college project, I would try to capture that. Photograph: Martin Nangle
It was August 1989, the twentieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Troubles and there was lots of talk in Belfast that the violence was just going to go off the scale any day.
I went up to Ballymurphy and, although I didn?t see any vehicles on fire, there were people squaring up to the soldiers. The squaddies were on edge ? one in particular was crouching
and looking right down the street into Ballymurphy with his SA80 pointed. A woman came up and shouted right down the barrel of the gun. Although there was no physical contact it was a violent altercation ? you could see the venom and hate between the republicans and the soldiers.Photograph Paul Faith
I didn?t go to Omagh on the day of the bomb, 15 August 1998, but I went down the next day. I used the long lens and trained it on the bridge looking up towards Omagh. Up the main street there was total carnage. I?d been
there a few hours and there were only a few police and forensics guys walking around the scene.
I remember watching a policeman picking through things. I could see him lifting something up and crying. I couldn?t work out why, and then I saw there were two kids? mangled buggies. The policeman was only there for a couple of minutes. It was over as quickly as it had started. But I just knew that particular image would travel.
The bomb in Omagh caused the deaths of twenty-nine people, many of them children.Photograph Paul Faith
�The camera was always on my desk with a fresh roll of film in it� Stanley Matchett
In January 1971 a call came into the office and I wasn't going to answer it because I was ready to go home. But I lifted the phone and it was a contact from the old Official IRA. He said that a reporter and I should go out to the Albert Bar, at the junction of Albert Street and the Falls Road. When we got there, this chap asked us if we'd like a drink.
So, a bottle of stout each and the next thing a man came in and nodded to the chap that was with us for us to come out. When we got outside they were just finishing tying a boy to one of the big lamp standards. They poured a bucket of tar over him, then a pillowcase of feathers, and then put a plaque around his neck saying why it was being done. Then another man appeared and they did the same thing to him.
I took one shot of each and was just ready to leave when I heard this shouting. It was a priest coming down the road on his bicycle. He came charging across the road, saying, Don't you take pictures of those poor fellas, and tried to grab the camera off me. But the Official IRA boyos, they got hold of him, told him to move on. Photograph: Trevor Dickson
The aftermath of a 1,000lb bomb that detonated in Belfast city centre March 28th, 1974. Photograph: Trevor Dickson
The police station on the Lisburn Road in Belfast was bombed on December 16th, 1986. I went up the next morning to get a picture. I noticed that the houses across the road had been badly damaged and spotted a mirror on the lawn of one of them. It amazed me that it hadn't been damaged in the blast, and an idea came into my head right away. I propped the mirror against what was left of their garden pillar. I always tried to make something a little bit different, rather than the usual point and shoot. Photograph: Trevor Dickson
Louie Johnston (7) in tears as he follows his dad's coffin from the family church in Lisburn, County Antrim. Constable David Johnston (30) was one of two RUC community officers shot dead by the Provisional IRA in Lurgan, County Armagh, on June 16th, 1997, just a month before the IRA announced a renewal of its 1994 ceasefire. Photograph: Alan Lewis
On the last day of August 1994, I was working for the Reuters wire service. We were aware that the IRA was about to announce a ceasefire which would be a very big national and international story: the culmination of the early stages of what would become the peace process. I got an early morning call from the picture editor asking me for a picture to illustrate the anticipated IRA announcement.
How do you illustrate the intangible? How do you photograph an announcement that hasn't yet been made, or something that hasn't yet happened? More often than not it is going to be images of troops on the streets, or an apposite slogan painted on a wall, or a poster photographing peace before it actually materialises poses all sorts of problems. Photograph:Crispin Rodwell