I took this image just after I returned home from Ireland in 2012 from living for the previous 6 years in France. The summer was a miserably wet one and the economic outlook was just as dismal. The image seemed at the time to ‘fit’ one impression I had of Ireland from listening to the radio and reading the news (I’ve since restricted my consumption of ‘News’). The reason I was posting this is that I am researching a project at the moment for a series of images or ‘representations’ of Ireland. Research has become a vital part of a project or a series for me and before I even begin shooting I start by trying to get clear on what I want to say with a set of photographs. More and more now I work on a series rather than a picture at a time , although of course I still just go out and shoot just for the pleasure, the joy of making images.
The first question that pop’s into my mind is how do you represent Ireland? How do you give a sense of the place that is Ireland? I mean straight away I see a series of pictures of places like the Cliff’s of Moher or Newgrange. The problem with these is that they do not represent what I would call Ireland, my own personal view of Ireland if you like. Another series of preconceptions would involve the movie The Commitments; The old Smithfield market, kids riding ponies bareback, Ballymun etc. These are a bit like stereo types now and I want this series to be my impressions of Ireland not Alan Parker’s – even though I love that movie!
So I have several different versions of Ireland, probably too many to show them all but for instance the image above, taken on Inis Mor – the Aran Islands is one representation of Ireland as a rural place, the Irish bar is a fairly strong Irish cultural icon too.
But so too could this picture of a ghost estate in county Leitrim. The Ghost estate has also become a cultural icon representing Ireland for some.
I am not saying one is right and the other is not or even that one is better than the other just that they booth represent different aspects of Ireland, the place.
Actually I bought a book recently called Representing Ireland that was compiled of photographs of Ireland made by tourists and visitors that is kind of what I am getting at. It was curated by photographer Michael Durand and you can find
As part of that research I really want to hear (and see) your version, your impression of Ireland, what places represent Ireland to you? Even if you have never been here before you can help me by describing your impressions. Please feel free comment, leave me links etc on this post below, I will reply and follow up on each post too. It just Might take me some time!