Project CleanSweep. Work-in-progress (May 2013)

Project Cleansweep takes its name from a Ministry of Defence report issued in2011 identifying sites in the UK where tens of thousands of tonnes of mustard gas, phosgene and other lethal chemicals were made, stored, burned and dumped in England, Wales and Scotland since the first world war. Some areas are still fenced off to protect the public today. The MoD launched Operation Cleansweep in 2007 to provide “reassurance” that residual contamination at UK sites did not pose a risk to human health or the environment.

My approach was to consider the current status of these sites and to draw attention to the inherent visual ambiguity of places that have changed in use and orientation but still retain a legacy of the past.

The focus of the images is on unsteadiness, impermanence, transience, and ideas of
transformation, shifts and “repositioning”. Landscape and architecture that may at first
appear to be solid and permanent is instead experienced as unbalanced and

More photos soon……


Oct 2013: I have expanded this project to include biological weapons sites. It’s just that there is so much crossover between the two

01-Weymouth Bay Dorset      Lords Bridge Cambridgeshire

Weymouth Bay Dorset                                   Lords Bridge Cambridgeshire

03-Spalford Warren Nottinghamshire       04-Frome Somerset

Spalford Warren Nottinghamshire                    Frome Somerset

05-ShingleStreetNorfolk       06-Kimbolton Cambridgeshire

ShingleStreet Norfolk                                       Kimbolton Cambridgeshire

07-Penclawwd Gower Peninsula       08-Norton Disney Lincolnshire

Penclawwd Gower Peninsula                          Norton Disney Lincolnshire

09-Riseley Bedfordshire       10-Whipton Exeter

Riseley Bedfordshire                                        Whipton Exeter

11-Porton Down Wiltshire       12-Whitford Point Gower Peninsula

Porton Down Wiltshire                                      Whitford Point Gower Peninsula

13-Avonmouth Bristol      14-Norwich Norfolk

Avonmouth Bristol                                           Norwich Norfolk

15-Little Heath Norfolk      16-Nancekuke Cornwall

Little Heath Norfolk                                          Nancekuke Cornwall


The Grey Country-work in progress

Throughout my photographic practice I have engaged in documenting what might be called ‘peripheral places’, sometimes places literally on the edge — of cities or countries – but also pockets of space that seem self-contained, primed with their own sense of purpose, yet often empty, unnoticed, in-between and overlooked when we cross over the inter-zone between permitted territories of rurality and urbanity. They may be the by-products of urban development, they may be border areas or roadside wastelands, or simply off-centre, marginal to the flows of human existence and activity… a grey country.

I was brought up in a rural area that over time succumbed to the expansion of the nearby city into another suburban outpost; in recent years I have been drawn to explore the places that remind me of this landscape of my youth. My interest has been to comment on the tensions between the man-made and the natural landscape, and to explore the interzones that hold these same tensions.

In this instance the work focuses on the edges of the city I live in, Cork City. This my way of coming to terms with the place I live in, a means of connecting myself to the city I choose to be in, which is not the city I grew up in, and also a way of trying to define the city and its disconnectedness to its rural/semi-rural surrounds. (As this is a work in progress it is envisaged it will expand to cover other cities of Ireland.)

The work is in some ways a narrative of the economic crisis. The landscape that interests me is one that is normally overlooked, abandoned and abused, but it is also a landscape that was beginning to be conquered – albeit not benignly – during the economic boom, and now that the boom has exploded, it suffers in many ways more than any other space in our surrounds.

Untitled #01.From the series: The Grey Country 2013      Untitled #02.From the series: The Grey Country  2013

Untitled #03.From the series: The Grey Country  2013      Untitled #04.From the series: The Grey Country  2013

Untitled #05.From the series: The Grey Country  2013      Untitled #06.From the series: The Grey Country  2013

Untitled #07.From the series: The Grey Country  2013      Untitled #09.From the series: The Grey Country  2013

Untitled #08.From the series: The Grey Country  2013      Untitled #10.From the series: The Grey Country  2013

Untitled #11 From the series: The Grey Country

Guest Lecturer@ School of Art + Design, Limerick Institute of Technology

Guest Lecturing @ School of Art & Design, Limerick Institute of Technology

Just spent the last 2 weeks as guest lecturer in photography with the Lens-Based Media BA students at the School of Art & Design, Limerick Institute of Technology.
During my time there I got the students to undertake a studio based photographic project, in which they selected a historical portrait and re-interpreted it in their own way photographically. At the end of the module they had an exhibition of the works in the main entrance area of the college. Really great work from the students!!


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