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.