Why do houses become abandoned and ultimately fall in to ruin?

They were obviously someone’s home at some point in time and one would have thought that
they could have been someone’s home in the future. And just as houses fall into the earth,
so eventually do trees. Perhaps everything has a finite lifetime whether living or inanimate.

This project is based on an imagination that the two scenarios are linked. In fact trees are used
in the construction of many dwellings and often it is the wood in a building that falls first.

Since the earliest times, trees have been entwined in Irish folklore. There are mystical trees and
there are magical trees. For example hawthorn was believed to be where fairies meet. Elder
wood was thought to bring bad luck. Trees also give their names to Irish towns: RossCarberey is
derived from “the wood of the pilgrims” and Youghal “yew wood”. In many Irish woodlands the
ruins of dwellings can be seen. These may include houses, walls, barns etc.. Such is their
importance that many are protected by law.

As I travel around the county, I see many houses that have fallen into disrepair. I am attracted to
the old stone farmhouses and have witnessed some falling apart within years. I am sure that
eventually these once fine buildings will be covered by the earth and disappear forever. I think of
the quotation from Huxley “ending is better than spending”. Are we now predisposed to abandon
old houses to be reclaimed by nature? Although with the current housing shortage several
neglected houses in my area have now been renovated back into viable dwellings. So perhaps we
are returning to mending being better than spending.

So with this motivation, I photographed trees in ancient woodlands, mainly in West Cork, and
superimposed ghostly pictures of buildings as fading spirits of the past. The idea is to give an
impression of what might have been not a reconstruction of reality. Through the suggestion of
the buildings in the photographs, the eye is drawn in to a subconscious suggestion of disruption,
and then can imagine a fine building instead.

I have lived in West Cork for over 20 years and spend my creative time photographing the land
and sea as I travel around Ireland. I am primarily a landscape photographer and use digital media
to capture the beauty of the surroundings. Eventually the images are transferred to print on fine
art photographic paper.

My inspiration comes from the land and sea combined with the constantly changing light:
clouds, rain, mist and bright blue skies. Hopefully I can convey the sense of place. My
photographic style is mainly a “romantic” approach to imagery that creates an atmosphere that is
slightly “antique”.