These photographs are strangely impressionistic but actually unretouched photographs of shops and other premises left empty by the sudden and traumatic collapse of Ireland’s late ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom.
Most are in the final throes of closing, though others, newly built, never made it into use.
Photographing them in frustration at this largely unspoken carnage in our highstreets, I struggled with the window reflections before the epiphany that the street-reflection was part of and actually completed the story- and I started too to even use my own shadow in the window to reveal parts of the image.
Often objects are left behind in the hurry of leaving, or simply abandoned- exquisite but empty display cases or rows of carefully-designed shelves and counters, and the detritus of cleanout, a ladder, dismounted and abandoned lighting rails or a lonely table with unread letters and discarded keys.
Laid bare, too, much of the stage-like dressing of their functional lives, breeze-block construction and drooping disconnected cables show a different face to the retail boom when Dublin property reached the same prices as Paris..
I am a professional artist working mostly in collage and photomontage, which I began, originally, based on a body of documentary photographs I took as a young man in the conflict in Northern Ireland where I grew up.
I still take many photographs and have a number of ongoing projects of 'street' photography, from which Ghost Shops developed.
This work was first exhibited in PhotoIreland Festival 2011 and was the most 'liked' exhibition of the Festival, as I think it touched a very raw nerve with the Irish public.
The irish people experienced a grave, I would say, psychic shock from the collapse of the economy here over the last few years and I hope that these pictures articulate to some extent the disorientation felt by many and maybe have served a little to raise conversation, at least record and perhaps, if just a tiny bit, transmute this collective experience.
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12 Mountjoy Parade Dublin 1 Ireland