These photographs are taken in locations that were used as IRA training camps during the 1970’s. There is a political and emotional ambivalence to what at first seem to be natural landscapes as they exist today, but which have fragments and traces hidden beneath the visible surface, disappearing from the landmark yet still flowing through the collective memory — surviving on a latent, unseen level somewhere between stasis and change… between wanting to remember and trying to forget.
This work looks at how a political situation can fuse with a physical landscape and asks to what depth it can tell us about past and present human experience. In doing so it reveals aspects of the social and political context of Northern Ireland, of intimacy and unease and of the highest and lowest peaks in the spectrum of human experience. It asks how an external environment can affect inner states of consciousness and how history can manifest and conceal itself within a place.
This project is an attempt to express and explore how feelings and personal experience can be communicated, to emotionally identify with my father and to connect on a different level. The work addresses identity, memory and place and asks how history is handed down from generation to generation, contrasting the “objective truth” of the photograph with the oral tradition of story telling — times and places become merged together with fragments of truth and multiple truths existing in one situation.
— Paddy Kelly, Belfast, Ireland