Southern Tense is a continuation of Overgrown South. Overgrown South considers the tension between the South of the past, a contemporary South, and how it is often portrayed in a broader culture, “through recognizable and at times stereotypical images.”
Southern Tense considers the ambiguity of a place that is defined by something as nebulous as time. Locations are not mentioned but these are visible features of the Southern United States landscape — not necessarily untouched or natural but topographical inflection, realistic and detailed through geography, autobiography and metaphor.
— Shaun H. Kelly, Oxford, Mississippi, USA
In Catharsis: Images of Post-Conflict Belfast, I explore to what degree the language of the snapshot contributes to or obscures our understanding of time and place. Juxtaposing snapshot photography from my Belfast family album with newer documentary images of urban Belfast in the post-conflict present, I situate each image in relation to an unspoken memory, and a troubled history, while marking each piece with its GPS coordinates, as a reference to its military historical legacy. Each site photographed is a former ‘Troubles’ site, now a Tourist site. Walking along the Peace walls on its Protestant side, I recall personal family album images taken on the Catholic side. The GPS is a reminder of Belfast’s history with its absent military ‘presence.’ The stark contrast in scale and genre, between the personal album images and the more public documents helps shape an understanding of the gap between them.
— Angela Kelly, Rochester, New York, USA
We see the suburbs as ugly; we lament the loss of natural beauty.
We rush around by day filling every second, yet feeling completely unfulfilled.
And while we sleep wondering what it’s all about and perhaps dreaming of what once was,
the silent beauty of the landscape returns; altered, yet still there.
People have described my work as dark and menacing, with a foreboding quality, but I think this is more to do with the viewer’s own perceptions, formed by influences like human nature, upbringing and a paranoid media; which push the idea that bad things happen at night. For me, these are places that have a certain magic to them, rather than menace.
While the urban landscape is full of activity by day with people and cars, my photos are absent of these so as not to distract the viewer. There is a distinct absence of people because human nature first draws our attention to figures, and away from the landscape. The focus of my photography isn’t on people but on place, on the landscape itself.
My series, Suburbs at Night, is an ongoing exploration started in 2009 that attempts
to seek out these spaces and the landscape that remains, although forever changed, still timeless.
— Ben Kelly, Melbourne, Australia
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