Here and There

It’s been over a month since I returned from my residency in the rural village of Pietrafitta, Italy. The work I brought back was in the realm of the unknown: disposable cameras to be processed, pinhole images to be developed, and notes to decipher.

This weekend, finally, I was able to print the photographs from the camera obscura having set up a make shift darkroom in the bathroom. The resulting images are strange and unsettling, partly because they are in negative; black skies, blurry church towers and landscapes, multiple images that I don’t remember taking. In contrast the photographs from the disposable cameras – seemingly cheap, artless snaps – veer between garish saturated colour to bleached out, low key hues. They are in turn also curiously fascinating.

Back in the old Schoolhouse in St Augustine’s, I have been trying to put shape on both the images and my thoughts regarding the residency. I return again to questions that preoccupied me during my stay. What is it like to grow up in a remote community? What factors influence ones decision to stay or leave? How does it feel to return? For my part, I left London in the early 90’s, and by happenstance, moved to a small, rural village in Ireland. I ended up staying for over 20 years.

The work Analogue Days, explores notions of place and what it means to live somewhere. The autobiographical is put in relation to wider societal and economic contexts such as communality, rural depopulation and displacement. To date, my research has provided neither answers nor solutions – it simply raises more questions.