Spotted in rural Ireland on a road trip to the midlands.
In January 2013, before returning to Ireland after christmas holidays visiting Hanna’s parents, we spent a few days with Hanna’s brother who lives near Urjala in the South of Finland. He took us on a walk of the land surrounding his rural home. A local feature in the vicinity was an abandoned farmstead: A cluster of empty timber buildings on a raised plot of land overlooking a small winding river and a vast plain of flat land. Instead of the usual sounds of birds, animals, and activity, this farm was filled only with the sound of silence, interrupted by our footsteps in the snow, and an icy winter wind.
After roaming around between the buildings for a while, we took a walk through a small forest which covered a nearby knoll. Kalle – Hanna’s brother – explained to us how Lynx climb the trees and lie in wait for passing deer, and then pounce on the unsuspecting mammals. Using his tracking skills he then showed us some recent Lynx footprints. Shortly after this discovery, we turned towards home, and our pace quickened, despite the knee deep snow.
Two months has passed since visiting Clare Island in the west of Ireland: It seems like years. I first visited the island thirty years ago. My memories are vague, but I remember spending the night there after my great uncle – an island resident, and lighthouse keeper – insisted we spend the night.
Home, sweet (temporary) home. One thing I really loved about Clare Island was the fact that there were no manicured lawns anywhere. The small areas of land that were not in use for sheep grazing or agriculture were used to grow vegetables and herbs by, and for, the residents.
Traditional Currachs used for fishing in Clew Bay.
A few days before our arrival, a local man lost his life while using a currach similar to those in the photo. It was the first drowning on the island in 90 years, and the atmosphere was very solemn. The water was pretty choppy for August; I can only imagine how rough it gets during the stormy winter months.
We spent one full day on the beach – from low tide to high tide. It was possibly the best day we had all summer; 25C degrees, blue skies, no wind, and crystal clear waters. I swam more that day than I did during June and July.
Our point of departure/arrival on the mainland, with Clare Island’s distinct profile in the background.
I can’t wait to go back to Clare Island – ideally I would like to spend a full year there to experience the four seasons, and immerse myself in the islanders life. Until then, Clare Island, you remain in my thought and dreams.
Following on from my recent Vernacular Unpectacular posting, I was pointed – during a tutorial – in the direction of Raymond Moore, photographer; a man who in his own words tried to photograph “the magic that lies beneath the surface of things”.
The photographs below were taken prior to looking at Raymond Moore’s work, which is really interesting and challenging.
When I set out to document these rural vernacular buildings, I didn’t fully think about what exactly I was photographing. I guess there was some hidden desire to try and capture a sense of place, a sense of the history, some kind of resonant energy, and its entirely probable that these images also reflect some inner state of being at the time of pushing the button.