Architecture, iphoneography, Ireland, Landscapes, photojournalism, Uncategorized

Coastal Protection Works at Bastardstown, Kilmore

From March to July 2017, I documented the construction of Coastal Protection Works at Bastardstown (i’m sure there is an interesting place-name history), Kilmore, County Wexford, Ireland. I documented the process while taking beach walks with our dog Pepper.

The past few years brought drastic change to sections of the coastline here in South East Wexford, and Bastardstown – or Seaview as it is also known – was no exception. Large sections of the coastline were eroded during the storms of 2014, and it continues to this day. See some of my earlier posts documenting the storms.

Erosion is an ongoing process. The land is always changing, whether its seismic movement, man-made, or the sea reshaping the coastline; it is in constant flux.

When the erosion of land threatens somebody’s home they are left with few choices: Sell up and move, sit tight and wait for the inevitable (which may take decades), or take action and use resources available to protect their land and home.

This project was commissioned by a private client in order to protect their beachfront property from eroding to the point of their house collapsing into the sea.

Large rocks were transported from a quarry on heavy duty trucks, and slowly, and strategically placed along a section of coastline to prevent or delay progressive erosion due to storms, high tides, rising sea levels, and other factors.

It is questionable as to whether the placement of these rocks increases risk of erosion elsewhere along the coast. As a long-time and regular visitor to the beach, it is my opinion that the introduction of Rock Protection around the access slipway altered the surrounding beach landscape and erosion patterns. Some people I have spoken to on this subject think that erosion in this area was exacerbated after the construction of the Kilmore Quay Marina.

There is a notable lack of tree planting in this area. It is hard to grow trees here – though not all species – due to salty sea air, and relentless winds. Tree planting would go some way towards slowing down the erosion process. However, it might take away from your view of the sea, which, over time, may get a little too close for comfort.

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Many of the photos are taken from the beach access slipway which already has rocks protecting it, and can be seen in the foreground above.

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7th April, my first sighting of the Swallows or Swifts. I wondered what would become of their homes as the construction progressed.

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The beach access slipway. the handrail is now in very poor condition.

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All photos were taken with the iPhone, and batch processed in Adobe Lightroom.

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Architecture, ghost estates, Photography

A sense of Place (Ghost Estates)

Some of the photos I have been posting here as part of my Ghost Estate (temporary title) series have perhaps been a little too descriptive. What I am trying to achieve with the photos is to convey a sense of place, an atmosphere, and to use the phrase again, something just beneath the surface.

There is a very fine line between descriptive and suggestive (if that is the right word). During a recent tutorial where I was showing a very loose edit of around 80 photos,  a fellow student suggested that there are opportunities for two projects in the collection: It all comes down to editing. I could choose a set of photos that are great, and descriptive, and have immediate visual impact. Or, I could choose a set using my intuition, my feelings, and perhaps take a few chances.

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Architecture, ghost estates, Photography, photojournalism

Ghost Estates, Success Rates, and Taking Chances.

I am being reasonably conservative with my shooting – finances are tight – and if I were shooting digital I would probably shoot off at least a hundred frames per location. As it is I’m going through on average a roll (36 exposures) per location, depending on interesting features, lighting, time constraints, etc.

So far I have shot around ten rolls of film for the Ghost Estate photo project; thats around 360 photos. If I get three or four good shots per roll I’m reasonably happy.

That seems like a pretty low success rate, and maybe it is, perhaps I should be aiming higher. The problem with film is that each frame is a risk. Sometimes what you thought would be a great photo (at time of shooting) turns out to be mediocre. And sometimes you take a chance and hope for the best, and you might get lucky. What you see in front of you is not always what the camera sees.

Taking a good photo is relatively easy – with practice. Taking consistently good photos that reflect your true intentions is a totally different ball game. You win some, you lose some.

One, possibly two of the photos below might make the final edit.

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ghost estates, Photography, photojournalism

The search continues (for ghost estates)

Here are a few shots from a recent photo-shoot on a ghost estate in the South East of Ireland. Last week in Athlone, a toddler drowned in a small pool of water on an estate similar to this one. My heart goes out to the grieving family.

Access to sites like this is generally easy, and as you can see in the first photo, some kids have turned the abandoned building supplies into a temporary playground. I have years of experience on building sites, but I was still treading very carefully to avoid getting a rusty nail in my foot.

I have paired these two images together as there are some visual similarities, despite the difference in scale of the subjects. This is where sequencing of images plays a key role in the presentation of a series of photos.

I don’t know if either of these images will make it into the final edit, but its always good to plan ahead as the deadline approaches.

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ghost estates, Photography, photojournalism, Uncategorized

Evaluating the Evidence

I stopped taking photos of ghost estates for a while. What exactly I was making photographs of, was not completely clear. I have a better picture now of what i want to show or express, but am aware that this needs to evolve and develop as the library of images grows.

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