⁞ Patrick Hogan: solitude and madness ⁞

Behind The Garden Wall© Patrick Hogan, Behind the Garden Wall, from the project Solitary, Half Mad.

Animal In The Dark #1© Patrick Hogan, Animal In The Dark #1, from the project Solitary, Half Mad.

excerpt of a conversation between Patrick Hogan and Stephen Tierney, published in The Interior Prospect.

ST – Having grown up myself in the Tipperary countryside I remember many echoes of your works atmospheres in the empty houses we would explore when we were young. I am interested in how views of interiors can be used to communicate or suggest meaning. Regarding your series Solitary, half mad, which I believe has a fictive aspect to it, did some of the interiors that you created have some personal resonance for you?

PHWhen I began this project, I decided to move from the urban area where I had been living, to a small cottage in the Tipperary countryside. All of the interiors that I photographed were found around the area where I live but they have no direct relevance to me, other than to say that they were chosen and photographed with a degree of empathy.
As I had been living alone and also working on this project alone for six months and on a very low budget, you could say that the overall series has absorbed a mood and a tone that I don’t think would have emerged otherwise.
Initially, I was interested in the notion that romantic ideals of solitude and escapism are often more fantastical than reality will ultimately offer. Regarding meaning, I wanted to find a way to communicate this sense of tension between reality and fantasy. All of the interiors that I photographed were rooms where people lived or died alone. For the most part, everything was photographed as I found it. This was important. By paying particular attention to how these interiors were composed and lit, I could bring a sense of theatre to these very real situations. The sequencing of interior and exterior pictures and the significantly small number of pictures used in the final sequence, leaves enough space between the images to enable the viewer to form their own interpretation. In this sense, I think meaning is communicated by suggestion rather than direction, and relies on an element of elusiveness.

Table© Patrick Hogan, Table, from the project Solitary, Half Mad.

Animal In The Dark #2© Patrick Hogan, Animal In The Dark #2, from the project Solitary, Half Mad.

ST – The interiors seem to reflect a life of exclusively solitary existence and both attract and repel through curiosity and food. Are these found spaces?

PHYes, all of the interiors are found spaces. Over the six months of the project, I met with and photographed people who live alone or in remote areas and also photographed the unused house as I mentioned. When I met people, I would usually begin with a portrait but soon found that the interiors seemed more interesting and were places that could hold more meaning than a portrait. In the end, none of the portraits were used.
The tension between attraction and repulsion that you mention was important throughout this project. Some of the interiors were photographed in what could be described as a forensic manner, like the bedroom, using a wide angle lens to include as much of the bed as possible and photographing it as I found it. On the other hand, by controlling the light and considering the camera view-point, the colour palette when printing and finally the framing, I could bring a somewhat seductive quality to these images. On closer inspection of course, we can see that in most cases, we are looking at scenes of neglect and often poverty. In this sense the visual language employed relies on a contradiction and I think meaning is communicated through this opposition.


Animal In The dark #3© Patrick Hogan, Animal In The Dark #3, from the project Solitary, Half Mad.

Inside The Wood #2© Patrick Hogan, Inside The Wood #2, from the project Solitary, Half Mad.

║ Anna Rackard ║

Anna Rackard2

© Anna Rackard, Untitled, from the series Farmers

Anna Rackard

© Anna Rackard, Untitled, from the series Farmers

‘Farmers’ is an exploration of contemporary rural identity in Ireland. Specifically it examines the role of women in farming and their invisibility within the family farm. Women have always been involved in farming in Ireland, usually as a spouse, sister or daughter.

Studies show that despite the process of modernisation rural farming identity is still based on a traditional, patriarchal construct – the visible representation of the family farm is usually of the male farmer who owns the land, is subject to taxation and entitled to social security. Most rural women have no legal or professional status unless they are farm owners. A report published by the NDP Gender Equality Unit in 2002 showed that two-thirds of men owned their farms through inheritance, compared with one twelfth of women.
Despite the level of input a woman (usually a wife) put in on a farm she would more often be classified as ‘farmer’s wife’ instead of ‘farmer’. The women in ‘Farmers’ are not meant to be archetypes, it is not a survey of all women farmers, but it is a sample of some of the people who fall into that category. Some of these women farm with their husbands, others farm with a daughter or a son and some farm on their own. Some of them own their farms jointly with their spouse, some inherited the farm through being widowed and others inherited from a parent or other relative. The point is not how much work an individual woman may contribute to an individual farm but that they do contribute (on a national level) to the farming labour force and that their work, no matter how many or few hours should be recognised as farm work, and the women themselves as farmers.

Anna Rackard

To see more of Anna’s work click here

║ Paul Seawright ║

© Paul Seawright, Map, from the series Hiden: Afghanistan, 2002

© Paul Seawright, Mounds, from the series Hiden: Afghanistan, 2002

“An Imperial War Museum, London commission, to make a new artwork in response to the attacks on Sept 11th and the war in Afghanistan for the museums permanent collection. The exhibition HIDDEN has toured to Spain, Greece, USA, Germany, UK, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, France and South Korea. Seawright was commissioned by the BBC to record an audio diary of his trip. Afghanistan: Ashes to Dust was produced by Richard Lehnert for BBC Radio and a 30 minute documentary was made by MINT PRODUCTIONS for the Profiles series on BBC 4 television in 2002.”

More of Paul’s work can be seen here

║ David Blackmore ║

© David Blackmore, Reception Area, The metropolitan Children’s Court, Dublin, Eire

© David Blackmore, Holding Cells, Rathfarnham Garda Station, Dublin, Eire

“I was working on ‘Detox’ from 2003-2005. I was initially attracted to the vividness of the blue lighting without really knowing why the light was used. Through research I found that the lights are used to deter intravenous drug use, usually within public toilets, specific spaces in which habitual users have been known to frequent. The reasoning behind their use is that under blue light it is difficult to find a vein. Veins being a blue/green colour do not appear visible to the eye under such conditions therefore restricting intravenous drug use within these spaces.

‘Detox’ deals with the stark contrast that exists between this arresting colour and the functional purpose of its installation in pubic spaces. The work enters into a discourse surrounding addiction and the control of the state and semi-public organisations. Heroin, along with crack cocaine above all other substances, seem to possess such power over the individuals concerned. For me each light, apart from performing a desired function, stands as a form of vigil light in the same way a lighthouse warns approaching ships.

David Blackmore, from an interview that can be found here

More of his work can be seen here