This little series is part of the ongoing ‘The Photo Course’ project, which explores the enviornment of a Photographic Course in Dublin.Part of this work reflects on the ‘void’ that I experience every year at this particular time, when I say goodbye to another group of students that I have worked with in the college.
There is a sense of vacancy throughout. In the last couple of years, on the final day of college, I have become accustomed to the ritual of ‘hanging around’ – waiting until everyone has left the building and I have an overwhelming feeling of being alone. It provides some space – to think, to reflect and to photograph. I contemplate the year(s), the people, the conversations, the activities and the struggles of the preceding months. The natural thing for me to do, at this point, is to photograph. The approach is studied - meditative, maybe. The physical surroundings and minutae within it are photographed when it is bereft of the energy and synergy of students and tutors. There is always, in my mind, the reality of times relentless melt - the passing of years and the subtle changes to the environment left by the transience of people. Thus, the work speaks of ‘detachment’.
The work is also about subtle and ephemeral micro-events which happen in the duration of a day, a week, a year, which become part of the history of the building. As we move forward we create and we construct. We develop and perform ideas and discourse physically in and on the environment. We shape that environment through our mental and physical interactions, day upon day, year upon year. We also destruct. Destruction is part of the creative process. In my practice I have always been attracted to subtle traces of destruction, be it in this project or other projects (Note to self: Perhaps it is the balance of construction and destruction, the cycles of each, that are the core of this and other work).
The act of photographing these traces, these physical detachments, this gentle destruction, actually helps me to grasp and ‘possess’ the illusive feelings and losses that I experience at this time. Photography becomes a kind of meditative process, a process which helps me to psychologically bridge these transitions (Note to self: Is it all about loss?) It speaks to me, in a profound way, of a certain reality of these transient, ephemeral relationships which are built year upon year between myself and my students and, in a less profound way, of the relationships between (photographic) discourse, practice and the environment (of photography).