Taking photographs of abandoned spaces is a practice that comes with a moral dilemma. On one hand it is trespassing on private space, possessions and memories. On the other hand perhaps it is important to show these spaces because they are beautiful and because they are overlooked and ignored. I feel that abandoned spaces need to be valued as they once were; their stories need to be told.
|James Flanagan's House|
Documenting private spaces comes with a sense of responsibility and respect for dwellings and their past inhabitants. I was recently allowed access to photograph the former home of a old man who has since passed on.
I will call him James Flanagan,
though this is not his real name.
|James Flanagan's Chair|
James Flanagan always sat in this chair next to the range in the back room. He lived alone for many years.
The other rooms in his cottage are preserved as 'best rooms' or 'parlours' and were little used.
|Kept for Best|
Places like these are time capsules. They are spaces from the past that sit firmly in the present, if we care to look.
A fascinating aspect of engaging with these spaces is that it can make you feel like you have travelled back in time. This can evoke all kinds of feelings of nostalgia and also sadness for beautiful places that really are museums of a kind.
|Morphy Richards Radio|
It is strange to experience a place without human existence. Without human existence but with memories stored in the objects left behind.
Though James Flanagan's house now lies empty it is still used to store fertiliser and farm equipment and sits at the heart of a working farm.
|Paperwork and Possessions|
Abandonment of built spaces is all around and probably always will be. Dereliction melts into the streets of our cities, towns and countryside, with spaces taken for granted and largely unvalued.
Soon the vernacular buildings of the past and near past will disappear. The 3 room roadside cottage is fast rotting into the ground to be replaced by the detached megalithic family home. Small homes of the past are no longer practical for families of today, but I feel that it is important to
preserve them in some way.
A photograph is an important social document;
a snapshot in time.