Seen together the photographs constitute an arresting narrative, and a troubling portrait of a fairytale landscape disfigured by the insensitivities of contemporary redevelopment.

Old abandoned stone cottages, for centuries part of Ireland’s rural life, are pictured cheek by jowl with their modern successors, sterile dwellings whose form and features lack even the smallest measure of sympathy with their environment.

Pelly’s photographs explore the many contrasts evoked by this juxtaposition of old and new, of organic & industrial, and question the readiness with which the country’s social planners have embraced such change.

In a conscious attempt to emphasise this sense of change, Pelly makes an important distinction in his depiction of the parallel architectures. Older buildings are shot from inside, their dust-filled rooms with moss-covered shirts still folded on iron beds and shoes still in cupboards, presided over by ranks of forsaken religious icons. A feeling of ghostly romanticism abounds, of nostalgia & the passing of time.

The new structures, by contrast, are seen from the outside, confronted head-on by Pelly’s camera. Their perfect symmetry & simple composition recall the forms of Lego, their manicured gardens & sense of the unreal, the atmosphere of a dolls house. Seen in the same warm, soft evening light, their brash, chemical colours intimidate the subdued palette of their surroundings and evoke feelings of foreboding and anxiety.

Skills Exhibitions