July 03, 2016

Ireland XXI (Clifton Castle, Ireland)

After two sessions focused on working with landscape, the session at Clifton Castle seemed like a return to normal for Ingrid and I - ruined architecture was certainly the theme for the first week of the project.
Clifden Castle is a ruined manor house west of the town of Clifden in the Connemara region of County Galway, Ireland. It was built c. 1818 for John D'Arcy in the Gothic Revival style. Unfortunately, during the 1845 famine, the tenants the D'Arcy family relied upon for rent was devastated, and by 1850, the family was forced to sell it to cover debts. Eventually, the house became uninhabited after 1894 it fell into disrepair. In 1935, ownership passed to a group of tenants, who were to own it jointly, and it quickly became a ruin.
I'd added Clifden to the "list of places to photograph" on the plethora of photographs of it online, which indicated it was somewhat isolated from the near by town of Clifden; this was in turn confirmed by Google Earth, which clearly shows the ruin surrounded by fields. The walk down to the ruin winds between fields, and became a little concerning, when we passed several groups of people walking back to the top of the road...how many people would we find in the ruin, at the end of the road.

As luck would have it, we arrived just as the last group was leaving, and apart from a short interruption by a group of Mormons, Ingrid and I worked uninterrupted for close to an hour.

As Ingrid and I worked our way around the ruin, it became readily apparent it was a much "newer" ruin; much of the original wall plaster was intact, and while it was built of stone, the colourful blocks were quite different from those used in the abbeys and castles we'd worked in elsewhere.
An incredibly consistent theme in the images made at Clifden was doorways; from the grand main entrance to internal doorways seen through other doorways, the entire place seemed to push Ingrid and I to explore the potential of portals.
The last set of images Ingrid and I made at Clifden Castle focused on a pair of alcoves at the back of the ruin. The alcoves were just high enough to fit one Ingrid, and though they were visible from the road high above the ruins, I set the camera up and prepped the images with Ingrid clothed, and then we worked swiftly with each alcove, Ingrid moving through a handful of poses in each, before we packed up, and started the long walk back up the hill.

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