Iollann Ó Murchú
MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism - London College of Communication, 2022
Iollann Ó Murchú is a photographic artist working in and around the Irish landscape, focusing on its relationship with and uses within our contemporary society. He is currently studying an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. He holds a BSc in Multimedia from Dublin City University.
Ó Murchú’s work highlights the strained relationship we have with nature and our landscape. We have filled our surroundings with myth and lore. Stories of the past spill out into the present in many ways. However, we use the same landscapes as sites of control, exploitation and private gain within contemporary society. These landscapes often stand in a state of limbo, an unsolved grey area. Within the landscape, there is storytelling, legend, infinity. But it is a finite resource to profit from in whatever way possible.
As we continue to exploit our landscape for profit, we are reminded of what is being lost. What were once landscapes full of lore and myth in our landscape have now become sites for something darker, more sinister; sites that illuminate broken systems within our government and society. Ó Murchú’s work engages with these landscapes and sites, and how their meaning has often changed over time within contemporary society.
"The inspiration for this project grew from an attempt to create another project regarding Direct Provision in Ireland. I have grown up in close proximity to the Direct Provision accommodation centre yet have never stepped foot inside of it. This is due to both tight security systems in place and my own hesitations and fear of what might lay behind these barriers. Due to my past youth-influenced immaturity on the topic, I felt a responsibility to try gain access and create a project that would reveal the systems in place that keep people seeking asylum in a constant state of waiting.Having been unsuccessful in my attempts to gain access to this Center, I instinctively began photographing its surroundings, its borders, its barriers. I questioned what lay behind the surface of these images. Images of the howling sea, rope and stone. What was here before this and what is here now? Do these surroundings now reflect the mental state of those within Direct Provision? "