Tristan Hutchinson is a Dublin-based photographer, working in medium and large formats. His work explores themes of communities in contemporary Ireland, examining the impact of economic, social and political endeavors against the backdrop of a transformed Ireland. He has exhibited work numerous places throughout Europe and the United States, including PhotoIreland and the Douglas Hyde Gallery. Today we share his series Took Strength To Tackle Those Hills.
Took Strength To Tackle Those Hills
“Took Strength to Tackle Those Hills is a photographic portrait of a community and a people experiencing particular economic and social transition. Located in Southwest Ireland, Cork Harbour has an important cultural maritime legacy and history of emigration. Between 1845 – 1950, an estimated 2.5 million left this shore for fresh beginnings in the New World, and Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic as she set sail on her final leg. The many wounded of the Lusitania, sank by a German U-boat in WW1, were bought ashore to Cobh, and its dead buried in the graveyards.
Its dramatic topography of steep Victorian hinterland, lush greenbelt woods and forests, sits side by side with its manufactured opposites – chimney stacks of oil refineries, generating stations, and multinational corporations hidden behind hills and the waning of its curved harbour. The relics of industry past lie abandoned on its shores, the landscape scarred and irrevocably transformed, leaving behind the imprint of economic and political endeavors.
This uneasy alliance brings into question how an area, so rich in cultural and historical heritage, has become adversely affected by past political and economical decisions, suggesting complex relationships between politics, economy and community.
With cancer rates 44% above national average, Cobh aims to look at how and why ambiguous economic choices take prevalence and can be made at the detriment of its natural surroundings and human well-being. Portraits of its community and explorations of the landscape and vistas offer a glimpse into the idea of community, within the context of a larger sense of contemporary Ireland.
Today, with high unemployment, the demise of its domestic fishing business, and many of its traditional heavy industries gone due to overseas competition, this work scrutinizes the paradoxes and contradictions arising from a myriad of personal histories and backgrounds, and the realities facing many Cobh residents as they strive to move forward and maintain identity in uncertain times.”
To view more of Tristan’s work, please visit his website.