Images by Mark McGuinness
Slowly Westward: A Journey Through a Folded Landscape
After working as a freelance commercial assistant, Mark McGuinness began focusing on long term personal projects, and in 2018 started an MA in Photography at Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture in Helsinki. His current project is focused on 19th century colonial activities in Ireland, particularly the mapping of Ireland, and the affects these activities had on Irish cultural identity and representation.
At the beginning of the 19th century, one of the most significant acts of modern colonisation began; the mapping of the entire British Empire. Using the island of Ireland as a testing ground for their tools and methodology, a specially created group from the British military, known as the Ordnance Survey began the largest and most comprehensive cartographical undertaking the world has ever seen. McGuinness followed a map which listed the original triangulation points used to create the first OS map of the island of Ireland. This construction mirrors the work of the OS but acts as a counter-balance to their subjective interpretation of the land.
It is a challenge to narrow all of a country’s talented practitioners into five individuals, but identifying five artists that represent the diversity of practices is an undertaking that members of the Futures Photography Platform like to take on.
Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Futures pools together the resources and talent programmes of leading photography institutions across Europe, in order to increase capacity, mobility, and visibility of its selected artists. By bringing together a wealth of resources and curatorial expertise, each talent selected by the Futures members gains access to an unprecedented network of professionals, markets and audiences.
PhotoIreland, the Irish member of the platform, is interested in putting forward artists that have demonstrated experimentation with the medium, appreciating those practices that engage with poignant socio-political issues creatively, with defined narratives and personal visual vocabularies. In the selection, special importance is placed on their career stage, as one of the aims of PhotoIreland is to facilitate extra support in establishing international connections and expanding their networks and, in short, helping professionalise their practice.
For the previous editions, PhotoIreland nominated Aisling McCoy, Barry W Hughes, Ciaran Óg Arnold, Dorje de Burgh, George Voronov, Jamin Keogh, Megan Doherty, Miriam O’ Connor, Róisín White, and Yvette Monahan. Now, on the following pages, you will discover the works of the five Irish artists, nominated in 2020.