A Landscape of Crisis: Photographing the Post-Celtic Tiger Ghost Estates
by Anthony Haughey
In the chapter “A Landscape of Crisis: Photographing Post-Celtic Tiger Ghost Estates” in Imagining Irish Suburbia in Literature and Culture, photographer Anthony Haughey reflects on his recent work surrounding the failed developments of Irish suburbia, following the 2008 collapse of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy. Haughey focuses on a series of photographs he has titled Settlement and discusses in detail the abundant “ghost estates” which have overtaken abandoned development sites. The author makes the connection between the degradation of the landscape and future homes, to the collapse of the Celtic Tiger economy. In addition, he considers the immense amount of waste that was produced after the development was abandoned in hopes of opening a discussion on how to create a more sustainable future for Ireland. Haughey explores the transitional stages between the past, present and future of Ireland and the conflicts the country has faced.
Furthermore, he investigates the hidden truths behind photography, which are often covered up or not shown in the media concerning Ireland. In this section, the author examines the travel of tourists to remote communities in Ireland. Here, he notes that because tourists expect these communities to be idyllic and nostalgic, they are often portrayed as such in media rather than what they are honestly like. Lastly, Haughey sheds light on the technique he used while photographing Settlement in order to represent the conflict in the landscape authentically, opening further discussion surrounding photography and the sublime. This was achieved by Haughey photographing at the transitional moments between dusk and dawn to capture the luminous qualities of the images.
Anthony Haughey is a photographer and lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology. His work is primarily concerned with borders and the well-being of those affected by them.
Haughey, Anthony. “A Landscape of Crisis: Photographing Post-Celtic Tiger Ghost Estates.” In Imagining Irish Suburbia in Literature and Culture, 301-321. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2018.