Today I’m delighted to feature Ruth Connolly, author of our recent book If you lived here, you’d be home by now, who tells us the story behind five of her favourite images from the project.
I approached these houses like any other, but when I went to take the picture, I heard a rustling noise and a horse came out from nowhere. It was the only half-finished house I’d seen that was being used in any way, except for one I saw that seemed to have been used by squatters. I really like this photograph for the presence of the horse, as it’s a nice interruption from the silence in most of the other photographs.
02 Broken Fence
I photographed this broken fence on a day where the lighting was very harsh, and when I got the film developed, I liked the fence but I wasn’t happy with the light. A couple of months later I returned to the fence again to take this photograph. As I wasn’t really keeping a record of places I’d been, it took me a while to find the fence but I was glad to have eventually found it, as I see it as a sort of metaphor for failure- the most basic function of a fence is simply to stay upright- and also a nod towards the trespassing I had been doing, going into backyards of of non-houses, with broken fences.
This was my favourite housing estate. The houses, though now in disrepair, had such potential. They faced onto the river, and there was a show house at the front that still looked good. It made me sad that such a beautiful place was never put to use. I returned a couple of years later, and I found that most of the houses had finally been moved into; the lawns were cut, they had been fixed up and repainted, and there were childrens’ toys and signs of life everywhere.
This is a house in the small town where I am also from in the West of Ireland. It had always bothered me, and it was the first estate I photographed. I photographed it, not for any real reason, but it was one of the photographs I first saw that gave me the idea to delve deeper into the subject.
This is one of my favourite photographs, because the lawns are taken care of, the little trees have been planted, and the walls are painted – everything looks as it would in the brochure. It’s not until you look closer, that you see the stickers left on the windows, the street lamp has no light, and other little signs of emptiness. I feel like this could be used as a backdrop for the film ‘Stepford Wives’ for its uncanniness.