Ireland, during the so called ‘Tiogar Ceilteach’, or ‘Celtic Tiger’ years was subject to drastic changes. Cultural and economic changes led to massive growth. Anthony Haughey’s work settlement set out to document these changes of dramatic economic growth, and the effects on the Irish landscape. The preceding fifteen years has seen the population shift from indigenous Irish to a ‘new Irish’ including migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees from more than one hundred different countries. In order to benefit from lucrative tax breaks developers, and wealthy individuals took to hastily building domestic properties for a quick profit. This along with dubious building ethics helped to create around 620 ghost estates. The ‘Tiogar Ceilteach’ economy collapsed. Haughey’s resulting series documents the new landscape, empty housing estates built on previously picture perfect landscapes complete with the artificial hills created by the earth moving machinery.
Anthony Haughey’s Settlement is a great comparison to the work I have been doing on the new buildings in Katy and Brookshire. Haughey shoots between sunset and sunrise so that he can avoid any confrontation with security guards that regularly patrol the area. This is a problem that I have had, having been removed from every construction site that I have photographed. Sunday is the only day that I can successfully make work. Haughey is also concerned with lighting, and shooting at this time reduces each photograph to the key elements of land and manmade constructions. The early morning winter light is the best time for me to photograph, I want to achieve that winter washed out aesthetic reminiscent of Stephen Shore.