Trees from Germany
Essays by David Brett & Glenn Patterson
In November 2002 Belfast Exposed Photography commissioned John Duncan to produce a photographic work of Belfast post-conflict on the threshold of progress. Duncan has spent five years photographing the impact of regeneration brought about by renewed economic confidence in the city. In this work Duncan explores some of the realities of the apartments, hotels and offices that have now been built and in particular how they interface with pre-existing aspects of the city.
In an image central to the work we see a twelfth of July bonfire competing for space on the skyline with the newly erected Days Hotel. In the next image at the front of the hotel a new lawn is being rolled out towards the mural that declares `’You are now entering Loyalist Sandy Row”. The photographs go on to reveal the gated compounds and private gardens inside the new apartment complexes that offer sanctuary to some of the cities residents. Alongside these are photographs of those parts of the city where traditional sectarian interfaces are still being reinforced. In one image we see a new town house enclosed on one side by a succession of fences. These start with a wooden garden variety and rise to a two storey steel mesh construction that marks this out from other more standard suburban developments. Through the work Duncan presents us with a detailed account of the current phase in Belfast’s evolution.
About the Artist
John Duncan studied Documentary Photography in Newport and Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art. He has been one of the editors of Source Photographic Magazine since 1994.
About the Publisher
Belfast Exposed is Northern Ireland’s premier contemporary photography organisation, commissioning, publishing and showing work by artists and photographers from Northern Ireland and across the world.