AA Bar / AA Gallery Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture
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Achill is Ireland’s windy, westernmost island and a naturally secluded place. Its sloping peaks rise above undulating fields of scrub trees and thick underbrush, brown bogs and mottled knolls, giving way to rock-strewn valleys, sheltered coves and the sea. The sky, receding into distant atmosphere or encroaching heavily over the land, might at any moment spoil the calm.
Linda Brownlee often spends August in Achill amongst family and friends. Captivated by the texture of its raw and unpredictable landscape, she returned alone during the off-season, when only a small number of everyday inhabitants remain. The series presented here is the result of photographic explorations she undertook with a group of local teenagers.
Photographed in their favourite spots, near their homes or sites chosen by Brownlee, these adolescent figures – resting or only hesitating within the camera’s frame – draw the eye into and across the island’s contours, revealing the shape of the land through the intimacy of their relationship to it. A tranquillity pervades Brownlee’s photographs that, despite rain or wind, stems from a sense of belonging. Her careful images capture the moody portrait of a place.