Words and pictures: Enda Bowe
The project titled At Mirrored River was inspired by the Gaelic word Teannalach (pron. “chann-ah-lack”). Teannalach is a Gaelic word used in the West of Ireland which means awareness. In particular, it is awareness of that which is intangible and hushed; of being aware of the quietness and presence of people and the spaces they inhabit. With this in mind, l sought to capture the teannalach of stories and dreams within a singular town.
The project is entirely made in an ordinary small industrial town although it is not a literal documentation about the town. The chosen space is deliberately reflective of other similar industrial towns across the world.
It was important for me to construct an unrecognizable geographical picture of a town which didn’t have recognizable iconic images, to avoid the obvious. I wanted to look at the ordinary every day spaces we inhabit and our ordinary daily lives because for me, the ordinary is where all the of the universal beauty, magic and possibilities lie. As the late influential writer John McGahern said, “ the ordinary is the most precious thing in life”.
In focusing the work and containing the project within one town and its inhabited spaces, my personal challenge was to find the light and the beauty in the ordinary, the hope and the optimism where others might only initially see the mundane and the routine.
As the project unfolded, it became less about the location of the project and more about mapping the feelings contained within the town. At Mirrored River is about the awareness of who we are, the questions we ask and the dreams we project. It is about the teannalach of a place.
At Mirrored River received the international Solas Photography Award 2015 and has been nominated for the Prix Pictet Award 2016 and the Deutsche Borse Foundation Photography Prize 2016.