INNOCENT LANDSCAPES REVISITED: 17 / OCT / 2009
A SLIGHT CHANGE OF PLAN
Posted by David Farrell
When the nice people at Source approached me in early September to do this my initial thoughts were to do some general blogs before getting to the subject I was going to cover i.e: my continued and intended final involvement with Innocent Landscapes. While sorting out technical issues and getting my head around writing, a patch of particularly nice weather enveloped Ireland and so I had to move in terms of revisiting and picture making. In any event I didn’t want this thing to be exactly contemporaneous, in order to buy time to construct some sort of narrative around how I would lay out this project to those unfamiliar with it. I also didn’t want to return to my days at the Sunday Business Post where I had to rush home to process my 8x10 prints for the next day in one of those much-favoured shower-darkrooms that freelancers used to inhabit. The nature of my way of working these days is to make photographs and to create a space for reflection. Anyway as Lennon from Liverpool said: "life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans". For the last three weekends I have been photographing the landscape of a resumed search in Co. Meath. It is part of new searches that were initiated three years ago and are being co-ordinated by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR). These are discreet searches by forensic archaeologists as opposed to the initial Gardai* lead investigations. I had intended holding off for as long as possible from discussing this particular search but on Thursday, at an inquest into the successful recovery by this search team of Danny MCIlhone’s remains at Ballynultagh, Co Wicklow in November 2008, it was announced that "that regular contact between the IRA and forensic investigators is guiding searches for people abducted, murdered and secretly buried during the North's Troubles", and that top scientific detective Geoff Knupfer, who is leading a painstaking quest to locate the remains of the so-called Disappeared, said that: "recent and ongoing talks with the Provisionals has led to fresh digs". In this becoming public I am making a judgment here to make public in this forum what I have witnessed recently, I hope this is a right decision. However it is important to give a context and background to this complex and layered story and in the next blog or two I will hopefully introduce this work succinctly particularly to those not familiar with it, for there are details in this narrative that are frequently overlooked or somehow not grasped. I was somewhat taken aback by some of the information in the press announcement but I will address this later. *Gardai - Police Force in the South Of Ireland.