Day 33

With a slight delay returning to the UK due to the collapse of Cobalt Airlines, it gave me the opportunity to make another trip out to previously-photographed sites. As you’ll see from the following post, these shoots concentrated on the two large mosques that have fascinated me. But I had the opportunity of walking down to the construction area of the mosque on the Near East University site. It was a fascinating time exploring the skeletal internal space.

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It was intriguing seeing the working process of the construction – the rough concrete structure now almost complete in terms of the internal space of the building. It was a weekend when I shot these images (Sunday 21 October 2018) so the construction staff on duty weren’t working, but they were very welcoming and I had the run of the site for a few hours, during which a large storm approached. The images reflect the move from bright, high contrast light, to the softer and more muted tones that were produced whilst the heavens were opening outside.

What I didn’t realise at the time, when the rain was lashing down outside (and indeed inside) and the thunder was reverberating around the concrete structure, was that a few miles to the west of me was a Tornado! No wonder it went a little dark…

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And then once the rain and storm had abated I headed out of the site and drove along the Famagusta road, eastwards towards the completed mosque that I’d also photographed last year. I was effectively following the storm and the light, as it was dramatic to say the least. I found the block of flats that I’d previously photographed from, and headed back onto the roof.

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I then decided to find an alternative view, thinking that it was pointless to add to what was already a finalised series of the changing light, and so I went out into the neighbourhood to look at other possibilities.

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I was intrigued by the relationship between the monument and the vernacular surroundings. This is another form of relationship between the mosque and the surrounding populous.

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So it was once again a fascinating experience watching of the light and atmosphere, spending further time with this intriguing edifice, that seems to have really captured my attention. Having re-photograhed the mosque under construction, I can’t help but feel the need to return to see the progress over time, and to see the final manifestation of the largest mosque to be constructed outside Turkey, when it is complete.

Day 32 (one year on)

It has been fascinating to come back to Cyprus for the opening of the exhibition Layers of Visibility, curated by Liz Wells (Plymouth University) and Yiannis Toumazis (Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre). I can’t believe it’s actually here – the culmination of the various artist interpretations of Cyprus that have emerged from the 2013-2017 residencies. The four series of works I eventually edited and selected are referred to as Transitions I-IV. They reflect the various aspects of the transitioning landscape that I encountered in my travels around the city of Nicosia, and the wider island. If you’ve looked at the blog previously, you’ll recognise the works from the installation shots below…

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And whilst back, of course I had to revisit sites previously photographed. First on the list was the mosque on the Kyrenia road north out of Nicosia, that had fascinated me on the last day of the residency last year. As you can see from the images below, it has moved on in a year, albeit slowly it seems.

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Before heading back to the same viewpoint as last year, a number of other possibilities emerged, such as this…DSC_8058 copy 2

And then it was back to the familiar view in order to photograph the progress…

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Day 31

So here it is – the last post! As planned, I headed up to the site of the large Mosque that’s under construction adjacent to the Near East University campus right on the northern edge of Nicosia’s boundary. This is the one I’d photographed a little while ago, having made the decision to look into the sunset for that version (below).

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As I’d said in the post of that day, whilst this image emphasises the mass of the building, I’m still not sure it really works. So today’s attempt was to try and work a different version, that is more in keeping with other images in the series. The following contact sheet shows the development of today’s viewpoint. I wouldn’t normally make images of how something develops like this, but it seemed it might be useful in documenting the journey to the final image.

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I wanted to find a balance between the building as the focus of the image and the context of the University buildings on the left and the hill flag on the right. The landscape I was walking through to try and find the viewpoint was quite low lying in parts, making it difficult to get where I wanted to be without being too low.

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And then it was a question of waiting to see what happened as the light faded – a fitting final wait to make what was, hopefully, a final image. And it was indeed a fascinating wait. It’s always interesting making images like this, where the thinking and the context are already in place and my job is to basically try and resolve the visual translation of this.

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One of the important aspects of this image is the concrete nature of the construction, that will eventually be painted white, one of the controversial elements of these buildings. So the period when the intensity of the sunset disappears and the light is somewhat more muted is probably what I’ll go for. The version below also works well for the University buildings and the flag.

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But there are always alternatives…

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The light became really interesting at this point – a sort of blue line appeared over the mountains. In standing in the same point, watching and waiting for a while, I also experimented with a form of panorama.

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There’s something so particular about the proximity of this new building, on the edge of a major new campus (to the left) but also the site of a major new industrial building on the right (out of shot in the single images). If I understood a campus security guard correctly, this is going to be something to do with state-of-the-art car production. So it seemed an interesting developing area of the city – one that will encompass major educational, religious and industrial buildings and activities.

I can’t help but be reminded of the conversation with the historian recently, who was talking about the sound of the call to prayer that is already omnipresent throughout the city, and increasingly across urban neighbourhoods in the north. There seems something very significant about this site (above) thinking about when the call to prayer will sound, very conspicuously, across the whole campus five times every day in the future.

And so there is plenty to think about as I sign off from this blog, and from the residency. I can’t believe how fast the five weeks has gone. But it’s been productive and stimulating. 250 miles walked, 250 miles driven, and a few bus rides thrown in for good measure. I’ve met some fascinating people, who I’d like to thank for the generosity of their time and thoughts and for their contribution to the development of ideas for work. But biggest thanks go to the team at NiMAC for their support of this project and for managing everything so smoothly over the course of my stay.

Now it’s on to editing, printing and thinking about the potential exhibition next year, with the other British artists from Plymouth University who have undertaken this residency previously.

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Day 30

A day of torrential rain and thunderstorms today. But when this happens there is always (or has been so far for me) a period when the rain stops and most striking light and clouds appear. And today I’d hoped to go back to the neighbourhood football training session that I shot with my iPhone a couple of weeks ago. Today I was in Nicosia so coincided with the training and the weather. And it was certainly dramatic – and changeable. A selection of a few of the frames are below.

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I’m not yet sure whether this will fit into the series really. I’ve been using some of today, whilst it was persisting with rain, to look at a more final edit of the Nationhood series as I’m currently terming it. Clearly the sponsorship branding evident in this image is an aspect of this context, and the layers of home and neighbourhood are likewise evident.  But I haven’t opted for a social (figurative) angle in my representations on the whole. The other exception to this was the Varosha image. Perhaps there is a relationship to play with here in a sequence.

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There’s something about children, families and futures shared between these images – something I discussed on Day 17 with the left hand image. I also quite like the relationship between the colours in the youthful references between the images – of the play equipment on the left and the football shirts and orange bibs on the right.

And so it’s the final day for any photography tomorrow. I have in mind to head back to the large mosque that is currently a concrete skeleton as I don’t feel I’ve resolved what I wanted to there. It somehow seems fitting to return to this development that is representative of a future, that is such a crucial discourse between the north and the south. A final search for a final image.

Day 29

A second day in the Limassol area today and another trip into the surrounding hills to look for interesting developments. I initially became side-tracked by a village called Monagri about 15km north of Limassol – branded as ‘the village of the monasteries’. There is definitely a project here but not one to start with two days to go! There are some fascinating buildings/communities in the area and someone with social documentary interests would be well suited to studying them.

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I then travelled a little further, through some wonderful landscape scenery, and came across an interesting village called Korfi. It looked as if it was a newly established community – at least there was a new Village Hall, a community plaza, sports facilities and a new church under construction – and new properties of course.

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I’ll do some digging into this village I think, as it has clearly been the focus of large scale investment, not just in residential property, but in the whole sense of community construction. Unfortunately, looking at it I don’t think I have enough to make a series. Perhaps I should have spent longer there.

And I do keep coming across things that could develop into a series if I was here longer (!) A case in point today was a new detached property (left below) that reminded me of the building I shot yesterday in the Limassol Marina (right below). The combination of the new paint finish, the intense light and the camera’s translation, all go to make these properties look so ‘perfect’.

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Moving on I came across another example of an interesting development cut into the side of the hills. Every road I seem to travel on has housing development on it – I can’t quite believe the amount of residential building work going on in this part of the island. The one I focussed my attention on today was a trio of houses, in a sort of timeline, from one finished, to one on the way, and one early on in the process. But there was something odd about them – particularly the one that was finished and occupied.

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I can’t quite work out why it doesn’t have any windows facing out. It has no view to the left or away from the camera viewpoint, because of the concrete retaining walls. So therefore the only view it has is right into the next property? Strange. I ended up looking at this as another triptych, in the same way I made one yesterday. The image above didn’t have enough interest in and of itself, but when combined with the view either side it seemed to offer something. There was an interesting little children’s play area to the left and a view down the valley to the right. And the access road formed a linking thread.

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And of course I had to wait and see what happened as the light faded. Why break the habit of a trip. I changed my position slightly due to the arrival of the black Mini in the central image (which ended up parked right in line with a pole) and the problematic bank of earth at the edge of the right hand image.

 

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Looking back at yesterday’s triptych and the one made this afternoon I’m not sure, as yet, whether they will figure in any final series for the residency. They are clearly concerned with notions of home, and with neighbourhood of course as these properties all sit within newly established sets of properties. So we’ll see.

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And I now have two days remaining before I pack to leave. What to do in the last days…

 

 

 

Day 28

Limassol was the location of the day, as planned. Not quite what I’d expected in some respects as I thought there would be more high rise development. But it’s a fascinating port city with its Old Town and new Marina. And of course a great deal of contemporary development in the Marina – some if which looked like a toy town if I’m honest, as can be seen in the first image on the contact below.

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But it was a classic ‘exclusive’ Marina development, with guards, gates and a card entry policy, so it was a little frustrating not being able to develop more images in this area. So after some wandering past the rather large array of very expensive boats I decided to go further afield to look for inspiration. On the way down to Limassol I’d seen some interesting hillside developments and therefore went out of the city and, once again, headed for the hills.

It seems whatever road you take into the hills of Cyprus, you’ll come across something interesting. Today was no exception, although I’m not sure I’ve got anything desperately interesting yet.

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It is an extraordinary landscape in terms of geology and terrain. And the late afternoon afternoon light as lovely as always. There was also an interesting looking series of flats on a hill in the distance, which I think I may explore tomorrow. It’s possible it’s an army barracks but I’ll have to see.

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After driving around for a while what then took my attention was a new development called Sunny View. It was a series of rather odd looking box-like properties that were built in an area that had been partly carved out of the hillside, as you can see below.

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As I was watching the light fade (as I suspect the family in the house on top of the hill were also) I experimented with a triptych, as the relationship of this new development within the context of the other houses in the vicinity was interesting. I attempted it a couple of times as you’ll see.

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And I spent a little time this evening tweaking the balances between the images to see if it would ultimately work.

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And there was quite an interesting image just as I was walking back to the car in the twilight. Not sure I’ll use it for anything but it seemed a fitting image to end the day with.

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Day 27

A rather impromptu shoot today. It was such a glorious day weather-wise I felt I had to try another shoot at the big mosque on the Famagusta road out of Nicosia – the one I’d failed to get to grips with recently. With no real planning, the shoot could not have gone more smoothly. Pick up a taxi just north of the Buffer Zone. Cheap ride to the mosque. Spot a block of flats that were just in the right place for what looked like an interesting viewpoint. Open access stairs. Get to the top and the door to the roof space was open. I stand there for a couple of hours watching the light shift in the most wonderful way! And, most importantly, I was overlooking what is a really fascinating building that clearly demonstrates the issues of this building programme in the north. Why couldn’t I do this the other day?!

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Once again I find myself torn as to what to choose to best represent these white landmarks that are causing so much discontent in both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

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My initial inclination is to go for the more neutral colour of the white surface of the building, bearing in mind this is one of the key aspects of these new mosques, and one of the controversial aspects. Talking to an academic from the University of Nicosia yesterday, who’s been researching these new mosques, he was explaining the theory that the bright white nature of these buildings is very much a deliberate emphasising of the buildings in the landscape. The Turkish designers/architects argue that they are painted white to save costs, it being cheaper to paint the finish as opposed to using the local stone, which would be more costly.

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I can see this being a nightmare to print, but probably worth it in the end as I think it works in the developing series. And then I think something with the illumination is also possible, as this adds a form of spectacle about the building – more of a theme park attraction than a religions building?

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Although it only gets like this once all the minaret lights are on. So perhaps I need to go the whole hog…

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Decisions, decisions…

Off to Limassol tomorrow to see what the urban development landscape looks like there.

 

Day 26

Be prepared – this is a long post! I’ve taken the last couple of days to take stock of where I am with project work before entering the final few days of the visit. This is a summary:

The photographic works made whilst in Nicosia contemplate notions of home, neighbourhood and nationhood, under the broad theme of ‘anticipation’. The series emanate from the premise that architecture reflects who we are and how we engage with the world on a fundamental level. In the words of Palassmaa:

The timeless task of architecture is to create embodied and lived existential metaphors that concretise and structure our being in the world. Architecture reflects, materialises and eternalises ideas and images of ideal life. Buildings and towns enable us to structure, understand and remember the shapeless flow of reality and, ultimately, to recognise and remember who we are. Architecture enables us to perceive and understand the dialectics of permanence and change, to settle ourselves in the world, and to place ourselves in the continuum of culture and time. Palassmaa, J. ‘The Task of Architecture’ in The Eyes of the Skin

In Anticipation

This potential overarching theme approaches anticipation from the microcosm of the home, and the eroding stonework of the Venetian walled city of Nicosia – through the neighbourhoods that, on the one hand, are scattered with single storey dwellings in amongst newer apartment blocks in the city and new estate development in the city and further afield, in places such as Kyrenia – to the large scale urban developments seen across the island (Kyrenia, Limassol) and individual mosque buildings in the north, that reflect issues of nationhood and distinct national cultural identity and aspiration.

The series are made in the context of the anticipation of, or waiting for, a unified future and they initially began as a response to the ambitions of initiatives such as the Nicosia Master Plan and the Partnership for the Future under the banner of the United Nations Development Plan (UNDP). My sense is one of a difficult anticipation of reunification. With each failed attempt at finding a solution to ‘The Cyprus Problem’ there is a potentially greater sense of distinction/separation appearing. For example, the more mosques that are built in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) the more the distinction of the cultural heritage of nations is made manifest – and potentially in an artificially constructed sense of political game-playing. A key aspect of this is the ever-present Turkish flag – draped from buildings, flying between minarets, transposed into the mountains…

‘In Anticipation’ and four potential photo series:

Series 1: The Stones of Nicosia (after Ruskin) – working title

These images are all taken from individual properties within the Venetian walled city of Nicosia and which represent a mix of properties that have either been through a process of re-development, distinct areas of the Nicosia Master Plan for example, or not – those areas that sit outside the Master Plan designation.

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They are abstract representations of the sandstone walls and there is no distinction between places that have been redeveloped and those that have not. They are vignetted in a circular fashion, indicative of the walled city in which they were made and are ambiguous renderings of walls of individual homes that, through time, have seen conflict, decay and regeneration. But they all make manifest a sense of a waiting – in anticipation of further (new) redevelopment or now much-needed repair of (previous) redevelopment. The shapes, textures and materials manifested in the images signify this conflict (the circles of potential bullet holes), decay (wearing of materials over time), redevelopment (signs of renderings and layers of materials) but also of layers that appear separated, or perhaps separating – moving away from each other and gradually crumbling.

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The working title of the series refers to The Stones of Venice in which Ruskin postulates on the vitality between thought and craft and the importance of architecture in asserting the aspirations of a society.

Series 2: An Uncertain Future – working title

 ‘Architecture presents the drama of construction silenced into matter, space and light. Ultimately, architecture is the art of petrified silence. When the clutter of construction work ceases, and the shouting of workers dies away, a building becomes a museum of a waiting, patient silence.’ Palassmaa, J. ‘Silence, Time and Solitude’ in The Eyes of the Skin. p51

A construction site would normally project a sense of a future; an aspiration and, in the case of such developments in Northern Cyprus, it could be argued a utopian sense of future. Buildings would be awaiting their new occupants. This abandoned site on the outskirts of Kyrenia felt like a utopian idealistic future metamorphosed into a dystopian actuality. No longer are these buildings awaiting inhabitants it seems – their waiting is an uncertain one therefore. Will there be a future or will there be demolition?

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The images are made after dark in reference to what Palassmaa talks about when he refers to the significance of shadow and a sense of breathing: ‘Deep shadows and darkness are essential, because they dim the sharpness of vision, make depth and distance ambiguous, and invite unconscious peripheral vision and tactile fantasy.’ He goes on to talk about the ‘constant deep breathing of shadow and light’ in architectural spaces, and that ‘shadow inhales and illumination exhales light.’  Palassmaa, J. ‘The Significance of the Shadow’ in The Eyes of the Skin

In a recent conversation with an International Studies academic in Nicosia, he also explained the case of the Orams family, an infamous case of an English couple being drawn into long, and eventually disastrous, issues of property ownership in Kyrenia. The thought was that this development that I had photographed became abandoned because the plethora of potential UK buyers disappeared, scared off by the impact of the Orams family outcome. This is something I intend to research further therefore, as it also has a bearing on the context of nationhood and the relationship between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and the British.

I’m still experimenting with this series currently. I am undecided as to whether they should be made to appear as if they are an alternative daylight, in an uncertain sense of what one is looking at (they appear normal in one sense but also strange at the same time – something not quite right). Or, they could be realised as darker images, more representative of the situation of the image-making – under moonlight and distant street light, where they reference ‘shadow’ more effectively perhaps. And indeed I am uncertain as to whether they are best treated as B/W or monochrome colour (blueish to reflect the nocturnal conditions again.

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Series 3: Home – working title

One of the first/early urban dynamics that struck me was the relationship between the building types in the suburbs of Nicosia – between the older detached, single storey, properties that were surrounded by more contemporary apartment blocks. According to a paper written by Byron Ioannou of Frederick University, this reflects an aspect of the planning laws in which he outlines three main building typologies in these neighbourhoods – Pre-1970s detached housing similar to the British colonial cottage, 1970s-early1990s flat-roof buildings of up to four units per block, and mid-1990s to the present day multi-storey blocks of flats on pilotis. What fascinated me was the presence these single storey properties had, and what they represented as a notion of home. Many of the examples I saw (although not all) were either deserted or partly derelict. They seemed to be awaiting demolition in readiness for the next apartment block to emerge. Or perhaps they will be developed and once again become family homes. They seemed vulnerable on the one hand, therefore, but also reflected a history of how home can be contemplated – as Yi-Fu Tuan puts it:

Home is the pivot of a daily routine; we leave it to work in the morning and return for sustenance, rest, and the temporary oblivion of sleep at night. We go to all kinds of places but return home, or to homelike places. Home is where life begins and ends; and if this rarely happens in modern society it remains an oneiric ideal. Tuan, Yi-Fu. ‘Place: An Experiential Perspective’, in The Geographer

Contact Sheet 3And so a series of images of home were developed, drawn from a variety of suburban neighbourhoods in Nicosia. In developing the series I began to work with light and time in a particular way, waiting for twilight and the process that Palassmaa talks about when he says: ‘The human eye is most perfectly tuned for twilight rather than bright daylight…Mist and twilight awaken the imagination by making visual images unclear and ambiguous’. Palassmaa, J.The Significance of the Shadow’ in The Eyes of the Skin.

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Series 4: Nationhood – working title

This is the series I’ve been working on most recently and they are primarily concerned with ideas of nationhood, the definition of which, according to the Oxford Dictionary is: ‘The fact or status of being a nation; national identity or independence’. Clearly, issues of nationhood are significant to the divided island of Cyprus. It has been interesting to witness the various manifestations of this sense of national identity between the north and the south and in doing so a number of images have been made that reflect a sense of past, present and future. All the images in this series reflect something of ‘home’, not through the depiction of individual properties but of neighbourhoods, and through the lens of broader, more distanced, topographies.

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The large scale mosque development, both in terms of quantity and size of a number of these, is clear as one travels around the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and there is a great deal of concern over this. Interestingly the concern is not just from Greek Cypriots. An academic from the University of Nicosia, who’s been researching the development of mosques in Cyprus, explained that this is regarded as a politically-driven Muslimisation of the north of the island by Turkish Cypriots also, who complain about the enforced sense of religion, through the increase in presence of mosques in so many communities and Muslim religious education being brought into schools.

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The Turkish, Israeli and Russian investment in the urban development of Kyrenia, as an example, is likewise a concern. There is an extra-ordinary amount of construction being undertaken in this area, from hotels and casinos (not my focus), to neon-lit nightclubs (brothels in actuality) appearing adjacent to residential neighbourhoods near Kyrenia and large individual properties for the wealthy, with their swimming pools and views of the Mediterranean, creating exclusive new neighbourhoods in the hills facing the coast.

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And then there is Famagusta of course, the second of the island’s Venetian walled cities, but also the location of Varosha, the ghost city, abandoned in 1974 and barely touched since. It has been this infamous dead space for 43 years although, interestingly, in the news whilst I was staying were plans for the development of three hotels within this closed area. This is something I need to research further. The image made here as part of this potential nationhood series reflects this relationship between past, present and future, with the hotel and adjacent apartment block a symbol of the town’s historical holiday and beach resort status, whilst the children’s play area indicates the future generation who will potentially grow up knowing no other situation than an island that contains two sides. (As a note, I am also researching whether the palm trees are the variety that were introduced by the British during the colonial period. Apparently they are distinctive and can therefore be identified and would represent another element of Cyprus’s nationhood.)

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There’ll be another image in this series appearing in the next post – another of the large mosques in the north.

 

Day 25

A rather frustrating day today roaming north of the city looking at two new mosques – one nearing completion and another a mere shell. Where ever I seemed to try, I couldn’t get anything particularly interesting I felt. You can see the roaming around the countryside attempting to locate a view in the contact sheet. The first mosque is next to the Near East University, and is clearly going to be a very large building. It’s in the middle of nowhere currently so it will be interesting to see what else is planned around it. When you see the next one I visited (the near-complete one) it is also adjacent to a University campus. Both University campuses also had major development programmes underway, so it’s interesting to see this large scale investment in the religious and educational fabric of this part of the island.

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Having found the viewpoint for the first mosque I made the decision to head back there to see what would happen at dusk. I’d worked out that the light would be behind it (roughly speaking) so it was a risk, but I thought it was worth a try.

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With a bit of tweaking (well, quite a lot really) I think there may be an image here that places the mosque, dominant in the foreground, with the suburbs in the background. I’ve tried three different versions as the light faded.

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Day 24

Back at the apartment after my two-day jaunt to the Kyrenia area in the north. A productive time I think, with some fascinating housing projects seen, as well as hotels, casinos and night clubs. Today I headed up to the hills again, to various residential developments. The first was a populated area that had clearly been constructed a few years ago – but with new development happening as well of course.

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One of the aspects of these new developments I keep coming across are those projects that seem static or, in one case today, clearly deserted and decaying. Having the hire car has really paid off over the last two days. The ability to simply head off the main road, follow my nose and see where it takes me has again, and again, led me to something interesting. This was certainly the case today when I came across a site that had simply stopped without a single property being completed.

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I started photographing and soon realised that the light was problematic. But something about the concrete rendering of the properties seemed to suggest approaching it in black and white. There’s a touch of the New Topographics about them too (not that I would ever consider myself in their league of course – see the Lewis Baltz example below mine!)

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Having made a series of images on the site in the morning, I thought it might be interesting to head back after dark and see how the area looked nocturnally. It’s a 3/4 moon at the moment, so quite bright. More of this further down the Blog…

I then had an interesting time heading in and around the coast area to look at some of the hotel and casino development. There is the most extraordinary amount of building work going on, right along the coast it seems, both east and west of Kyrenia.

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I decided a little while ago that I was unlikely to focus on this aspect of urban development, but it was certainly interesting to see what was going on. The second development I came across was one those startling moments – in the sense that I couldn’t quite believe what was emerging as I drove down a road towards the coast. The image below is the new Merit Hotel (of which there seem to be a number). But this one was situated on Crystal Cove, which says it all really. There is definitely a project here for someone, just not me at the moment.

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I’d had a false start to the day. Having got up at 4am to do a dawn shoot of a duo of nightclubs west of Kyrenia only to find out they don’t keep their light on all night (!), I decided to head back at dusk. The viewpoint for the shot meant driving down a rather dodgy road on the edge of the valley. A road (dirt track actually) that went nowhere but it did provide a viewpoint. The contact sheet doesn’t really show much – however, it does reiterate the point that these dusk shoots are ‘interesting’ – having to manage long exposure with flashing lights on the nightclubs and car traffic along roads with annoying headlight trails – and the inevitable massive dynamic range to cope with. The last two frames on the contact are my attempt to resolve these facets.

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If you’re looking at this Blog on a small screen you won’t be able to read the signs, that say ‘Golden VIP’ and ‘Golden Girls’. These are example of the brothels that call themselves nightclubs and can apparently be seen on a number of roads in the area. What attracted me about these examples was their proximity to the housing estate and another form of odd relationship – this time between an urban neighbourhood and the sex trade. I can’t imagine what it must be like living in the shadow of those lights every night, all year round.

Having shot this I headed back to the derelict housing estate to see what might transpire. It was a beautiful moonlit evening and it soon became apparent that there was an interesting possibility for a range of approaches to working with this location, from using a long exposure with the moonlight to render an odd daylight feel, to straight  black and white images, to black and white images that attempt to replicate the feel of the darkness.

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So just to be clear, the images above are shot at night but with long exposure. The effects can be seen more clearly as follows – with the mix of reflected sunlight off the moon (the neutral light) and the very distant street lights (the warm glow and the greenish glow):

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Once again I’m reminded of Edward Hopper.

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I’ve also had a play with making different relationships between the images. These are not topographic images. Rather, they are a series that look to express some form of negative sense of development – something more unsettling and problematic – dystopian perhaps. The hillsides of the area are scattered with failed development – development that just sits there gradually decaying, devoid of human residence.

Diptych 3a

Diptych 2a

Triptych 1a

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The image above is not re-touched yet, and you can see the star trails which, due to the exposure, look like dust marks.

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So all in all, an interesting day. Back out in the car tomorrow, in search of new mosque development.