A Co Armagh photographer famed for shooting eerie and abandoned buildings across Ireland is hosting an exhibition of her work in Portadown throughout the month of December.
Rebecca has been amassing a collection of images for the best part of a decade – and with it a cult following on her Abandoned NI Facebook page.
We caught up with Rebecca ahead of her opening night talk at Portadown Heritage Centre on November 30.
When and why did you begin shooting abandoned places?
The journey started for me whilst I was part of a paranormal group back in 2010. I was the team photographer and location finder. This brought me to finding Cairndhu House in Larne, which was then owned by a property developer, who was happy for me to photograph and for the team to investigate.
I was totally taken by the house and it’s history, which pushed me away from the paranormal and into the documentation of the buildings through the medium of photography. As time went on I was visiting more and more places; this then produced a large body of work and inspired me to open the Facebook page Abandoned Ni and it’s snowballed from there.
Where across Co Armagh have you photographed?
So many places! Armagh Gaol, Sintons Mill, Gilford Mill, Lakeview House (now demolished) Castledillion and countless of country houses and mansions!
Is there an element of haunting, so-to speak, to your work?
Yes, some images can appear to be so – I think it’s the nature of the buildings and the remnants of lives that are shown through the images that provokes this.
Do you have a particular favourite location?
Cairndhu House is my number one as the architecture is really unique and one of a kind in Ireland – it looks like it should be in an American horror story.
However, I really enjoy the smaller homes that have lots of personal possessions left behind, this allows the viewer to imagine who lived there and what kind of life they may have had.
Is there somewhere you would love to shoot, that you haven’t already?
This list is endless, though I would really like to do some of the hidden parts of Crumlin Road Gaol and the Courthouse. Hopefully someone can help make this happen.
Has there been a stand out moment when you knew you were doing something people really enjoyed?
I think everyone likes to see what is inside the old abandoned house, it holds a certain mystery. The page allows people to visit these places that they normally wouldn’t get to view.
The comments are always positive which is encouraging and helps me get up early on those Sunday mornings to find new places to bring to the page!
Tell us a little bit about the exhibition.
The exhibition is about a house I documented last year in Cookstown. This was a one of a kind property, the historical items that we found were something really special.
On the presentation opening night (November 30) I will talk more in depth about what was found, some of this will include lost letters, old photographs, newspapers from 1916, a poem about the titanic sinking in 1912, old currency, Victorian clothing and a member of the family no one knew about and more! For social history fans this is not to be missed!
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