650-1575 Images Of A Mine
Boliden Tara Mines Limited owns and operates the largest lead and zinc mine in Europe and one of the largest in the world. For over 30 years Tara Mines have been mining and extracting lead and zinc ore on the outskirts of Navan, County Meath. With 100km of tunnels and 700 employees it is a massive operation.
A couple of years ago I found myself in conversation with a man who turned out to have been a hoist operator at Tara Mines. I asked what the mine was like and he explained. However, I found it impossible to get an accurate picture of the place in my mind\'s eye. I was unsure if the image I did have had come from all the pictures I\'d seen of underground mines over the years or from his description. However, my curiosity was awakened.
Tara Mines is one of the last remaining heavy industries in Ireland and yet few know anything about it. The mine site is well screened with trees, but also from the consciousness of those outside the immediate mine area.
Two things interested me:
1. How difficult it was to have a mental picture of the mine site secondhand.
2. How invisible the mine was to people not directly involved with it.
The project became about making the invisible visible.
With these thoughts and curiosities I approached Tara Mines about working together on an art project. I hoped that through photographs the people of Navan and Meath in particular could see the mining environment.
Furthermore, it was my hope that the series of photographs would trigger memories amongst employees, ex employees and retired workers; that the images would have the power to bring back memories in the way a smell has the power to take us back in time.
During 2008 and 2009 I was given unique access to all areas of the mine. I photographed both above and below ground in available light. The result is 26 photographs of industrial landscapes and interiors.
PS. The number commencing each title refers to meter depth measurements within the mine. 1575 is surface and 650 is the bottom of the mine.
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, County Meath http://solstice.newsweaver.ie/1kb7yevwjjj10c294p88ya?email=true
September 9 - October 10 2009
1190 4-1/4-2 Conveyor Transfer
1330 No. 2 Haulage
1360 Vent Curtain/No.2 Crusher
1393 Fully Charged and Wired-up
1420 Lunchroom (inside)
1420 Lunchroom (outside)
1435 Backfill Bulkhead
1480 Longhole Rig
1575 Core Sampling Area
1575 Core Shed
1575 Development Head Frame
1575 Development Shaft Station
1575 Load Out
1575 Mill Control Room
1575 Mine Dry Baskets
1575 Mine Dry Lockers
1575 Mine Geology Department
1575 Nevinstown Farm (formerly Bula)
1575 Old Portal
1582 Randalstown Tailings Pond
750 H81 Vent Door
950 Raise Bore Machine