All images © Doug DuBois
Tomorrow evening the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh County Cork, Ireland, will open the exhibition of works by the brilliant Doug DuBois – My Last Day at Seventeen.
In a text describing the project, DuBois ventures the following:
“Russell Heights is a housing estate of uncertain vintage that sits on Spy Hill overlooking the Cork Harbour on the Great Island in East Cork. The neighbourhood is insular: everyone seems to be someone’s family member, former girlfriend or spouse. Little can happen there that isn’t seen, discussed, often exaggerated and fiercely defended against any disapprobation from the outside.
My introduction to Russell Heights came at the invitation of Kevin and Eirn, two teenagers who took part in a photography workshop I gave at the community centre. The title of the project, My Last Day at Seventeen was uttered by Eirn when I photographed her on the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Certain photographs are made spontaneously, but most are fashioned collaboratively utilising a chosen wardrobe, setting and circumstance. These scenes are carefully crafted and stylised to evoke the narrative rhetoric of literature and film without abrogating entirely the photographic claim to depict lived experience. The portraits, similarly directed, are often tightly framed to concentrate on the anxious countenance and fragile bravado of a future not fully imagined or realised.”
The photographs were made over a four year period during a series of artist residencies at the Sirius Arts Centre under the invitation of Artistic director extraordinaire Peggy Sue Amison. Collectively, the images present a somewhat fictional, somewhat documentary account of adolescence in Ireland and a coming of age story about a small group of teenagers from Russell Heights.
The exhibition runs from Thursday 25 October to Sunday 23 December.