REQUIEM FOR A RIVER
"Requiem for a River" is a response to the increased pollution in Irish rivers and lakes. I used to be a fly fisher and thus had an intimate relationship with the cycles of entomology of the River Corrib.
In 2010 Ireland started to ramp up its dairy and beef sector in expectation of the milk quota ending in 2015. As I write this the national herd is still growing. The increase in fertilizers and slurry used to grow grass, and the increase in emissions from the herd itself leach into the rivers and lakes. This causes enrichment and eutrophication of the waterways. The increased Nitrate and Phosphate levels promote excessive algae and fungal growth on the river bed. Insects and other organisms die in these conditions. Oxygen levels can reach critically low levels in Summer which can lead to fish kills. Once prolific hatches of small Mayflies and Sedges have all but disappeared. Once healthy limestone rivers have become dead zones, choked with algae and silt. Tonnes of food in plant and insect form which sustain fish, birds and mammals have been removed from the eco-system.
I no longer fly fish, I no longer have a relationship with the river. Once a place of wonder and joy is now a bittersweet reminder of what has been lost. It fills me with shame to live in a country that wilfully and knowingly poisons its own environment.
I started to photograph the strange worlds of excessive algae, weed and fungal growth. This project is a lament, a kind of grieving, a requiem for a river and all the limestone rivers and lakes across Ireland.