The man who is Irishmanlost
Pete Irvine was born and educated in Northern Ireland, but spent many years living and working abroad before returning home to settle in Ballycastle. His love for photography developed at an early age when he was given his first camera and instantly showed a natural ability and creative flair for the medium.
Pete's passion for capturing urban decay began about ten years ago, after visiting the Harland and Wolff drawing offices during a heritage open day. Frustrated by the restricted public access, it sparked a curiosity to see what lay beyond the red tape and no entry signs. It was then that Pete began seeking out abandoned buildings as an exploration of Ulster's industrial past, finding entry into some of the most iconic working giants of the last century. Soon his interest had spread beyond the factories of the industrial age and all of his energy and free time was dedicated to researching and locating abandoned structures online. He became involved with a community of like-minded people with a similar hunger to peel back the walls of our picture-perfect urban fabric and unravel the mystery that lay within. Along with these new found friends, he visited as many derelict buildings as he could find and what started as curiosity quickly turned into an obsession. Whilst some consider the ruins of our modern society to be nothing but a blot on the landscape, Pete is fascinated by dereliction and quickly came to realize that such places are filled with endless possibilities for adventure, inspiration and artistic potential.
Over the years Pete has visited countless factories, workhouses, hospitals, asylums, manor houses and cottages under the pseudonym 'Irishmanlost'. The scenes of urban and architectural decay that define his photography exude a strange and quiet beauty, but they can be much more thought-provoking than that. They visualize the passage of time and the inevitability of collapse, as well as sparking imaginings of a foregone past and potential futures. These buildings are now functionally dead, but human presence lives on in every decaying scene and personal effect left behind. His work also reflects a strong nostalgic desire for 'the way things were', to a time when buildings were constructed with artistry and meaning. Nowadays, new replacing not so old is commonplace and abandoned buildings serve as a reminder of faded lives and shrunken economies. In many ways his collection of images represents not only the past but the present day, in which our physical environment exists in a state of permanent flux.