Solace or detachment in our journeys? Translink photography exhibition

Solace or detachment in our journeys? Translink photography exhibition
by Allan LEONARD
9 August 2017

Passengers who have travelled through Belfast Central Station this summer have had an opportunity to meet others captured in photographs by students from Ulster University’s School of Art.

The public exhibition of large prints mounted onto easels is named “Journey”, with each portrait annotated with a short insight of the individual’s life in transit (literally and sometimes, metaphorically).

Most of the subjects are younger people, perhaps reflecting the age profile of the photographers. But a few middle-aged and older travellers’ images and thoughts are revealed.

For example, Stephen (by Tara Raftovich) talked about him and his wife getting used to the freedom of their sons living away from home, “but tonight, all I want to do is nothing”.

Meanwhile, Katie (by Ashleigh Wilson) said that she’s been travelling to Belfast for 70-odd years, today visiting her daughter: “I think I’d like it if she lived a little closer to home.”

Macy (by Calvin Ballard) spoke of her dream of living in New York one day, to live wherever she wanted when she became an adult: “I guess that time is now.”

So while the Big Apple may receive this visitor — for however long fate may decide — we welcome those who have arrived here.

As Monisa (by Ashleigh Wilson) explained, “I have three passports but I don’t necessarily belong to any of them … In many ways, I count myself lucky to have multiple national identities and many places I am able to call home … although sometimes it can feel as though I have no home in particular.”

Do we find solace or rather detachment in our journeys?

A poem by Ulster-born Louis MacNeice ponders:

Corner Seat

Suspended in a moving night
The face in the reflected train
Looks at first sight as self-assured
As your own face — But look again:
Windows between you and the world
Keep out the cold, keep out the fright;
Then why does your reflection seem
So lonely in the moving night?



The exhibition, “Journey”, is on display at Belfast Central Station from 8 June — ‘end summer’ 2017. Admission free.

Translink commissioned young photographers to create the images, as part of Bus and Train Week.


Republished at Northern Slant:

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