The genius of a place is the guardian of a place. One can’t see or touch it since this genius is perceived. The following images are an investigation into how this genius can be perceived and documented by shooting the same scene on various times of the day and during diverse weather conditions. This theme is very subjective, and requires a sensitivity to the place.
This chosen scene is the daily scene the author sees from their balcony door. The church is the small Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Abandoned in the Tal-Baruni Area, in the town of Haz-Zebbug, Malta. Palm trees are not typical for the island of Malta, however a garden adjacent to this church has a number of these trees, which further give this scene an exotic aesthetic which clashes with the baroque and vernacular dwellings in the area. #geniusloci #spiritofplace #zebbuggenius #Ħaż-Żebbuġ
Lazy Corner, Sliema
White Rocks Complex
Lower St Elmo, Valletta
House in Luqa, Malta
Situated just off the piazza of Luqa, Malta, this house was one of the few houses that did not suffer any bombing during WWII. At present it is in a state of abandonment, however its been taken over for an architect for restoration.
Plague Cemetery, Kalkara
Just off Fort Ricasoli, isolated from the road, one can find St Roque Cemetery, or commonly known the Plague Cemetery in Kalkara. The only information I found so far can be found further down.
Upon my entrance to this place, I could feel a sense of quiet but also of reverence. It could be I felt this way due to my catholic upbringing, thus having to pay reverence to God and his home. The gate was open however there was no indication of a fresh burial. I am not sure if the place is still used or not as a cemetery or for the occasional mass. The benches outside could indicate that maybe they used to say mass outside on the premises, unless they are actual indication of tombs.
Kalkara - St Roque (Wied Ghammieq) The 1837 cholera victims who died in Fort Ricasoli were buried in a cemetery hastily erected at Wied Ghammieq. In 1878 the cemetery was given a facelift and became a centre of devotion for the souls of the faithful departed. In the 1950s the present structure was built to replace an older one. The present chapel was on the plans of Vincenzo Bonello.
Marsa is a place close to the harbour area. I have fond childhood memories tied to this area of Malta, mainly because my father used to have a warehouse in Marsa for this work. I recall how my father had to evacuate his older warehouse because it was being taken over to build the power station which is now defunct. I recall going round this small area with my bicycle as a kid. Going round now, it feels like nothing has changed. The statue of the Holy Mary was and still is in the corner. The balconies haven't changed one bit, and I am going back approximately 30 years. Life seems to have stood still in this area, and no wonder so many places get knocked down since they are left to crumble. This area shows traces of what once was a busy harbour area, now left to fade away.
Marsa Power Station
The defunct Power Plant in Malta which had been supplying energy to the archipelago for the past 60 years, can be classified as an abandoned architectural structure. A colourful collage of materials has been created due to the various structural interventions done to this power plant along the years to accommodate machinery and also working spaces for employees which in turn created an aesthetic dependant on chance rather than actual thought behind the works carried out. There is a certain aesthetic which develops over time as buildings cease to function for what they were intended to, and they turn into still places which just stand there, decaying over time. This series of images also shows how past human interactions contribute to further enhance aesthetics whilst the building ages and decays in silence.
The aura within the stillness of the power plant gives the place’s decaying process a story which can best be accomplished by the photographic medium. Photography narrates a story of what this place has become to be in the most straightforward way however some images capture traces of humans which are often left open to interpretation. The strong Christian culture of the island comes through with the image of Our Lady of Sorrows prominently hung in one of the main working areas, and that of saints also found in utility cupboards. One can see that even though workmen utilise the place for work, human beings still try to create some sort of comfort zone within the work space to make it more familiar.
This body of work shows how the photographer explored the interaction of the workmen with the workplace, and how the remaining traces have affected the decaying process of the power plant which resulted into a juxtaposition of colourful architectural patchwork due to the weathering of the materials used as well as the remains of human artefacts left scattered around the power plant when it was vacated.
Isla is one of the cities together with Bormla and Birgu that make up the Three Cities on the island of Malta. Situated along the coastline of the Grand Harbour, just across the bay from Birgu, Isla does not share the same commercial scene that Birgu does. On the other hand, Isla offers a unique take on a culture rich with narrative where religious icons, hanging laundry and people in balconies are the order of the day.
Isla offers tranquil town life with the added on excitement of the sea. It still boasts authentic residences, attired with the usual hanging laundry, children running in the streets, and the odd person looking out of the window savouring the Mediterranean sun. It is worth a visit during Festa season too so one can admire the virtuosity with which the locals decorate the streets and celebrate the town’s feast on the 8th of September.
Pieta is mainly situated on the coastline between Floriana and Msida. More often than not it is not given much importance since it is mainly a bypassed place due to its position. The old boat house with the arched doors is now a restaurant. The row of houses situated along Pieta's main road can't be seen properly because one either passes with his car, or when one walks on the opposite side, the view of the small port takes precedence over the row of houses. There are some beautiful houses which need preservation along this road. Some have taken this into their own hands and instead of preserving the facades, they simply built up something else which does not read well with the remaining of the street.
The main project here is to retain the authenticity of Pieta, rather than letting it become a mass of concrete blocks with no narrative. Through this documentary work, I wish to safeguard memories of how this place is or rather used to be.