Built Environment

Photography - Built Environment

The Lead Mines - LFC
(Newtownards, c.1997)
The Dene
(Edinburgh, June 2010)
Sacré-Cœur Detail
(September 2009)
Vaulted Passage
(December 2008)

Without any people in sight, this passageway takes on a slightly ominous quality. The high vaulted ceiling with its gothic associations reaches towards us and the darkness, whilst beyond lies a distant, better lit area.

The repeated regression of frames within frames and repeating doorways suggests opportunity, promise and uncertainty in equal measure.

Vaulted Passage (c) Robert J.E. Simpson 2008. All Rights Reserved.
Onchan Church
(June 2008)

I made my first ever visit to the Isle of Man in 2008 and was fascinated not only by the ubiquitous self-branding of the island, but the fusion of Celtic/Pagan faiths and Christianity.
The church at Onchan is very striking, with sharp pointed angularity and a rich graveyard.


Onchan church. (c) Robet J.E. Simpson, 2008. All Rights Reserved
Hammer House
(March 2006)

A shot included more because of what it is rather than any great statement. A document of a changing location. The builing in Wardour Street, London, still bears the name given to it by its former occupants Hammer Film Productions Ltd, during the 60s and 70s. Hammer had premises in the are going back to the 1930s, although the site has now long been abandoned by the company. The downstairs rooms are now an Oddbins off-license and a Toni & Guy Hairdressers.

Bray Studios
(July 2010)
Maze recreational
(Belfast, April 2007)

I was privileged enough to spend an afternoon at the Maze prison in Belfast, guided round by an ex-prisoner.

When you come from Belfast, no matter what your political views, you can't help but be affected by the remnants of the prison and the infamous H-blocks. I took something like 500 frames, recording a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Maze prison (c) Robert J.E. Simpson 2008. All rights reserved.
(Belfast, April 2007)

The Northern Irish government has advanced plans to pull down most of the prison and turn it into a sports stadium. But the space is fascinating, and for my money ought to be preserved as is - an eerie atmospheric shell. Let the ghosts of the past haunt it. It doesn't need to become a political mecca.

Most striking are rooms like this - the pool room - which could almost have been abandoned yesterday.

Maze prison. (c) Robert J.E. Simpson 2008, all rights reserved.
The Weather Project
(January 2004)

The greatest thing about the Tate Modern is the Turbine Room, a vast space which has been filled with a number of brilliantly challenging pieces. Graham Duff had mentioned the Weather Project as a must-see to me, and said it was very Quatermass-like. How fitting then that the Tate Modern was chosen as the setting for the climax of the 2005 BBC 4 version of The Quatermass Experiment.

The Weather Project was sublime, eerie and 100% interactive. Wonderful to sit on the floor with everyone else, watching your reflection far above through the eerie mist.

This is one of a number of frames I took from the exhibit. It captures the mist, the strange barren landscape, the vivid sun-like light and the art lovers, who look as if they are basking in some post-apocalyptic sun.

Marchel Duchamp pissed here...
(Belfast, circa June 1997)

I compiled the "toilet" series on a semi-regular basis. Men's bathrooms are generally off-limits to the opposite sex, and in this example (at a boys grammar school - Campbell College Belfast) to people of a certain age.

Uniform, and yet rather decadent... This black and white print from a 35mm negative, has been tainted by the chemicals in processing. Giving it a feel which for me has always been in keeping with my impression of men's public toilets.


Marchel Duchamp pissed here... (c) Robert J.E. Simpson 1997/2008 All rights reserved.
Compromising Position
(circa. April 2000)

A potentially humorous image. I snapped these two wheelbarrows in the building area of an extension to the hotel I was then working part-time as a kitchen porter in. The place was a mess, and yet they kept serving food - even after they found the asbestos in an adjacent room, separated by a plastic sheet...
The barrows had been left by the builders in this position. To me it speaks of the basic mechanics of sex...