Martina Mullaney


Turn In (2003)

Martina Mullaney was born in Ireland in 1972, she is a documentary Photographer, and graduated from her Master’s degree in 2004. She worked with many homeless communities across the world.

In 2002 Mullaney was intrigued by the mundane environment of the soiled beds in hostels in Cardiff where the homeless were imprisoned. It metaphorically communicates an image of the perceived conception of alienation and detachment from normal society. Though they are subtle in nature, they are deeply domineering in power. It helps the hierarchical human existence to understand the intense solitude that can subsequently lead to depression, the absence of funds and the lack of empowerment to change the situation. This engages the viewer as they feel a part of the image but are an invisible presence. The narrative is apparent through the focus of highlighting the sweat and urine stains, amongst the creased sheets and the sunken mattress. The impact of discontentment that so many homeless people experience, and feelings that they have when they have few options or hope for a better lifestyle. Mullaney felt empowered to make this series due to the loneliness that many adults face in the society, though many would say it is their preferred choice. It can also become extremely lonely, disconnected and is greatly intensified in the homeless society she embarked upon this concept and explores many examples worldwide.

This work influences me and I wish to show the connotations of loneliness, alienation, isolation, solitude, anxieties and depression that you can feel whilst having cancer. I would like to use the vernacular nature of the work and the same composition of the bed set up, I will use long exposures, in a night-time setup and use the unrecognisable human features to emphasise these factors. I am selecting a bed to be the chosen object and subject in the location as it conveys the messages sufficiently well, I suffered from insomnia and this illustrates this symptom well. I would find a bed in the middle of a location, haunting to view and inspiring an eerie feel, to draw upon the most emphasis, therefore creating the sufficient ambience that is paramount to the storytelling aspect when combining the hybridity features I am choosing to embed in my work.


Sources –

Martina Mullaney – Turn In

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