Crash Scene, 1997

Willie Doherty’s photographs are often both highly seductive and visually disorientating. His work begins in response to specific terrains and evolves to reflect on the stories that certain locations might tell. Doherty’s primary point of reference throughout his career has been his native Derry – a city famously defined and demarcated according to the traumatic divisions of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Crash Scene shows a severed car door on a patch of overgrown grass. It is one of a series of images of abandoned cars Willie Doherty began making in the early 1990s. The photograph was taken on the outskirts of  the artist’s native Derry, the site of some of the worst of the Northern Irish Troubles, most infamously Bloody Sunday in 1972. Doherty witnessed this incident as an teenager. Subsequent reportage led him to question the way the media represent and interpret newsworthy events.  He has said, ‘After Bloody Sunday, it became clear to me that what I had seen on TV and what I had read in the newspapers didn’t in fact bear any relationship to what I had seen happen myself. So it was an experience that politicised me to some extent about how what was happening around me was being managed’.