Shot over many months among religious communities and on spiritual retreats, We Became Everything attempts to depict young people’s experience of spirituality in contemporary Ireland. The work is concerned with the subjects’ search for answers to fundamental questions. What does it mean to have faith? To be a good person? To live a good life? The spiritual enquiry of these young people runs in tandem with their attempts at self-discovery as they move into adulthood.
Despite belonging to different groups with radically varying doctrines, all those photographed shared permutations of one core conviction. This was a belief in the existence of two worlds. Our material world which we can hear, see, and touch and a second spiritual world; our perception of which is ephemeral, complicated, and mysterious. It is by tapping into this world, that they believed they could find answers to their questions.
Retreats function to bridge this gap from our world to the other. Usually set in the wilderness and isolated from society, life on retreat is designed to facilitate a closeness to the spiritual. Communal living, with an emphasis placed on openness and contemplation through meditation, prayer or, occasionally, the consumption of mind-altering substances, serves to grant one’s consciousness access to the spiritual plane.
This idea of working to create a link between two worlds, a nexus were the veil between them is thinnest, quickly became a subject of fascination. Totally unpredictable and almost imperceptible but to those dedicated to their pursuit, such links take the form of fleeting revelations, a subtle rift in reality and a feeling of connection to the divine. They are metaphysical decisive moments.
I began to photograph these moments as well as the young people yearning for them.
George Voronov (b. 1993) is a fine-art and documentary photographer currently based in Dublin, Ireland. He is a co-founder of Junior, a print-only photographic journal, and arts organization that celebrates emerging Irish photography.
He is currently an MFA candidate at Ulster University under the tutelage of Ken Grant and Donovan Wylie.
Thematically, his work seeks to uncover the surreal within the banal and the ordinary within the extraordinary. Recently, his projects have been focused on exploring the realms of youth culture and ritual.
He balances his personal artistic practice with editorial and commercial commissions.