Abandoned Souls

The portrait series “Abandoned souls” started many years ago when I found two passport photos in the street, one of a man and the other of a woman. Immediately questions started, who are they? What are their names? Did they know each other, and so on.

Abandoned-Souls-Robert-O'BrienFrom then on, whenever I was out, I would keep my focus on the ground hoping to find more, revisiting where I found the first two. I started to look in second hand shops and markets trying to find unloved and unwanted photos, abandoned souls to look after, giving life to them and of course painting them – honouring in my own way these lost forgotten people. Working with the concept of bringing life into these photos by painting them, creating a dialogue between me and the mystery person that is no longer cared for – names and personalities are allocated when creating these paintings, trying in some way to honour and show that this person once existed.

In doing so I question mortality, the fear of being lost and forgotten, an empathetic state of mind just as we look after the old because we will be old ourselves one day. With my own struggles to interact with the living, a freedom to isolate myself with these photos to be able to create people that will never disappoint or be disappointed.