Sandy McLea

Idle Quaters Passageway-Sandy McLea
Sandy McLea
Sandy McLea

Sandy, a young South African photographer based in Capetown, says this of his work:
“My Idle Quarters collection takes a unique look at the presence of eerie abandoned spaces such as old ghost houses like Kolmanskop. These ‘photographic relief dioramas’ create a three dimensional visual effect that draws you into the image and makes a stronger connection of presence and reality of the subject. The traditional two dimensional media of photography portrays a realistic interpretation of a scene but I push this form of reality even further by creating relief dioramas from his photographs. Much of the artwork is made from bending and joining cut out prints of the walls, floor and doors at an angle. With added details around hidden corners it is possible to see more of the scene from an angle, further enhancing the interaction with the viewer and creating a unique representation of what the rooms of the houses looked like.”

More About Kolmanskop:
Kolmanskop is Namibia’s famous ghost town. In 1908, the railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a sparkling stone amongst the sand he was shoveling away from the railway line, near Kolmanskop. His supervisor August Stauch, was convinced it was a diamond and when this was confirmed, the news spread like wildfire, sparking a huge, frantic diamond rush and causing fortune hunters to converge in droves on Kolmanskop.
The town soon developed, becoming a bustling little centre and providing shelter for workers from the harsh environment of the Namib Desert. Large, elegant houses were built and it soon resembled a German town, complete with an impressive array of amenities including; a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, 4-lane skittle alley, theatre and sports hall, casino, ice factory and the first x-ray station in the southern hemisphere. Fresh meat could be purchased at the butcher’s, there was a bakery, furniture factory, a public playground and even a swimming pool! At the time, there was also a railway line to Luderitz.
The development of Kolmanskop reached its pinnacle in the 1920’s, but the town declined after World War 1, when diamond prices crashed. In spite of, or probably because of, the isolation and bleakness of the surrounding desert, Kolmanskop developed into a lively little haven of German culture, offering entertainment and recreation to suit the requirements of the affluent colonialists.
Unfortunately for Kolmanskop and its inhabitants, richer diamond deposits were discovered further south, and operations were moved to Oranjemund. Within a span of 40 years Kolmanskop lived, flourished and died. Today the ghost town’s crumbling ruins bear little resemblance to its former glory. The stately homes have been nearly demolished by the wind, and are gradually becoming enveloped by encroaching sand dunes. In 1980, the mining company De Beers, restored a number of buildings, and established and interesting museum.
When I first got to the old ghost town of Kolmanskop I discarded any preconceived ideas and plans I had in the way I would photograph it. I immediately felt an atmosphere and presence when I stepped in the first house and knew I had to capture more than a composition, I wanted people to be in the labyrinth of rooms with me, I wanted to capture a space rather than an image.

Idle Quarters - Window Light

Idle Quarters – Window Light

Idle Quarters – Window Light
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 34 x 21ins
  • £ 3,500
Idle Quarters - Window Light
Idle Quarters – Window Light
Idle Quarters - Passing Sands

Idle Quarters – Passing Sands

Idle Quarters – Passing Sands
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 44 x 21ins
  • £ 4,500
Idle Quarters - Passing Sands
Idle Quarters – Passing Sands
Exposed Room

Idle Quarters, Exposed Room

Idle Quarters, Exposed Room
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 43 x 21ins
  • £ 4,500
Exposed Room
Exposed Room
Idle Quarters – Passageway

Idle Quarters – Passageway

Idle Quarters – Passageway
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 56 x 21ins
  • £ 6,000
Idle Quarters – Passageway
Idle Quarters – Passageway
Idle Quarters - Lost Room

Idle Quarters – Lost Room

Idle Quarters – Lost Room
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 26 x 21ins
  • £ 2,500
Idle Quarters - Lost Room
Idle Quarters – Lost Room
Idle Quarters - Blue Room

Idle Quarters – Blue Room

Idle Quarters – Blue Room
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 26 x 21ins
  • £ 2,500
Idle Quarters - Blue Room
Idle Quarters – Blue Room
Idle Quarters - Sunken Room

Idle Quarters – Sunken Room

Idle Quarters – Sunken Room
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 26 x 21ins
  • £ 2,500
Idle Quarters - Sunken Room
Idle Quarters – Sunken Room
Urban Facade 1

Urban Facade 1

Urban Facade 1
  • Landscape photography with urban graffiti paper tole
  • 42 x 23 ins
  • £ 2,400
Urban Facade 1
Urban Facade 1
Urban Facade 6

Urban Facade 6

Urban Facade 6
  • Landscape photography with urban graffiti paper tole
  • 42 x 23 ins
  • £ 2,400
Urban Facade 6
Urban Facade 6
Urban Facade 7

Urban Facade 7

Urban Facade 7
  • Landscape photography with urban graffiti paper tole
  • 29 x 23 ins
  • £ 1,900
Urban Facade 7
Urban Facade 7
Idle Quarters 1

Idle Quarters 1

Idle Quarters 1
  • Photographic inkjet prints on archival paper, water colour paint, boards, LED lights
  • 51 x 18ins
  • £ SOLD
Idle Quarters 1
Idle Quarters 1