Shane Lynam’s latest project looks at Dublin through a unique lens
Alternative processes and techniques have been used by the Dublin-based photographer to provoke a new reaction to his surroundings.
- Charlie Filmer-Court
- 21 January 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Leaving things to chance is not always the best way to get something done, but for Shane Lynam’s latest series Pebbledash Wonderland, it was one of a number of methods that helped him approach the project from a unique perspective.
"Pebbledash Wonderland is still a project in development. It is a long term conversation between myself and a city (Dublin), and I have employed a series of strategies to try and lose myself within the fabric of what makes a public space," he says. "The images that make up the final edit should say something about the city that has not been said before and cannot be articulated with words."
Rather than overplanning things and going about his normal routine in his home city, Shane hoped to be able to remove himself from his day-to-day surroundings to see it in a unique and never-before-seen light.
"I look to recreate the experience of visiting a place for the first time and use the sensory reaction that comes with this to provoke a reaction via the camera. With a smaller city like Dublin this can be challenging, but there are ways to artificially create it," he explains. "For example, I have been trying to use 'chance' as much as possible to find ways of moving through the city, this can be as simple as taking a new bus route and getting off at a random spot. Shooting on a stormy day, shooting at night, shooting with a new camera and trawling through Google Street View are other methods that have renewed my interest in the work when it was beginning to wane in the past."
The images in the series are true to this, with a real range of photographs showing a breadth of techniques and styles of shooting. There are photos taken at night, landscapes, quaint suburban scenes and snapshots of people. One thing that is noticeable is an absence of Dublin cliches, a positive sign for Shane as he looks to say something new about the city. With the project still ongoing there are a number of unreleased images, and the final edit is most likely to reveal a cohesion and theme throughout, something that at the moment Shane is keeping close to his chest.
The Dublin-based photographer has not followed the typical route into the profession, initially working in a completely unrelated field before taking the leap to pursue his passion as a career. "I accepted a relatively demanding job when I moved to Paris in 2007 and I wasn't feeling particularly inspired by the work I was doing. Around the same time I began taking photos recreationally at the weekend," he recalls. "My interest grew quickly from there to the point in 2010 where it seemed like something I had no choice but to pursue. I decided to quit my job and do an MA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales."
Shane’s work is predominantly long term art/documentary projects, "which up to now has, broadly speaking, focused on the built environment as a way of reflecting on the function and history of public space." One of his most recent works, 50 High Seasons, was a brilliant look at Mission Racine, a little-known government-funded coastal development in the South of France. The book was published in 2018 and is arguably Shane’s most successful project to date. "Together with Contours and Pebbledash Wonderland, they make up the first stage of my career. I am currently finishing these projects while looking to the second phase and what will define the work I make over the next four to five years," he says.
Away from the photographs themselves Shane also hopes that Pebbledash Wonderland can help him to transition away from his previous method and style of working: "Apart from visually articulating my take on the city with this next project I am keen to establish a clear and distinct voice, and move away from a classic project-based documentary approach which is about something quite specific as was the case with 50 High Seasons, to something more lyrical."
And as Shane looks to the next part of his career, he is making progress in a number of areas, recently completing his first ever residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. "It was a very positive experience and gave me the space to function exclusively as an artist for six weeks without having to worry about the day-to-day aspects of making a living as a photographer," he says. "It was also interesting to be spending time with artists who are not visual artists and trying to find commonalities with what they do. The centre is an incredible resource for Irish artists in the centre of Paris."
With a number of changes in mind for the future, and new techniques employed on this project, it is an interesting and exciting time for Shane. "I’m currently at a career crossroad moment where I am trying to decide what to work on next and whether to stick with previous methods or employ new ones," he says. "I continue to shoot regularly, but I am looking to try and add new ideas into my work and see where that brings me."
GalleryShane Lynam: Pebbledash Wonderland
Shane Lynam: Pebbledash Wonderland
About the Author
Charlie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in December 2019. He has previously worked at Monocle 24, and The Times following an MA in International Journalism at City University. If you have any ideas for stories and work to be featured then get in touch.