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Beneath / Beofhód

Shane Hynan | Ireland

From the series Beneath / Beofhód; Tony’s Footings, No. 27-07, 2018.

Image depicts the tradition of footing turf. Turf is harvested from peat and used as a domestic fuel for many in Ireland. In the past turf was cut by hand, now the process is partially mechanised however, the footing element is still done by hand. Footing involves stacking the turf to aid the drying process. This tradition will be lost in the coming years as bogs are prioritised for preservation to reduce carbon emissions and meet climate change targets.

‘Beneath / Beofhód’ is an ongoing photographic series exploring the industrialised peatlands of the Irish midlands,  and the communities linked to them.

Peat extraction and turf-cutting are tightly woven into the cultural fabric of the region, through employment from peat harvesting, and the tradition of harvesting turf for domestic fuel.

These activities have however, led to significant depletion of Irelands peatlands and in recent years legitimate environmental concerns have resulted in pressure to preserve the peatlands that remain. This heralds significant change for affected communities and although the benefits of preservation are well documented, the human cost is not.

This series documents the decline of Irelands working relationship with bogs whilst contemplating what our modern landscapes say about us. It providesa local, human and personal perspective, often misplaced in a polarised global climate change debate.

All images were shot with medium format analogue using a Mamiya 7 MkII camera and Portra 400 photographic film.

This work is supported by Arts Council of Ireland and Kildare Arts Service funding.

I’m a landscape and social documentary photographer. My work is project based with a research and anthropological approach focusing on rural Ireland’s dwindling connection with the land and the old ways.

The work engages social and environmental issues, on a local and regional level, with a realist documentary approach to subject matter.

In 2018 I took up photography full time moving away from a career in Structural Engineering. I studied at Belfast School of Art (Ulster University) for 2 years and completed an MFA in photography in 2019.

Since then I’ve won a number of bursary awards on a county and national level and received funding to continue developing my photography practice around bogs, rural Ireland and the built environment.

My work has been shown at a number of group exhibitions and I’m due to have my first solo exhibition later this year.

I work extensively with both digital and analogue photographic techniques and experiment with moving image, text, sound and paper making within my wider practice.

Instagram: @shanehynan

Email: shanehynan@yahoo.co.uk

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