Hands down our favourite person on Instagram, film maker Lorcan Finnegan has built up a following of almost 19,000 people for his super candid shots of characters on Dublin streets, with a particular grá for our lovely grannies.
You'll pass them every day, you might even have one yourself - headscarf on whatever the weather, shopping cart, giant handbag and draped in Michael Guiney’s finest florals but Lorcan’s images create a context where you get to fully appreciate these amazing ladies and their unique fashion sense. You also get a sense that his characters represent an era which may be coming to an end and Lorcan’s images may just become a historical document. This has already been recognised in a way with his Granny Fashion book as part of the Where We Are Project.
The pictures don’t stop with the grannies though, there’s also his Dublin Faces Tumblr with pages and pages of even more of the incredible characters who walk the streets of Dublin City.
We caught Lorcan for five minutes, as he was in the middle of preperations for his first feature film, to ask him about the project, himself and above all, how the hell he gets so close without getting a slap.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where you from and how do you fill your time?
I studied graphic design at IADT before moving into motion graphics, animation and later editing, shooting and directing. I worked in London with a comedy production company for a couple of years before coming back to Dublin and setting up my own company for projects that interested me. So I've been directing music videos, short films and TV commercials over the past few years while working with my wife and a writer friend developing feature film projects. I'm directing my first feature WITHOUT NAME this March with another film called VIVARIUM to follow and a third project which is being written at the moment.
We love your Instagram feed and all the Dublin characters featured but what really fascinates us is how you get such up close and personal shots without getting a clatter. What is your technique? How do you get the shots?
I go running and wear headphones to listen to music. It seems that runners are basically invisible to the public. We go unnoticed. I use the volume button on my iPhone to take pictures and because I have headphones on it looks like I'm adjusting the volume or something. I only linger long enough to take a quick photo and then I move off.
How do you find your characters? Do you go to certain areas and wait or do you just stop passerbys in the street?
I run random routes through the city, down lanes and into strange neighbourhoods. If I see an interesting composition, character or I like the way somebody is lit I'll swing by and grab a shot. I take all the portraits candidly, so I don't stop and ask anybody to pose. If I were to stop people and ask them could I take their picture, what caught my eye and interested me in the first place would be lost.
What makes a good shot for you?
Coming from a graphics and filmmaking background I'm interested in composition, juxtaposition, colour, lighting and of course, character. If the photo has a narrative quality to it, even if only to me, then I tend to like it more.
Tell us a bit about the equipment you use.
I just use an iPhone5s. Although I've had to have the screen replaced 3 times, so my next phone might be something more durable.
Where would you like to see your Instagram feed going? Are you doing it for your own enjoyment or would you like to see it grow bigger?
I do it for myself and the people who enjoy the pictures. I was invited to be part of a collection of books called whereweare.ie and made a book called Granny Fashion that proved to be very popular, so I'd like to make more books. People love nice photography books. I have been arranging my photos into categories but I just haven't had time to organise a show or publication yet. I've started a few hashtags on IG like #grannyfashion #backoftheheadportrait #dublinfaces #mysteriouscorner all of which have potential to be made into something bigger. I'd like to work on some larger scale photography projects or work with a fashion designer to do something cool but we'll see. I'll just keep taking pictures and see where it goes.