WHEN architecture student Stephanie Maloney was asked to describe what Limerick city meant to her, she decided to capture the people on the streets of the city.
After choosing a photography elective as part of her course of study at the School of Architecture, University of Limerick, the class was encouraged to photograph elements of the city that described what Limerick meant to them.
While not a native of the city, Stephanie has lived here for five years, and said that each time she comes in to the city she finds “the most captivating and original aspect to be the diversity and personality that its residents exude”.
“There is a sense of intimacy about the city. Limerick supports interactions on a personal scale: the people know each other, there are familiar faces, the same daily encounters and these occur openly, unlike in some other cities.
“There are exchanges here that do not exist in some other cities. The sense of anonymity that exists in larger cities isn’t an issue here among the varied and individual population of Limerick city.”
Stephanie also sought to capture the multi-cultural city that Limerick has become in recent years. “This can clearly be seen in the range of diversity captured in the series of portraits shot on an ordinary Tuesday evening on O’Connell Street, over the space of two hours.”
She randomly stopped passers-by and asked if she could photograph them, against a shuttered store front on the main thoroughfare, after shop closing hours. No deliberate thought was given to how they would be portrayed, she said, choosing to simply capture them as they appeared before her.
“I shot them exactly as they stood in front of me. The randomness of the participants meant that I could photograph people in everyday mundane situations, on their way home, on evening walks, out for the night and yet despite the ordinariness of the situation and the blandness of the background, their personalities all shine through. The absence of context meant that it was solely the character of the person, caught in a moment that is expressed.”