Interview Shane Lynam

Shane Lynam is an Irish photographer based in Dublin. He is currently self-publishing his first book Fifty High Seasons. Alongside his art work, Shane works on editorial or commercial projects. Shane studied Politics and Economics at University College Dublin before completing an MA in Documentary Photography at Newport School of Art, University of Wales in October 2012.

About « Fifty High Seasons »
Fifty High Seasons looks at quirky & unusual 1960’s holiday resorts in the Languedoc region of the south of France.


Where’s the title of the project is coming from?  
The title references the fifty years of tourism that have occurred since the conception of La Mission Racine in 1963. In 2013 I was halfway through making the work.

Could you tell us more about these places, its history, and the Mission Racine? I understood that it is not just one resort but a few of them? 
La Mission Racine involved the development of seven resorts along the coast between Montpellier and Perpignan. In 1963 President de Gaulle initiated a new urban planning project, known as ‘La Mission Racine’, to develop a stretch of French coastline between Montpellier and Perpignan into a series of coastal resorts. Ahead of its time, innovative architects were hired for each town to construct unique and unusual spaces adapted to the local environment. It aimed to turn the area into a holiday destination centered around leisure while offering an alternative source of income locally.

« La Mission Racine aimed to turn the area into a holiday destination centered around leisure while offering an alternative source of income locally. »

The project has undoubtedly been an economic success, however, La Mission Racine was not only about enriching the region. It included an 18% quota of social housing to allow more French citizens to take advantage of their ‘congé payé’ (paid holidays). There was a real determination to provide an alternative to the expensive Cote d’Azur without the excesses of similar developments further south in Spain.

Do you know how long did it take to the Mission Racine to develop this part of French coast? 
La Mission Racine was in place from 1963 to 1983.

This urban project was to make leisure for the ordinary worker. Did it reach its goal?
I don’t think it’s my job to answer that question, however, I do get the feeling that even today the tourist population during the high seasons represents a good cross-section of French society. It changes in September/October when the older homeowners take their holidays.

How did you organise yourself in the process of documenting the places?
I traveled there once or twice a year every year between 2007 and 2017.

How did the project evolve over the years?
The space itself changed over the years I was shooting it and many of the locations included in the edit have been renovated or painted over.  My own style of shooting also changed during this time.

« I put some time into preparing the fundraising campaign. I looked at other campaigns and tried to figure out what worked and what didn’t. »

You are about to release a photobook of it. You had a very good fundraising campaign. How did you plan it, promote it and make it so successful?
I put some time into preparing the campaign. I looked at other campaigns and tried to figure out what worked and what didn’t. I have been sharing the work online since the beginning, as a result, I was able to tap into an audience that was present even before the campaign began. I imagine that starting from day 1 with no audience would be quite challenging.

You ended your funding with more money than originally planned, how did you use the extra money? 
To be honest, I had undervalued the cost of the project with the initial goal. I will probably end up going over budget in the end. I did increase the amount of pages and will go for a hardcover instead of a soft cover. I have been able to get some help with the process.

Where can we buy your book online?
This can be found on my website. The book is not yet printed but it should be done soon.

Camera(s) used for the project? 
Fuji GA645

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His book « Fifty High Seasons » will be available soon on his website.