'People Tanning. Tanners' Stories of All Ages' is a personal photography project based on a subject and place that have haunted me for a while. Tanning shops, sunbeds, and after all our interests and obsessions for what we look like, how we dress up and feel within our skin, within the human shell beneath which we hide our feelings, insecurities, doubts, aspirations, worries, stress, anxiety, dreams.
Ireland. The lack of sunshine that has a huge impact on people's mood, low levels of vitamin D and skin not exposed sufficiently to the sun, or not how much most of us living in the country would love to.
The Tanning Phenomenon and tanning culture including sunbeds, and numerous tanning salons are embraced by tanners as a way of escapism, mini ten-minute holidays and mood boosters that improve energy and relieve stress. There are many who use tanning beds to treat psoriasis and other skin problems.
I have been visually representing the stories and capturing my subjects within the tanning shop, the challenging location I used to explore what is possible with the camera and my sitters using solariums. It has been a human laboratory where I experimented with new ideas and approaches.
People can truly be themselves as they tan, enjoy their time, read books and newspapers, drink smoothies, take selfies and relax.
What mostly fascinates me is what it means for the tanners lying comfortably in a sunbed for about ten minutes, listening to loud music and feeling the heat while tanning indoors.
I explore through my photography the interest and fixation of ourselves, of likability, of what we experience underneath our skin, our everyday dressing up, behaving and perception of ourselves.
'Tanning is like dressing. ', one tanner told me, ' Within my human shell, I feel better when I am tanned. I feel more attractive and self-confident.'
The real crux of my photography is portraiture. Under the lamp of a tanning bed and with the tanners in front of my camera, I have been discovering the human psychology of our existence, the intimate, 'me time' moments we spend with ourselves and our thoughts.
Hours spent in a tanning bed are perhaps a need for solitude and peace in this hectic world, pampering, daydreaming, relaxing, entertainment, or urge to increase our inside/outside beauty and self-esteem.
'Tanning is like dressing. Within my human shell, I feel better when I am tanned. I feel more attractive and self-confident.’