Shane Lavalette, "Boy at Gas Station", from the series "Slí ná Boirne", 2008, c-print, 20x16"

Shane Lavalette, “Boy at Gas Station”, from the series “Slí ná Boirne”, 2008, c-print, 20×16″

Shane Lavalette

These photographs were made along a walking trail called “Slí ná Boirne (The Burren Way)”, which stretches 27 miles through the heart of the Burren, one of Ireland’s most beautiful and unique landscapes. Its limestone escarpment, formed by erosion and the scouring of successive glaciations, extends north from Corofin to Bell Harbour, west to Black Head and down to Doolin, where it ends.

Covering the majority of County Clare, the Burren is one of Ireland’s main tourist attractions as well as one of the country’s most important heritage assets. In recent years the area has been a topic of debate as the land faces the threat of being overgrown by plant life, in particular by Hazel and Blackthorn Scrub. It has been reported that the growth of these two plants alone is increasing by almost 5% per year, which in time could turn the Burren into a forest-like landscape. For those who live there, the change in the landscape would represent something more: a loss of culture. Through my photographs, I hope to share the meaning the landscape of the Burren holds for its inhabitants as well as the way in which the poetry of its people are reflected in it.

Shane Lavalette (Somerville, MA) received a BFA from Tufts University in partnership with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA in 2009. Shane’s work has been included in many exhibitions at such venues as Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, NY; Backlit Gallery & Studios, Nottingham, England; SATIN SATAN Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery Bar, New York, NY; and Warehouse Gallery, Washington, DC. Recently, his work was featured in Humble Arts Foundation’s book The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography and his project Sl√≠ n√° Boirne was selected as one of the winners of the prestigious Yousuf Karsh Prize in Photography. Shane is the founder and editor of Lay Flat, a new publication of contemporary photography and writing.