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'All I had was a new found sense of purpose paired with insomnia and an IG account' by Dora Hurley

I find it very hard to put into words the experience of lock down. Living through this collective trauma in real time is a life defining experience. It felt and still feels like, we are going through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance but in a random, unpredictable order. I find as events and time progresses, any given day’s any given hour can be dominated with one or the other or even multiple stages of grief at the same time. Angry denial, total depression, hopeless bargaining, back to anger, numbing into denial, a deep sense of acceptance and it’s only 2pm…. I can’t really put a date on it but I believe sometime around the second lock down, towards the end of the summer 2020, I begin to feel a shift. I started seeing more of what was gained instead of what was lost.

In this weird, non-real but yet very real life I found myself to be able to let go. Let go of “what it should be”, of “what it should look like” and “what should be done”. Work, family relationships, marriage, parenting…all of it. This affected our family life in a very positive way and this atmosphere allowed me to dig even deeper and start something, I probably would have never done otherwise: create art. Lock down and isolation created a safety bubble in which a lot of my fears as a creative person/artist dissolved. It honestly didn’t matter if I will be ridiculed or laughed at because on the large scale of things, an image I created seemed tiny and irrelevant anyway, so I might as well create whatever I feel like. It didn’t fear anymore what other people thought of my work, because I didn’t see anyone in real life and people who mattered the most were supportive. It also didn’t matter anymore that at age 40 I felt like I was too late to the artist party, because time has lost its relevance. And finally, I didn’t have to worry anymore on how ‘creating art’ would affect my photography business because I had no business, bookings or clients at that point due to the circumstances All I had was a new found sense of purpose paired with insomnia and an IG account. It started with self-portraits which were sometimes funny and surreal, sometimes an invitation for conversation with like-minded souls. It connected me with other artists and creators who were inspiring, supportive and encouraging. As I progressed with photoshop skills the output of my images became more complex and it allowed me to think up more and more layered ideas. Finally, I set out a task to create a concept which would somehow combine all of my favourite things: photography, Dublin, history, architecture and nature. This is how the Wild Dublin collection was born on, which then turned into an Etsy art shop and a new business. 2020 has taught me that it’s worth pursuing a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear and for that I’m grateful.

Words and image by Dora Hurley

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