The Culmination of a four year project
Last week in Dublin a major engineering project was finished. The “Luas” cross-city project was finally completed. For those not familiar with Ireland’s capital, “Luas” is the name of Dublin city’s tram system. When it was originally built there were two lines, which severed different parts of the city, but they weren’t connected, and there was no way to cross the city on the tram. Recently the city undertook a major civil engineering project to join the two lines.
When it was first being built int he early 2000s it had been planned that both lines would be connected, but objections from businesses along the route to the project among other issues caused the city planners to abandon it in the original phase. However, an extension to complete it was always planned. Once the planning permission and concerns of local businesses were finally addressed, construction began roughly four years ago, and last week it was finally opened. At this point, you may be wondering what this has to do with photography? I had been photographing the progress of the construction for the last four years, and now with it finally completed, so too is my photo project.
I hadn’t really set out to do this as an actually planned project originally. As I take a lot of street photography around the city, it occurred to me, that perhaps documenting the progress of the construction might be a good idea. I knew it would make an interesting collection for my Streets of Dublin website, and so when something interesting in the building works presented itself, I took the opportunity.
The construction actually got kind of ridiculous at one point, and the whole city was pretty much a building site. In fact, it was so disruptive I found it hard to do my normal cityscape photography. As the months and years passed, my collection of images slowly grew. I photographed it with many different cameras and from many different angles. I didn’t just want to document the construction, but also the effect it had on the community, and how people were interacting with it.
There was a lot of ancillary work too. Not only were new tram lines being laid, but there was a new bridge built, and new paths (sidewalks, for my American readers!) and new road layouts. In fact, my photos of the new bridge, after it was built, were picked up by the city council and featured in a book on the bridges of Dublin.
As it began nearing completion, it was hard to believe that four years had nearly passed. To me, watching the progress, the defining moments were when they connected the new line to the existing one, and when the first test trams started running on the track.
It was an interesting experience conducting such a long-term project, even if it wasn’t really properly thought out. In hindsight, I wish I had approached it in a more structured manner, and set goals as well as shots to get. Instead, I went about it in a more haphazard approach. Still, I’m happy with the results. It’s fun to look back as the project progressed, and seeing it as a final collection is an interesting retrospective, well, for me anyway.
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