My work is broadly concerned with the relationships between people and their environments, and I strive to foster an active engagement with a given place through a practice called deep mapping. Deep mapping gives value and importance to the variety of narratives that are encapsulated in a given environment. To me and my practice, deep mapping means to seek and follow the threads of the narratives entwined in a given space, and to provide a layered, multifarious, and evolving understanding of it.
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is very comfortable around water. I grew up as a swimmer, I trained in the after school swim team, and I competed in swim meets. For many years, I worked as a lifeguard, watching carefully as people floated lazily in the pool. But it is only recently that I realized how uncomfortable I am with wild swimming. More specifically, I’m most nervous in lakes; their murky and opaque depths are so different to the chlorinated blue hues of the swimming pool. I want to become more comfortable in those environments and I’m curious about this act of submerging my body into something that makes me so uncomfortable, but that can also provide such a release. Last summer, I started photographing friends as they swam (and I swam a little too!) and I started experimenting with watercolour additions on, and around, these images. With this residency, I would like to explore this new combined medium of photography and watercolour while continuing to explore my relationship to water, which is at once a source of comfort and discomfort.
I am from Montréal but I now reside in Toronto. I work primarily with photography and my experience as an artist is greatly shaped by being a first-generation Canadian of Irish and Swiss descent. In 2021 I graduated from the Master of Design program at Concordia University and in 2015 I completed a BFA in Photography at Concordia. In the past year, I began teaching photography and video at Humber College and most recently, I became the Photography Editor for the online literary magazine carte blanche. More about my work can be seen at shaneyherrmann.com.