Life

Originally from Ireland, Siobhán now lives in Hertfordshire, UK. She has worked as a freelance photographic artist and designer since September 2007. Prior to this, she divided her time between her first calling, architectural design, and producing her own artwork.

Initially trained in architectural technology, Siobhán worked for more than a decade in building design in the City of London before undertaking a photography degree at the University of Westminster. She graduated in 2006 with first-class honours, and now devotes all her time to photography and its related disciplines.

Siobhán undertakes both personal fine-art projects, often creating commissioned pieces for new buildings, and work with the design community, capturing recently finished architectural projects. In both roles, she brings to bear her architectural experience.

Window detail from a residential shoot in Cambridge for Mole Architecture

Work

Siobhán’s current output ranges from the publication of her second book, The Lanesborough Reimagined, in December 2015; to the design and curating of a new exhibition, ‘Savoy Place Revealed’, a building documentation commissioned by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET); to a personal-interest project (working title: ‘Theatre Land’), in which she is capturing the essence of the architecture and people of a variety of London theatres.

Not surprisingly, Siobhán’s architectural background has influenced her photography and career trajectory. Her design training helps distinguish her from other architectural photographers, and has nurtured her interest in the presentation of photography through books, exhibition design and curating.

She is especially drawn to a balance of the old and the new in buildings. She also relishes capturing every stage in a built project.

With a keen interest in both furniture and residential work. Siobhán works alongside designers, contractors and building owners, and is eager to collaborate in order to capture their brief while preserving her own style

 

 

Background

‘Missing’

Siobhán’s first series of photographs, ‘Missing’ – exhibited as part of a multi-artist show at north London’s Lauderdale House gallery in 2004 – comprised haunting images of abandoned or forgotten objects, captured exactly where they were left by long-disappeared owners. She recalls, ‘I wanted each object to tell its own story.’

‘One Year in Ashridge’

For a period of 12 months from her Hertfordshire base, Siobhán photographed the historic beech woods of Ashridge, just outside Berkhamsted. This forest extends across 1,200 hectares, making it one of the largest areas of deciduous woodland in England.

Siobhán describes the series ‘One Year in Ashridge’ as ‘a study in verticals and colour, documenting the passing seasons and the spectacular visible change as elements decay and fall away, and new growth emerges – repeating the cycle from year to year.’

 

Hotel Restorations

Siobhán’s architectural work has included the ‘St Pancras Hotel’ and ‘Savoy’ projects – the former, a 2006 series of images of the semi-derelict Victorian railway masterpiece as it awaited renovation; the latter, an exhaustive three-year chronicle of one of the world’s most iconic hotels undergoing wholesale restoration.

Her latest such commission is for another prestigious London hotel: this time, the renovation of Hyde Park’s famous Lanesborough Hotel by renowned interior designer Alberto Pinto.

The Savoy project formed the subject of a solo show at the 81 Leonard Street Gallery, and was produced with a book tie-in, with Savoy | The Restoration being released by Dewi Lewis Publishing in 2011.

The book’s frontispiece was an evocative shot of the individual gilded metal letters from the hotel’s external sign lying in the shell of the famous Savoy Grill Room, where they spell out the word ‘S-A-V-O-Y’. Siobhán tells the story of this image:

‘I was photographing at the hotel when I had a call from the MD to say they were taking the lettering away to be cleaned. I went straight to the Grill only to find them already boxed up. I needed to remove them from their packaging to make something of the photograph. I carefully extracted them from their boxes, and played with them for quite a while trying different arrangements – they are hollow so needed something to support them. In the end, the Savoy Grill banquet seating, in its protective covers, proved to be the perfect backdrop.’

This striking image was selected by the Royal Academy of Arts, London to be exhibited in their Summer Show 2012.

In 2013, the project was selected by François Hébel, Director of Les Rencontres d’Arles photography festival, for the exhibition ‘Impresa Fotografia Bologna’, held in Bologna, Italy. A wide-ranging exploration of corporate photography, this exhibition showed works by, amongst others, Brian Griffin, David Goldblatt, Mark Power and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Siobhán’s work was exhibited in the form of a permanent projection, and was installed in a magnificent ex-orphanage – itself in the process of reconstruction.

 

Further Commissions

‘St Pancras’ and ‘Savoy’ have led to further commissions within the corporate world, ranging from a series of London landscapes to in-depth documentations of buildings and organizations, to creating books and catalogues – including text, design and photography work.

In her current commission for the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Siobhán created a combination of artwork and signage for the institute’s meeting rooms, ready for the reopening of its London headquarters. The artwork is themed around the world-renowned inventors and scientists who comprise the IET’s past members. The 22 pieces are hung throughout the building, and inform viewers about the luminaries after whom each meeting room is named. ‘This was a perfect opportunity to use my design skills’, says Siobhán, ‘It was quite a challenge to find portraits that could be contemporised, and illustrations to represent each person’s individual skill or invention.’

For more on her design work, go to ‘Siobhán Doran Design’ on the pull-down menu.

For more information please contact siobhan@siobhandoran.com or download her Curriculum Vitae here