Artistic License: Dora Hurley - The Gloss Magazine
2 months ago

Artistic License: Dora Hurley


How the Dublin-based photographer used the pandemic to upskill and create whimsical collages combining her love of street scenes, architecture and Irish wildlife …

You have clearly pivoted as a result of the pandemic. Can you tell us how the crisis affected your business, and how you adapted your skills?

Photography has been a long term creative outlet for me. It began in New York where I worked in my 20s and bought my first real camera. However, it was undeniably motherhood and photographing our twin boys growing up that elevated my photography skills to a professional level.

Last year was set to be a very exciting year for my still quite new photography business. After seven years as a stay at home mum, I was very proud having built my own business from the ground up while juggling my home life and I was really looking forward to having a busy work year. Then suddenly it was March and we were all brought to halt. I find it very hard to put into words the experience of the pandemic and especially lockdown. Living through this collective trauma in real time was a life defining experience. It felt like we were all going through the five stages of grief but in a random, unpredictable order.

Around May, I started to feel a shift and concentrated more on what was to be gained and learned instead of focusing on what was lost. I found myself letting go of what my work should be and what it should look like. This process brought on a new mindset which allowed me to start something that I most likely would have never done otherwise – create art!

From that point I dedicated every minute of every day outside of homeschooling and family life, to teach myself pro photoshop and also new photography skills. Pandemic insomnia came in handy too, as I often worked for ten hours per day. The more I learned and the more I practiced, I became more confident and I was able to create more complex, composite images. This eventually led to the creation of the “Wild Dublin” concept and my first piece.

What was the inspiration behind your new collection called Wild Dublin?

The inspiration comes from a need to find a way in which I can tell the story of the things I feel very passionate about and drawn to. Things like Dublin’s architectural history, street photography, protecting native Irish wildlife and showing respect to nature’s wilderness. It also comes from an inner process of what I like to call “stepping into my wild” – a space where I allow the voices of fear of failure and imposter syndrome to be listened to and gently acknowledged, but not allowed to get in the way.

How do you describe these works?

Wild and free. Whimsical and inspiring. My aim is to transport you into a world full of enchanting possibilities and wonder. It also encourages you to get lost in the details and create your own story about the art.

Tell us about the process of creating these prints…

Every artwork starts with a canvas and in my case it’s the photo of the street. I then build a combination of my own photos and stock images layered on top. It’s then finished with a lot of hand drawn details in photoshop.
Morning light is the best time for creating images, so I very often get up while it’s still dark and drive to a specific location to capture sunrise photos. The sleepy Dublin streets, the first rays of sunrise hitting the cobblestones and red bricks are what I find most magical in the early hours.

When the artwork is finished it is printed by a fine art, Irish printer using a giclée technique, archival ink and paper to achieve the highest quality and to guarantee longevity. At present I am shipping them from my home office, but I’m hoping to secure a market stall spot soon and get my Wild Dublin series on the walls of a few design shops in Dublin. It’s very exciting.

Have you got any favourites in the collection?

This is hard, a bit like asking who is your favourite child. I have to say The Fox on the Roof. It is the first Wild Dublin artwork and the one that set me on a brand new path of life.

Need To Know: You can check out the full Wild Dublin collection of 14 prints at and follow Hurley’s creative process on @dorahurley.imagines.

Read more from our Artistic License series here.


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