Set against the backdrop of the Ballymun housing estate in Dublin, Ireland, Joyrider is a coming of age story, documenting rites of passage on the ‘block,’ experiences that convert youthful abandon to criminal enterprise. Inspired by societal changes in his native Ireland, McDonnell spent several years working in the area as residents were being relocated in anticipation of the complex’s final demolition.
Now published in its complete form for the first time, Joyrider depicts a marginalized youth reclaiming the space around them in the face of this urban regeneration. We see, writ large, the forces and tensions that shape us all as young individuals: creation and destruction, inclusion and escapism, environment and identity.
The book is a breathless ride. McDonnell, whose background is in film, marries his flair for the cinematic with a kinetic visual language to make Joyrider a participatory work. We accompany the characters through their transgressions, conquests, and their rituals, both boring and sublime.
Joyrider is the October featured Book of the Month for the influential Charcoal Book Club.
Ross McDonnell is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker who has been shortlisted for the Prix Pictet: Hope, the world’s largest award for photography and sustainability on show at Gallery of Photography Ireland until November 6th. McDonnell’s series Joyrider has previously appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Fader, Vice Magazine, Joia, Mass Appeal & Esquire, among others. This is his first publication.
Read Irish Arts Review on Ross McDonnell’s Joyrider here
Read Exposure Works’ interview with Ross McDonnell here
Published by Thirty Nine Books, 2021, 112 pages, 61 images.