September 2nd, 2014

Beachside With Dana Tynan


Cut, print, reset. We all have techniques for breaking the routine and refueling our creativity.

It’s just that most of our routines aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as Dana Tynan’s. Dana has a knack for capturing the subtle moments of life, a skill she finesses on her quiet times away in the North Shore in Hawaii, where she lives for several months every year.

We’ll let Dana’s words and photos of her abode do the North Shore justice…

Let’s chat for a moment about how you happened upon the North Shore.

The first time I visited the North Shore, I was on a shoot. One of the perks of my work is that it has brought me countless amazing experiences all over the world. The North Shore is the perfect shooting location. Everywhere you turn, every moment you capture feels like it is begging to be photographed. The light and weather provide a vast natural array of frequencies to shoot in, so the environment constantly feels like its dynamic in its own way. The sky becomes your DP and you can shoot all day long.


How does the environment affect your creative process?

There’s something magical about it that really straightens your brain out. There’s such an iconoclast vibe there. Production can be both intense and exhilarating, so when you take yourself out of that grind and you sit back and just stare at the ocean, you let all of those anxieties wash away. As a director, I’m called on to bring humanity into a project, and the only way I can do that is by making sure I am in touch with my own humanity. There’s no better place to do that than the North Shore.

There’s also something about the climate directly – the heat and the humidity. This sounds counterintuitive to being productive, but your brain sort of shuts down at a certain heat, and everything and everyone moves a little slower. It can be frustrating coming from New York or LA, but in a few days you kind of get with the program and let it go. The environment literally imposes itself on you in a calming way.


What inspires you most about the space?

It’s really a wild throwback to another time. There’s a renegade spirit that might be born out of the surf culture (our house is located at Sunset Beach), but it feels like a community of nonconformists and I really love that part of it. I guess I respond well to a little touch of anarchy mixed with some healthy renegade energy. It’s a place of elastic possibility, where you never know quite what is going to happen, which translates well to my work. I’m always trying to hold a place for the next moment that’s going to surprise me or surprise the client, to be fresh and take you to another place. That moment is ripe for the picking here.


Speaking of looking for the unexpected, what do you think would surprise most people about the North Shore?

The North Shore can be a fierce place. Most people think of it as paradise here, and there are certainly elements of that vibe. But it’s got an edge to it too – maybe because it is the epicenter of surfing in the world. There are so many different tones and different shades to it, which is one of the many reasons I love shooting here. You can shoot an edgy print campaign for Levi’s and then turn around a shoot a catalog for JCrew within 2 miles of each other.


What’s up next for you?

I’m excited about some larger film projects that are working their way (hopefully) into the pipeline as well as some advertising and photography work that’s coming out in the upcoming months. We’ll just have to wait and see.