Having been very influenced by documentary film, in particular direct cinema or cinema verite, Cunnane's approach to photography has always probed questions about the apparatus of the camera as analogous to the mechanisms of the eye and the act of witnessing itself. He is interested in the formal interaction between eye and lens and where the shortcomings of both interact.
Not so much interested in a central 'event' or happening, Cunnane's camera seeks to explore the remnants or the outskirts of an occurrence, sometimes by simply implying something has happened. This potential of the everyday fabric of our world to be transformed and to be altered, like a set piece of props is never far from the work. More recently, Cunnane continued this exploration in a work made in Guangzhou in China in which the aim was to explore the underlying tension and messiness of the unnoticed debris and overlooked oddities that escape progress. This approach will be continued in a new work based in the west of Ireland.
A BA Photography graduate of IADT, Dublin (2011), Cunnane's work uses film and chemical photographic processes, printed by hand by the artist. He remains highly connected to the physicality of the production process, in no small part influenced by the increasingly dematerialised nature of contemporary image making and its subsequent dissemination and consumption.
Recent solo exhibitions include:Online Viewing Room, Kerlin Gallery, (April 2020); Boxes Museum of Art, Shunde, China (2018); Samuel Laurence Cunnane, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, (2016) and Samuel Laurence Cunnane, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, (2015). Recent projects and group exhibitions include: Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art, The National Gallery of Ireland, (2019); An Act of Hospitality Can Only be Poetic, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Ireland, (2018); Fortnightly Features Presents, Kerlin Gallery (2014) and the screening Portfolio, Les Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, France (2012).
In 2012, Cunnane worked in the Maysles Documentary Centre in New York, spending time alongside its founder, the celebrated American filmmaker Albert Maysles, to hand print his collection of documentary photographs.