Tag Archives: brendan ó

Today at Apple

Today at Apple. Well, last Saturday at Apple in their brand new Singapore store on Orchard Road for a photo talk and walk. It was great fun.

I got into Singapore on Friday morning and after a quick meeting with Apple staff, where I was told that the talk had reached maximum occupancy in 24 hours, my good friend Arik Chan – whose photos populate this post – and I hit the streets to scout for good photo opportunities.

Now in a big city on a busy Friday evening of course you are going to find them. I was looking for shots which could guide the participants the following day when we headed out as a group.

I have been on a new photographic path since I began to shoot in Portrait Mode. Why? Two reasons: 1. It slows me down – which is always a good thing to help you improve. And 2: it means I get to engage with people on the street. I get to talk to them as I shoot.

Singaporeans are a friendly bunch. Here are some of the portraits I shot.

iPhone Portrait Mode: Singapore

iPhone Portrait Mode: Singapore

iPhone Portrait Mode: Singapore

We had been worried that the weather might not be kind to us. The talk was scheduled was 5 p.m. At 3 p.m on our way to the store it was lashing, but I had a feeling this would not last.

The structure of the talk was to give a background to myself and my work and to guide and inspire them as to the type of shots we could get on the one-hour photo walk.

Here we go Reviewing some of my favourite photos Some of the participants

I love photo walks. Everyone walks the same route, passes the same things, but sees things so differently I am always amazed at the shots participants bring back; very often shots I wish I had gotten myself.

Shooting

With a group of 50 people it is not easy to give individual attention to each person. So with the help of some Apple staff we broke up into 3 groups and I spent 20 minutes with each.

Look up

It was a blast. Particularly seeing people putting what they had learnt into immediate practice.

Putting Olloclip into action

When we eventually got back to the Apple Store for a 30 minute review of each other’s shots I found myself exclaiming – “Wow!” – many’s the time. If you check the hashtag #todayatapple you can find some of their shots.

Reviewing photographs

I got to thank Monogramasia for their continuing support in all I do. Means a lot! Thanks to Olloclip also – really appreciate the backing. To Apple’s excellent staff in Singapore and of course, to the wonderful people who came to the event and made it such a fun experience for me.

With some of the participants

And last, but not least, to Arik Chan for these great photos of the event. Check Arik’s work here and here.

With my good friend, Arik Chan

Until the next time, Singapore…

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, Street Photography, Workshops Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Rebel Street Photography

Met up with the good folk of Cork’s Rebel Street Photography group on Saturday to give a street photography workshop to their members.

In preparing for the workshop it was fun to look back through images I had made here in Cork. Made me think I need to get out more and shoot in my hometown.

CORK

CORK

I have given talks and workshops in various parts of the world and shared the stage with some big lights in street photography, but for some reason I was very nervous for this workshop. Maybe because it was in my own backyard. But like most things in life that you get worked up about, it never turns out to be as bad as you have made out in your head. 

Hitting the streets with Cork’s Rebel Street Photography group

I’ve been working on putting together a series of portraits shot on iPhone. This has led to a change in approach for me. Instead of looking for candid moments, I am now enjoying engaging with people, getting to know them a little as I make their portraits.

Linda and her dog Bud

A man from Tyrone

Kofi from Ghana

Andre from Italy

Cork

Cork

Nothing but the truth in this, boy

The People’s Paper

Bam Artist Artiste

Bam Artist Artiste

Bam Artist Artiste

You can learn more about Bam Artist Artiste here. 

Big thanks again to all in the Rebel Street Photography group, particularly Stela who was absolutely brilliant in making the workshop happen!

Rebel Street Photography Group

Kiss the future…

 

Posted in iPhone, iPhone photography, Street Photography, Workshops Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Cork versus Kerry

I won’t get into the match. The less said about it, the better. Suffice to say the little boy in me who dreamed of Cork beating Kerry in Fitzgerald’s Stadium yesterday left the stadium with about 10 minutes still to go in the game as Kerry strolled past an awful Cork team.

But winning isn’t everything as they say. Usually they say this only when you lose. I never say it when we win. But, no, yesterday was about being with friends, catching up. I drove down with a good friend who was home from Australia and who wanted to bring his two kids to their first Munster Final. It was great just to be with them.
Down in Killarney I met up with Tim Bingham and we shot the streets for about an hour before the game began.

Thirsty supporters need their beer. (shot on iPhone 7)

Two confident Kerrymen. (shot on iPhone 7)

(shot on iPhone 7)

Two Kerry lassies. (shot on iPhone 7)

An always-confident Cork fan. (shot on iPhone 7)

A cheerful Cork fan. (shot on iPhone 7)

A barber’s delight. (shot on iPhone 7)

Another delight for a barber. (shot on iPhone 7)

A Kerry fan. (shot on iPhone 7)

A Kerry lassie. (shot on iPhone 7)

Beautiful red hair. (shot on iPhone 7)

Making memories. (shot on iPhone 7)

Some of the crowd. (shot on iPhone 7)

Careful now! (Shot on iPhone 7plus)

That is a big plaster. (shot on iPhone 7 plus)

The lads. (shot on iPhone 7plus)

Shot on iPhone 7plus

An 99. (Shot on iPhone 7 plus)

Some pre-match entertainment (shot on iPhone 7plus)

Some food before throw-off. (Shot on iPhone 7 plus)

A family day out. (shot on iPhone 7 plus)

Game on! (shot on iPhone 7plus)

All to play for. (shot on iPhone 7plus)

The crowd. (Shot on iPhone 7plus)

Kerry lording it over Cork. (Shot on iPhone 7Plus)

 

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, GAA, iPhone, iPhone photography, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Shandon Street Festival

Beautiful sunshine in Cork today for the Shandon Street Festival. Headed up there with fellow Cork photographers Johnathan Leahy Majaraj, Dee McCaffrey, Gerry O’Riordan, and Tim Bingham who may not be from Cork, but is an honorary Corkman.

Shandon Street is home to the iconic Shandon Steeple and is the symbol of Cork. You cannot come to Cork and not visit to ring its bells and climb to its top for the magnificent panoramic view of the city.

The following photos are of the scene, the crowd and some of the characters of the day. They were all shot on iPhone and processed on Snapseed.

 

 

Posted in iPhone photography, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My favourite non-iPhone Photos of 2016

Moving on from yesterday’s favourite 2016 iPhone photographs, now is time to review and select my favourite Fuji x100t and Nikon D7000 photographs from the past 12 months. Usually, to do this I just go back over the photos I have posted to Flickr in the previous 12 months, but this year I really did not post a lot to Flickr, and the reality is that most of my best photographs are buried deep in my iMac.

So, to do this I actually need to go back through the images, select and edit them. All will be from the period of March to September. Reality is those two cameras lived in a dark drawer for most of the year. What is they say about the best camera you have?

This won’t be categorised chronologically either; just 12 of my faves – today – December, 31st, 2016! Reality is tomorrow I would choose a different twelve.

A mother’s love (Varanasi, July 2016)

Our guide in Varanasi brought us to a shop to convert our 500 Rupee notes into 20 Rupee notes to give to the people we photographed. He said we needed to do this. I had not intended to shoot posed portraits. I don’t shoot like this, but with a wad of 20 Rupee notes I felt obliged. India has characters who turn your head and stop you in your tracks. The likes of people you have only seen in documentaries or magazines like National Geographic, and being a naiive photographer you want to satisfy your dreams of getting a Steve McCurry like image.

I parted with many 20 rupee notes and got some posed photographs. Unsatisfied with most – experienced as an artificial exchange. Then this guy approached me on a crowded and chaotic street and with gesture indicated he wanted me to photograph him. In the time it took to understand him we were locked in eye contact. When I hoisted the camera he shot his eyes to heaven and for the three or four frames I shot he did not look into the lens. You know, I don’t remember if he asked for money or if I offered it. 

A mother’s love

Bangkok: The slow rhythm of patience (April, 2016)

Had a discussion with a friend of mine about photography and how we use it to interpret what we experience. I told him that very often when I arrive in a city it overwhelms me and to begin with everywhere I point my camera seems to be the wrong place. I said it takes time to slip into the rhythm of a city, to feel its pulse beat in time with mine and then it just becomes instinctive. 

Bangkok was like that. An assault on the senses. The smell of petrol fumes fused with lemongrass. The hum of the constant traffic. The neon and fresh fruit stalls. The swell and sway of people always on the move. The welcoming smile and the 100-mile gaze. The searing heat. At every turn there was something which got my attention; something which I had to capture in a frame.  I had not visited the red light district on my last visit to Bangkok, but this time we were brought on a little tour by a Japanese friend. Impossible to compute it all. The luxury of photography allows time to reflect. Let the camera see.

Bangkok: The slow rhythm of patience

Jakarta (April, 2016)

Arrived in Jakarta from Bangkok in the evening and it felt darker. There was no neon. I remember finding this place and being struck by the colours of the woman passing. I huddled down between two cars and defocussed and began to shoot. I like the image as it seems, to me, to capture the colour, the light and the movement of that evening.

Jakarta

Blur will save the world (Tokyo, April, 2016)

Shooting on the street is frustrating. I recall listening to a podcast with Rinzi Ruiz (a fine photographer) and he said that if you see it, you have missed it. And you know it is true. That decisive moment is elusive, and so much relies on luck. Shooting in Tokyo is electrifying. I love it. The way I work is that I will shoot for a while with the iPhone, then the Fuji, but I usually leave the Nikon for those sweet moments when I push things out of focus and transform what I see into something more beautiful, something less real, something that soothes and arouses, something that is only mine. You do know that blur will save the world?

Tokyo: Blur will save the world

Jakarta (April, 2016)

In Jakarta we visited the animal market. We came across this scene below. The little boy was learning how to train pigeons. I imagine he is the same age as my little boy. The guys training him were patient, encouraging and kind. The pigeons were obliging. Myself and Elfie (seen here behind the little boy) stayed here for about 20 minutes, shooting the scene. Enthralled by the spectacle.

Jakarta (April, 2016)

Varanasi (July, 2016)

Photography is about memories. It is where yesterdays go, as my little girl told me from the back of the car when she was about three years old. Much of my photography is me trying to learn, to internalise and understand what I am experiencing. Then there are the real moments. The purposeful shots we create of loved ones; the photos we would run back into a burning house to retrieve.

Day was breaking and we were on a small boat on the River Ganges to see the sun rise. The sun rose but the clouds did not part. We finished a conversation about toast and took photos. We laughed a lot.

Varanasi (July, 2016)

On Duty (Delhi, June, 2016)

This was shot through the back window of our car moments after arriving in Delhi. The Indian adventure was ahead of us.

On Duty (Delhi, June, 2016)

Hello! (Delhi, June 2016)

I just love this guy. I was sitting in the back of the car as we made our way through the Delhi traffic. Camera in hand should a shot appear. We were stopped in traffic on this roundabout when this guy on a motorbike pulls up next to us. Instinctively I raise the camera and click, and then smile. Then the guy astonishes me as he takes off his helmet and his glasses and shoots me this beautiful big beaming smile. You got to love India!

Hello! (Delhi, June 2016)

Hello! (Delhi, June 2016)

Leh, India. (July, 2016)

Every picture tells a story, but photographs can lie. And this one does. Looking at it, it is conceivable that you believe it to be a Buddhist monk sitting high up on the roof of his monastery meditating as he contemplates the beauty of the Himalayas. But, the reality probably was that this was the best place in the monastery to get online. As we approached him we saw him shuffling as he tried to conceal his phone under his robes.

Leh, India. (July, 2016)

Leh, India. (July, 2016)

Shibuya Scramble Crossing (April, 2016)

The first time I saw the Shibuya Scramble Crossing in 2012 I stopped and I just stared. Two thousand people crossing when the red man is replaced by the green man. I have been back to Tokyo many times since and this never gets stale for me. I can look at it for hours. It is something else.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing (April, 2016)

Things to do in Tokyo at night (April, 2016)

Most of the time I am in Tokyo it is only at night that I get out to shoot. This one was taken on a photo walk with the Laurence Bouchard.  It rains a lot in Tokyo. But it makes it all the more intriguing. I like the high contrasts, and little mystery in this shot.

Things to do in Tokyo at night (April, 2016)

Vienna (June, 2016)

Really should include a photograph from Vienna. Here it is.

Vienna (June, 2016)

I have rushed this and really should have spent more time in preparing this review, but there you have it.

2016 has been incredible to me. So many people to thank. So many people who along the way who have in some way enabled me to express myself. In no particular order I would like to thank Ben, Elfie, Saad, Arik, Andy, Nikki, Glen, Dan R, Dan B, Simon, Jack H, Judie, Ankit, John, Mark, Brian, David P, Albion, Thomas, Serap, Jen, Teppo, Cielo, Laurence, Tadhg, Michael V, Darren, Joanne, Janine, Nora, Sir Cam, Paul M, Tim B, Johnathan, Lee, Ruby,  Kevin D, Randy, Dave, Brian, Kieran, Richard and Seiya. And then those loved ones who know who they are – thanks!

2016 – My favourite non-iPhone photographs

2017 – believe – achieve – kiss the future…

Posted in A Flickr Year, My own favourite photographs, photograph posts Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Photography and Technology

Whenever my photography seems to lack inspiration I tend to follow a similar path. I look back at photographs I made years back. Usually I find my answers there. It is funny how images reveal themselves over time. Features which once appeared prominent recede and elements unpronounced now reverberate. Funny how technological advances seem to have shaped my photographic journey. Back in the old days shooting with a Pentax SLR and being careful and considered with each exposure and having to wait to get the film developed before ever seeing what I had photographed to now shooting digitally on a phone (ya, a phone) and being able to instantly see it and within minutes share it on global platforms; wow, how things have changed! And still, perhaps, the basic elements are still the very same: light, composition and emotion.

Shot with Pentax Film SLR (Prague: 2001)

Pentax SLR (Prague: 2001)

Over the past year or more I have done a lot of interviews, presentations and workshops and these have allowed me to reflect on my photographic journey and inspect the path I have taken as a photographer. I cast my mind back to my old film SLR that I had in the 90s and which eventually was traded in for a Nikon S1. The reality is that I probably use the iPhone more in a month that I ever did with that old SLR I had. It spent most of its life in a drawer and was only taken out for holidays and even then I rarely shot more than a few rolls of film. It was just too expensive.

Shot with Pentax Film SLR (Amsterdam: 1998)

Shot with Pentax Film SLR (Amsterdam: 1998)

The first digital camera I got was a small, compact Nikon S1. I brought it on my first ever trip to Asia and I just loved it. Why? For two main reasons: 1. I could instantly see the shot I had made and 2. I was able to shoot until I filled the SD card. The restrictions and limits of shooting with film had gone. Result: I shot much more and like everything in life, the more you practise, the more mistakes you make, and the best thing about mistakes is that allows you to learn.

Taken with Nikon S1 (Peru: 2006)

Shot with Nikon S1 (Peru: 2006)

Being able to see the image instantly freed me from the disappointment of shooting film and discovering that I had messed up the shot and there was no possible way to get back to the location and time to correct it and shoot again. I know there are the purists who feel you need to get things right in camera, and ya, I do try to get it done in camera, but isn’t it OK to make mistakes and learn. Sure it is!

Henri Cartier Bresson’s: Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” is one of the most-widely known quotes to do with photography, and it is one I feel is outdated today. The reason being is simple. Bresson’s quote is often used to present the idea that the more you practise the better you will become, and while it is wrong to disagree with that, it does imply a linear, incremental improvement. Coming from an education background, I believe the learning process is never as simple as this, and when looking at it through the lens of artistic creation it seems to suggest that we are incapable of creating something of artistic merit in our initial stages of expression. It brings to mind a couple of  Picasso’s quotes: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” and “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Shot with Nikon S1 (Dublin: 2007)

Shot with Nikon S1 (Dublin: 2007)

This supports my belief that very often we can instinctively create something without a technical awareness of how we achieved it. Looking back at images I shot many years back. Seeing these now, with years’ of experience of shooting and viewing images, I realised that back then I was capable of creating photographs which, if I were to shoot today, I think I would be proud of.

It got me thinking further about his quote. 10,000 photographs. Just think about that for a moment. 10,000!. Back in the days of film I had an SLR. It was rarely used. I would have shot a few rolls when on holidays and another few throughout a year. Do the math on this and you can see that in a given year, I would have shot about 8 rolls of film. That is 8 x 36, making a total of 288. Continuing with the calculations you can see to get to 10,000 probably would have taken me about 35 years. Or in reality – never.

However, with the new digital technology,  things changed. There was the reduced cost and the ability to store so many images. This resulted in shooting more and more, and like many things in life: The more you practise, the better you become. It’s like most learning experiences I have had. There is no easy route to it. You learn by doing.

As I began to shoot more with the compact Nikon S1, I wanted to get myself a DSLR to create what I expected to be better images with the more technically advanced DSLR. Sure the technology allowed me to make better shots, but still the reality was that I was shooting only on occasion. It really wasn’t until I got the iPhone and as a result that I had a decent camera with me all the time, did I actually begin to shoot on a regular basis.

Shot on iPhone 3g (Cork, Ireland)

Shot on iPhone 3g (Cork, Ireland)

This photo above was shot on the iPhone 3g. I can still recall the time. Here was one of those scenes you encounter that makes you go: “That would make a great photo!” and just walk on by because you had no camera with you. But I had! I had the iPhone. Still I did not think the technology was advanced enough in the 3g to make a good shot, but in reality it is not too bad. There is a storytelling element to the image that I like.

With the iPhone I had a camera that was perfect for street photography. It was small, discreet, fast and allowed me to get in close on the streets to capture moments and candid portraits that I probably would not have made without this camera. In turn, because of this new approach, I was becoming braver with the DSLR also and making more effort to get storytelling images on the DSLR. I was shooting much more, and enjoying it much more. Technology meant that unlike before where sharing your photos meant passing around prints to friends and family, now you could upload a photo to Instagram or Flickr and you had the potential of it being seen all over the world. And from this came another vital factor in my photographic journey: viewing others’ images.  I am not sure how many photographs I see on weekly basis, but I guess it is in the high hundreds. This accelerated the learning process even further, and in turn inspired me to get out and create more images.

Shot on iPhone 4 (Lisbon: 2011)

Shot on iPhone 4 (Lisbon: 2011)

Sure, there were technological limitations with the iPhone back then: poor zoom, poor image stabilisation pushed me to be creative. I zoomed with my feet, and the poor image stabilization; well it led to this:

Shot on iPhone 5 (Cork, 2012)

Shot on iPhone 5 (Cork, 2012)

As I look back and see how obstacles like poor performance in low light resulted me in pushing the camera to create, it excites me. Back in April of this year in Tokyo I wanted to produce those type of images on the iPhone 6s, but couldn’t with ease. The technique of intentional camera movement I used with the iPhone 5 just did not work anymore. The technology had improved and unintentional camera shake was now corrected with image stabilisation. I experimented again and discovered that violent intentional camera movement could produce aesthetically pleasing blurred images on the iPhone 6s. I was delighted!

Intentional camera movement with the iPhone 6s (Tokyo, April 2016)

Intentional camera movement with the iPhone 6s (Tokyo, April 2016)

And this brings me back to today and makes me look to the future. Technology has shaped my photographic journey. Had they never thought of putting a camera on a phone, I am sure I probably would have given up on photography. Why?  Because to stay motivated you have to perceive progress. A camera left gathering dust in a drawer for most of the year just does not help. I would still be far from passing those 10,000 photos that Bresson claimed would be my worst. No, having the iPhone with me 24/7 and from that beginning to see and think photographically it put me on a path and pushed me towards reaching my potential. Still not there yet, but still on the path!

Tokyo (iPhone 6s, April, 2016)

Tokyo (iPhone 6s, April, 2016)

Each year the advances that are made in camera technology are amazing. The battle going on among camera phone manufacturers is fascinating to observe. Regular camera brands are struggling to stay ahead, and then throw this new camera from Light – the L16 –  into the mix. Have you seen this? This device is a potential game changer. It combines the fit and feel of a smartphone with the technology of a DSLR using the device’s multiple lens (up to 16 different lenses) to shoot photos at the same time, then computationally fuses them into a DSLR-quality image. Add in its wifi capabilities and wow, it is some camera!

It sure is an exciting time to be a photographer.

Kiss the future…

Varanasi (iPhone 6s. July, 2016)

Varanasi (iPhone 6s. July, 2016)

 

Posted in iPhone, iPhone 6s, iPhone photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

International iPhone Photography Awards

I learned yesterday that I had won another accolade for my Copenhagen image. The image received third place in the People Category in the International iPhone Photography Awards for 2015.

Apple image

3rd Place in the People Category of the International iPhone Photography Awards

I was also very pleased to see that these two images won honourable mentions in the Other Category of the competition. A very big congratulations to the winner Michal and all the other photographers who won categories and received honourable mentions.

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

An Honourable Mention in the Other Category of the International iPhone Photography Awards

An Honourable Mention in the Other Category of the International iPhone Photography Awards

 

Posted in photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

March 26 2015

What I like about the Fuji x100t is that what you get straight out of the camera is a top class image quality. The few shots I have posted to Flickr with it have all had minimal post processing, which is a good thing. Looking back at older photos, I do see when I over-processed images, and you know it makes me cringe. But that is the journey. It is all about learning and evolving.

This x100T image was created in the Duomo in Milan. The world-famous cathedral. Like many cathedrals and churches they have become tourist sites, but still are places of worship. I was struck by this man’s composure and demeanour. I studied him for a while as he sat in front of the altar deep in prayer. I envy people who have faith, because the feeling of being loved is the most special feeling of all, and I can only imagine what the sensation must be to feel the love of a god, a creator. When I was a child, I felt God’s presence and never doubted it. When I entered adolescence, that feeling left and it has never returned.

I got a few shots of this man in prayer, both with the Fuji and the iPhone. Then I lit a candle for my friend Liam who had recently passed away, said my own little prayer. Thanked God for the many blessings I have and continued on with being a tourist in a church.

Being Heard

Being Heard

The iPhone image was also taken in the same cathedral. It shows more tourists.

God's Tourists

God’s Tourists

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

March 20 2015

Posting two images from Milan today. One taken with the Fuji x100t (read my review here) and the other with the iPhone. News about the x100t – I had to return it to the shop. The focus is not working properly and it began to freeze. Looks like it is faulty. The shop have sent it back to Fuji so I will be without it for a period of three weeks. Just when I was growing to like it.

The first image here was taken on a platform in Cadorna metro station in Milan in the evening. Once we turned on to the platform, I was struck by the dazzling black and white horizontal lines of this man’s hoodie. Standing behind him, I shot about 10 different images – both in focus and out-of-focus, and also getting some with the iPhone. It wasn’t the easiest to get as the station was teeming with people and I had the impression that the guy knew I was photographing him.

The hesitancy scale

The hesitancy scale

The iPhone shot is super special to me. This was the moment when I fully realised that my photograph was on display around the world and the enormity of it all hit home. It was a beautiful moment and seeing my wife smiling at me when I became a little emotional about it all is a memory which will stay with me forever. The shot is another to add to the series of images I am doing on reflections. You can see me there – there with my shot on a billboard in Milan, Italy.

All lit up in Milan

All lit up in Milan

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Story of my ‘Shot on iPhone’ Photograph (Milan)

A week has passed since I last posted an update to this wonderful story. In this time, I have seen or been sent by friends images of my photograph on display on billboards or posters from cities all over the world: Santiago, San Francisco, Yokohama, Bógota, Bangkok, Berlin, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Berlin, Boston, Philadelphia, Hamburg – the list goes on. And I can say that it still is the most amazing thrill. Nothing I could ever have dreamed up. My photo on billboards and posters all over the world! And now the print campaign is starting too.

Seeing the image pop up in cities across the world and being sent photos of friends standing next to it has been so cool, but I had to see it for myself to believe it; I had to see it with my own eyes. A few days into the campaign my wife encouraged me to travel to get to see it. The options in Europe were Berlin, Hamburg or Milan. I had previously been to Berlin and Hamburg, so Milan it was. Checking airlines, I saw that Ryanair had an early morning flight out of Dublin into Milan on Saturday 14th and a late evening one back the following day. I booked it there and then. The only downside to this would be that I was travelling on my own. We have two small kids and no babysitter at the moment. So it looked like I would have to travel on my own. Luckily, my sister who lives in Dublin got on to us and offered to mind the two kids for the weekend so as to allow myself and my wife to go together. We were delighted.

Cork is about a two and half hour journey to Dublin. We left around 7 in the evening, arriving in Dublin at about 9.30. The kids slept most of the way up, but woke with excitement when we arrived in my sister’s house. After some time getting them to settle, we went to bed too. After getting very little sleep we were back on the road heading to the airport at 3.30 in the morning on our way to Milan to see my photograph on a billboard.

A little after 12 p.m, we arrived at our apartment. Our host gave us a map of Milan and my wife, who can read these things, worked out our route to where the billboard was. We would need to take the metro and change at one station and then exit at Moscova station on Corso Garibaldi in the centre of Milan. We were getting closer. The trip there took about twenty minutes and when we exited the metro station on to Corso Garibaldi we were unsure whether to take a left or right turn. Fabio, a guy I had met on Twitter had previously sent me  an image from there, so we had some idea of where to look for it, but take the wrong one and we could be traipsing this long street that runs through the centre of Milan for ages. We could not believe our luck when we turned right and within a matter of seconds we saw it. There it was. My photograph – huge on a billboard! We both looked at each other in amazement. I reached for the camera and began to click.

Corso Garibaldi, Milan

Corso Garibaldi, Milan

The billboard was located in  a little area with a newsagent’s kiosk and some benches for people to sit – and admire my photo :-).  We got down there and surveyed the area, walking all around, trying to see it from different angles. It was very cool to observe people passing by looking up at the image as it got their attention. I had in mind before coming to get a shot of myself standing in front of the billboard with my iPhone in hand showing the original image on the iPhone next to the billboard, to convey the idea of ‘from a screen of four inches to a billboard in a major world city’.

Now, like many ideas this is all very well in concept, but to convert this to reality can prove tricky. My wife is a very patient woman. For the longest time, she tried. What I wanted was to have the iPhone to the right of the billboard, showing the original image and the scale. But to get them both in focus was difficult and to avoid a glare from the iPhone was also not so easy.  One I particularly like is the one below. I think she managed a fine job in getting this one of the scene.

Milan

Milan

Nowadays, selfies are obligatory and while I may not be the biggest fan of them, I think I am entitled to get one on an occasion like this.

Me and my photo

Me and my photo

While we were there a few people stopped to take shots of the photo and normally, I would not be the most boastful of people, but I could not help myself in asking if they liked the photo and to tell them that I was the photographer. ‘No!?’ they replied. ‘Yes!’, I replied, showing them the original. One guy, Marco, even took a photo of me under the image.

After that, we set about seeing as much of Milan as we could in the short time we were there. Travelling with a photographer must be like having a dog on a long lead. You think they are next to you and then turn around and see they are miles back, perhaps not sniffing a lampost like a dog, but there they are, camera in hand trying to get that shot. How she puts up with me I do not know. I know I would not be as patient. We got to see sights, Duoma, Galleria Vitoria Emanuele, La Scala theatre, Sforsa Castle and we spent the evening in Navigli, which is a really cool area, before heading back to see the main attraction in Milan; this time to see it lit up at night.

We only realised it would be illuminated when my wife saw another ‘shot on iPhone’ photo near our apartment all lit up. With great excitement we got back to Corso Garibaldi and seeing it in the dark of night brightly lit up was something I will always remember. We found a cafe with window seats that allowed us to look out directly at the billboard. It was very cool when the waitress seeing me with three cameras set up facing the billboard asked if I liked it. She was so surprised when I told her it was mine. She called the other waiter to tell him also. I got many shots and little videos while there. This was the easily the highlight of the trip, sitting with my best friend and love of my life and sharing this magical experience.

All lit up in Milan

All lit up in Milan

The next day, we returned to say goodbye to the billboard. We continued with our tour of Milan, having a wonderful lunch by the canal in Navigli and later strolling along the banks of the canal. We arrived back in Dublin at about 11 at night. Drove to my sister’s house, collected our kids and drove home to Cork. Got snapped by a police car patrolling for speeding on the way (the wrong kind of photo), but got home safely. Milan will always have a special place in my heart.

The image being on display around the world is so cool, but the things I will remember will be the delight of family and friends in sharing this with me. There have been so many little incidents along the way of this story which I will never forget. So many examples. Here’s one. I get a comment on a blog post from Christelle who tells me she has seen the photograph on the back of a French photography magazine, Polka. I make contact with her and she offers to send me the magazine by post. I tell her I will pay for post and packaging, but she declines the offer. Fábio, one of the 77 photographers selected by Apple, sees it on a Swiss national newspaper and tells me he will send it by post to me, also free of charge.

Then there is Marta, from Colombia, who was on the lookout for my image. She sent me an email with lots of photos of my shot on a poster at a bus stop in her hometown. I had asked her to see if she could find it in Bogotá, bus she is from Medellin. In the email, she tells me that she was on a bus passing this bus stop when she saw the image. Paré!! (Stop!) she shouted at the driver! Got off and took this photo to send to me.

¡PARÉ!

¡PARÉ!

 

Please click here to see more of Marta’s work.

From Chicago, my friend Michael sent me this shot taken opposite the image in one of the main train stations in the city. I like the human element in this. Please click here to see more of Michael’s work.

Chicago

Chicago

Then there have been ones from total strangers who have been kind enough to make contact with me and send me images. This one from Sydney, taken by Norman Ma, is a particularly cool one.

Sydney

Sydney

And this one from Santiago, Chile is my favourite. Chile, for so long, has been one of my dream destinations. I would so love to visit and to get there now to see this would be a dream come true. Anyone want to send me there!? A huge thanks to Roberto for sending me this. How big is it!?

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

One other really exciting thing was to see that the world famous Saatchi Gallery posted my photograph on their Instagram page to represent Apple’s Shot on iPhone campaign. I was really pleased with this. To catch the eye of this gallery is something cool. Maybe someday it will be hanging in one of their galleries.

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

On Thursday, a newspaper article in the Irish Independent appeared with the photograph of my two ex-students sitting in front of the photo in Shibuya. They will be delighted when I send them a print copy of the newspaper, and a little surprise also when I get to see them next month.

Again, I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and support. It has made this so special.

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

 

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