Tag Archives: photographs and words

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Photography and mindfulness

Mindfulness.

Edinburgh: 2010 (Nikon D40)

Seems like we are missing out if we cannot tune out. We are always on.

I know my mind is a bit like a tumble dryer – always on – always spinning. Wish I could just switch it off – vacate the premises – leave no lights on. Just go!

The pip-pop life span of worries (Nikon D7000)

There is always something churning, something burning.  I do not neglect my worries. No, I tend to them carefully. One may slip off, but I can skilfully substitute. I might wake and feel all is right with the world and right with Brendan, but then I sense it. This hollow echo slowly vacuuming.  Then it returns. This slight uneasiness; a nagging knowingness that something is just not fully right.

Dublin. 2016 (Nikon D7000)

What utter nonsense it is to feel like this. I can rationalise it, intellectualise about it, but I cannot rid myself of it. I feel – on – all the time.

But do I?

Recent conversations I have had about photography with friends has gotten me thinking. First one was with Sheldon Serkin in Bangkok. He asked me what getting in the zone when shooting street meant to me. He was to give a talk the following morning about this at the 8 x 8 Street Photography Conference. About how when you are out shooting, that you get in the zone. Whatever that is. For different people it is different things.

I stopped and thought.

I think, I said, for me, it is switching off. I lose sense of my surroundings, of noises. Things become narrowed. I become super-focussed on my immediate environment, and the only distractions I have are visual ones.

Later, with more reflection, I told him – when I am out shooting and I zone out I am on an accelerated path, excited, exhilarated to be in the moment. Scenes, looks, people, flash and vanish. It is dreamlike. I am – off.

When I step out of this moment, I said, it is weird. Slowly, and then suddenly, noises, like traffic, people talking, rush in. I might find myself in the middle of the road, or down on my knees on the pavement, or pushed up against a wall and realise I need to move, to get back into the normal rhythm of things. I feel invigorated, exhilarated; alive! It is euphoric and addictive. Does it happen all the time. Hell, no! But when it does – wow!

He told me for him, when he gets in the zone,  he feels invincible, invisible. Instinct and intuition kick in and he feels on. Conversely I feel off. Freed. But I do agree with the instinct and intuition kicking in.

Delhi, 2016 (Nikon D7000)

Now, for me, I have tried mindfulness. I have laid on a bed in a dark room. Slowed my breathing, drew it into the depths of my tummy, held it there and then exhaled. Repeated and repeated. Tried this for days after days. Did I feel less stressed? Did my worries fall off my shoulders Did they fuck? I am too restless. I lie on the bed and try to free my mind; to just concentrate on my breathing. It works for a few minutes, but then slowly thoughts crowd in and I am not in the moment anymore. They tell you to embrace this, not to chase those thoughts away, that gradually a quietness will come. But I have never got beyond that, to be honest. When this happened, I just stopped.

But when I get in the zone on the streets, it is not a voluntary act or decision. Somehow I slip into this mode and all the noise just gets shut out. Nagging thoughts do not intrude. I am not even aware of this until I slip back out of the zone.

Hong Kong, 2014 (Nikon D7000)

Move on to the next conversation, one I had with my friend, Paul Moore at the excellent MojoCon conference last week. He was talking about how he likes to stay up late at night and work on his photos. He said for him it was a form of mindfulness. Now, I had never ever imagined that editing images could be a form of mindfulness. But once he said it, I banked the idea, and have returned to it over the past week or so, and I have to say he is right. Very right. It is a form of mindfulness. One that suits me. One that does bring me a calm. OK, lots of times it can be frustrating when you learn that your photo is crap. But while editing, I am immersed in the process – with each Lightroom slide, I am willing the photos to life, willing them to be right. And for those moments, I am back in zone, back out on the street and the emotion, the excitement, the connection and all-consuming immediacy of that moment is there with me again, but now it is calming, rather than exhilarating.

Berlin, 2015 (Nikon D7000)

The older I get, the more I realise how dumb I am. How unaware of it is what I do, the things that can make me happy, the things that just add to my stress.

Simple things like surrounding myself with positive people. Those who love grey skies, let the clouds hide them from my life. Be kind. Be kind to myself. From that it is much easier to be kind to others.

Can photography be a form of mindfulness? Do we make the mistake in thinking that mindfulness is only with your eyes closed, your breathing slowed and all the while crippling yourself in a lotus pose? I think I have.

Cork, 2014 (Nikon D 7000)

So often in my photography I fear I will never get another good shot. I find it hard to motivate myself and I can become so self-critical. I feel I won’t rediscover that exhilarating feeling of being in the moment; in the zone. It’s like many things in life, you cannot force it. I cannot explain how it happens, how it comes. But it does come. Not often enough though. When it does, I just seem to slip into it. Feeling the freeing rush of the noise being blocked out in my head, I am in the moment. I don’t need to be in a darkened room. I don’t need to become conscious of my breathing and battle intruding thoughts. It is an intense awareness of what is happening around me and the opportunity to capture it in frames. It is my mindfulness.

Dublin, 2014 (D7000)

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

Bangkok: The slow rhythm of patience

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

Bangkok

Bangkok was like that. An assault on the senses. The smell of petrol fumes fused with lemongrass. The neon and fresh fruit stalls. The hum of the constant traffic. The swell and sway of people always on the move. The welcoming smile and the 100-mile gaze.

Bangkok

Lady boys’ boutique – getting ready for the night ahead

At every turn there was something which got my attention; something which I had to capture in a frame.

Lady boys' boutique - getting ready for the night ahead

Lady boys’ boutique – getting ready for the night ahead

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.

Bangkok

Bangkok

Impossible to compute it all. The luxury of photography allows time to reflect.

Bangkok

Bangkok

Let the camera see.

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok

The slow rhythm of patience

Bangkok

Bangkok

 

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

Rehearsing for a date

Giving photographs titles is a bit like what Bob Dylan said about songwriting: If it rhymes, it rhymes, if it don’t, it don’t. If it comes, it comes, if it won’t, it won’t. Sometimes, I just look at the image and the title comes so easily; other times I just have to title the shot with the location it was taken in because no title comes and it is better to have none than a title that will make me cringe later on.

Today, I posted a pair of images to Flickr with the title ‘rehearsing for a date’. I have many little photographic projects on the go and this is one of them. These images show people on their own in places commonly popular for dating couples. Sometimes, titles can add to images, but very often the old adage addition is dilution is true. Hope it is not the case here.

18869225243_e0bcbc02bb_z

Rehearsing for a date (Porto)

18867371724_53386924f1_z

Rehearsing for a date (Tokyo)

 

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

January 27 2015

What they say about leaving images marinate can be true, in that images you might initially overlook seem to transform with time and you find yourself thinking how the hell did I not see this before. Conversely, an image that gets your immediate attention can also transform with time and elicit a similar ‘how the hell did I not see that’ reaction.

This is an image I had lying in iPhoto and once I clicked through it I knew I had to do a little work on it. This was taken in Tokyo last year. Late night Tokyo. Is there anywhere better in the world to shoot late at night?

Thing is here though, that I cannot decide to leave the image in colour or to leave it in black and white. What do you think? I posted the colour one on Flickr – but I do like the B+W as well.

16192087230_07eb19de65_k

This Tokyo Night

This Tokyo night

This Tokyo night

 

 

 

 

And one more in the Trees need to cheer the fuck up series.

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

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

January 24 2015

Blank pages, blank screens. Fingers perched on keyboard, ready to go, like a child waiting to jump over a skipping rope.  But nothing comes. Take the easy way out and bullet point things. Be lazy and don’t elaborate.

Things on my mind today:

I need to get out shooting. I need for the new camera to arrive and to get out. It is an excuse. I have cameras. Any one would do to get out and get new photographs. I am just lazy.

Organisation: I need (there’s that word again – need) to get things organised. I need to get things organised so I can move forward.

Fun: I need to rediscover what fun is.

Final image in the series of three from Tokyo.

Tokyo night [3]

Tokyo night [3]

When I first took up photography, I was drawn to photographing trees. Still am in a way. But, fuck! They need to cheer the fuck up!

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

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

January 22 2015

Back to Tokyo, back to Shibuya, back to lurking late at night and trying to get that shot. I took so many images that late night in Shibuya. I can think of no place in the world better for street photography than Shibuya. So many people, so much activity, so many moments. So many memories.

Here is the first in a short series of three of late night pedestrians.

Tokyo Night

Tokyo Night

And this is a late night image from Seoul. Another which did not get my attention last year, but one I really like now.

Seoul

Seoul

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

January 18 2015

Things on my mind today:

  • Things to get done.

Here is an image from a day trip to Daegu last year. It is the final one in the little series of blurred colours in the rain.

Daegu delights

Daegu delights

And here is an image from Berlin taken with the iPhone.

Confidence that each step is the step which brings me closer to you

Confidence that each step is the step which brings me closer to you

 

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

January 17 2015

Things on my mind today:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Future

Things that should be on my mind today:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Now

The future will take care of itself.

16114358299_492d437659_k

Daegu

Berlin

Berlin

Been two times to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Both times the sun shone and it was a dry day. Both times, I noticed these beads of water on the walls of the structures. From where do they come? There was no rain for days. Tears?

Peace.

 

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

January 15 2015

Have been very busy with work the past few days and don’t have a lot of time to post photographs or to write about them. But I’ve a few spare minutes at the moment so I will give a little background to the two images I am posting to Flickr today.

This iPhone image was taken in Berlin last month. Another entry in the ongoing project of images of reflections. Taking shots of people through glass in cafes, for me, is about two things: One getting some eye contact with the person in the frame, and two, to get to some distortion to add some complexity to the scene. This one has elements of both. It must be strange for people in cafes to see some gombeen arrive and point the camera at them, snap and walk off. I like those who smile. They seem to see the absolute ridiculousness of it all.

Us

Us

This blur shot is from last year in Daegu, Korea. It was lashing rain and I had to take cover in a doorway. Rather than waste time, I got a few frames of people walking with colourful umbrellas.

Slow releasing melancholy

Slow releasing melancholy

 

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