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Photographs

We are making our way through the alphabet for storms this winter. F for Storm Frank has arrived and the rain and the wind is truly wild. This type of weather is so miserable, but then again with all the flooding it does make for some beautiful reflections. Out for a walk, braving the elements, with my brother yesterday we passed the flooded Lee fields and I had to stop to get a photograph of these beautiful reflections of the trees in the water. These images are straight out of the camera with only a flip applied in Snapseed.

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Trees need to cheer the fuck up

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Trees need to cheer the fuck up

This photograph was made on an autumn afternoon in Vilnius. I set out with the sole intention of creating blurred photography. The old town in Vilnius is a great location for this.

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Unpopulating

 

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Goodbye to the iPhone 6: Hello to the iPhone 6S

The Apple iPhone 6 has been such a special camera for me and until this week I was reluctant to trade up for a new iPhone 6s. But eventually I decided it was time and this week I went and bought myself a brand new camera – I mean iPhone. Well, you know what I mean.

I have shot thousands of photographs with the iPhone 6; easily my all-time favourite camera. Even if I say so myself, I believe I have got a lot of good photographs with it in the 14 months that I have had it. It has been with me every day and I have used it in Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Sligo, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vilnius, Berlin, Porto, Milan and Tokyo. How fortunate I have been to get to travel to those locations.

In writing this blog post I have looked back at the images I shot with the iPhone 6 and there are so many good memories which spring from the shots. No surprise then that the first image is my most well-known image: that Apple shot from Copenhagen taken back in October, 2014. You know the funny thing about this photograph is that it was a shot I was never happy with. In the post-processing stage, I struggled a lot with the tones in the centre of the image. Photography can be a little like home decoration – you do up one area and what does it do? It shows up how in need of redecoration another area is. In the end, I left the image as it was in my camera roll and was not even going to post it to Flickr (I never posted it to Instagram at all until it was on billboards around the world). When I did post it with a conversion to black and white, it got a great response and caught the eye of Apple’s representatives. The rest is history as they say.

God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

Berlin was next on my travels. It is a city I have been to three times; always in December. I really would love to see it summer time. When I was there I shot a lot with one of my favourite apps for iPhone photography – 1-hour photo. Using this app, you can only shoot in black and white and the novelty aspect of it is great fun. Like the old days with film, your shots are processed in an hour. The results I love. The black and white tones are really beautiful.

The shot I selected for this blog piece is one I shot on a cold night in Berlin, just off Alexandrs Platz station. Reflections are something I use a lot in my photography. I was struck by the melancholic look on this woman’s face as she waited for the bus to drive off. I stood back a little and did not focus the camera to achieve the layered effect.

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Berlin. 2014

In a recent interview I did with 121 clicks I was asked about what photographic experiences I would like to relive. I thought about it for a while; thought about the places I have been, the shots I’ve made and then I realised that the most precious times are the ones spent with family and friends. The shots of strangers mean little, but those of loved ones mean so much.

One of my all time favourite photographs is this one taken in the Glucksman Gallery in Cork of my little boy, James. I often bring the kids to this gallery and they love to run around and from time to time, the art does get their attention – but never for long. This one here shows the split second (and that is all it was) when James’ attention was taken by the photographs on the wall. The shot I got after it shows how quickly his attention moves to the next thing.

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Beautiful James

 

In March, everything changed. My fifteen minutes of fame arrived and I loved it – who wouldn’t? My photograph of that crazy park in Copenhagen went up on billboards and posters all around the world. This was simply magical. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such a thing. The excitement I experienced in getting emails and tweets from people who found my image in the wild was just wonderful and this is the thing that will stay with me long after the campaign.

I was fortunate to get to see the shot on billboards in Milan, with my wife, and in Tokyo also. It is hard to put into words the sensation of seeing a photograph I took on a small, little camera up on a huge billboard where literally thousands of people can see it. One of the most beautiful moments of the Shot on iPhone 6 experience was sitting by the window with my wife in a cafe in Milan and looking out at my photo all lit up on a big billboard. It was a surreal and wonderful sensation.

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All lit up in Milan

 

In April, two great things happened: I won my first competition – Mira Mobile Prize and I was invited to London to be interviewed by the great Dan Rubin for Apple’s Meet the iPhone Photographer in their Regent Street Apple Store. Looking back at the year I have had, there have been many accolades and prizes, but this experience was the one I enjoyed most. I was nervous on the day, but Dan made it all so easy for me. I really enjoyed the day we spent together and the hour on stage talking about my photographic journey.

When I was in London, I had the chance to get out and shoot with the iPhone and some of the images I got while there I love. This one has to be one of my all-time favourite photos. I was on Blackfriar’s bridge on a gloriously sunny spring morning. The sun cast a shadowed pattern of the bridge on to the footpath. I waited until someone passed to get a human element and I was lucky. This lady wearing black and white runners walked into my frame. Click!

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London. April 2015

Winning the Mira Mobile Prize was super special. I got the news late at night in Tokyo. It is true what they say about first times being special. Anyone who enters a competition dreams of winning it. Why else enter? When I learned I had won I cried tears of joy. The next day, Irish media picked up on the story and I made headlines news on RTE (Irish state broadcaster). It probably was a quiet news day, but still!

My prize for winning the Mira was an all-expenses trip to Porto. I travelled out there in June (read about it here) and had a wonderful 5 days there. What a great town it is. I spent my time wandering the streets shooting as I went. My favourite Shot on iPhone 6 image from there is this one of this guy sitting on the beach as the waves crashed on the rocks right in front of him. I stumbled upon this guy and was so surprised to see him there. What was he doing?

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Porto

 

In June, I also got news that this photograph (you can read more about the background to it here) won two competitions. The first was Mediteraneo Foto Festival and the second was the Florence International Photography Awards. The same image would later go on to win first place in the Stark Awards. I was particularly pleased with that one because it was not a mobile-only competition.

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Shibuya Nights

In July, we went on a family holiday to the north-west of Ireland, to Sligo. Now, Irish summers are usually disappointing. We crave sunshine but rarely get it. This summer was no different, but we did get to see some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland, and for anyone that has not seen Belbulben, you have to! It is the most impressive mountain in Ireland. You can see it here smothered in the greyest of Irish summer clouds.

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Sligo. Summer 2015

 

My memories of my childhood are happy ones. I recall walking to mass with my mother, hand in hand, and I would be incessantly talking and asking questions. My favourite question to her was: “When will it be my birthday?” Funny how we as kids love our birthdays so much and want them to come sooner and sooner and then as we get older we want them to not to come so damn fast. Each year, I have a little tradition with my two kids. We get the bus in town and sit on the top deck at the very front. Then we have some treats in a cafe and head to the bookshop to get some books. I love it and so far they do too. Not sure how long it will last for, but I do hope it will be a happy memory for them.

Here are two photos of them on their birthdays. First, my little boy, James, and myself on his fifth birthday. 

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James (birthday number 5)

And then, my little girl – Sumi-Anna – on her eight birthday looking over the River Lee in Cork.

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Sumi-Anna (Birthday number 8)

In October, I travelled to Vilnius to shoot the gig of Tomas Sinicki. What a great experience that was. I used my three cameras for it, but the one I enjoyed most was the iPhone. It was particularly good fun to see the reaction of the photo journalists when I switched from the Nikon to the iPhone to get my shots. Tomas is a class act. His mix of punk, rock and folk music really brought me back to my younger days.

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Tomas Sinicki

 

In November, I had mobile workshops in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery , Cork and in the Gallery of Photography in Dublin. What a great experience it is to be able to share my passion for photography with like-minded people. I love the photo walks we go on when we are out and about. This shot here was taken on the doorstep of the Glucksman Gallery and forms part of an ongoing series of images I have titled – Trying to see the good in people.

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Trying to see the good in people

This year had its sad moments too. In February, I lost one of my best friends, Liam, to cancer. There has not been a day pass since that I have not thought of him. The one regret I have about this year is that he was not there with me to share it. He would have loved it. I took this photograph on a morning walk. The sun hitting the tree and casting its shadow struck me. Miss you, Liam!

Liam

Liam

And on it goes…

Am excited to think about the photographs I will get with this new iPhone. Have not had much time to get out shooting with it; possibly will do so over the Christmas break. Here is a shot I got yesterday.

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Kiss the future

 

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Jamie Tanner’s winning shot at Brendan Ó Sé’s Mobile Photography Workshop

A very big congratulations to Jamie Tanner​ who won our photography competition at the Gallery of Photography​ Mobile Workshop for photographs taken on the day of the workshop. You can see his great shot here.

Dublin Alleyway (Jamie Tanner)
Big thanks to olloclip​ for sponsoring the event with great prizes, and to Andy of Mobiography​ for judging the competition. You will be able to see all these images and more from the day in the February issue of Mobiography.
Congrats to the two runners up, whose shots you can see in the comments below, Sir Cam and Jane Ryan Friel​, and to all who came on the day and made it such fun.

When the night... (Sir Cam)

When the night… (Sir Cam)

In the pink (Jane Friel)

In the pink (Jane Friel)

Really looking forward to the upcoming workshops, both in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery​, Cork and in the Gallery of Photography in Dublin.

 

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121 Clicks

I have admired 121clicks website for so long – easily one of the best websites for photography there is. And it’s always a thrill when an image of mine is selected for their top-class Flickr group, so when I was asked to do an interview for them I was particularly delighted.

You can read the interview here.
Thanks to Sid for doing the interview with me.
Hope you enjoy the interview.

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Gallery of Photography – Mobile Photography Workshop

Getting the train up to Dublin on Friday night from Cork, I was a little anxious about the Mobile Photography Workshop of the following day. Had I everything prepared; did I know my stuff; would the participants enjoy the session; and probably most importantly –  would the dreaded rain hold off for our photo walk? As it turned out, it was lashing rain on the morning of the workshop, but thankfully it cleared up in time for our photo walk, and yes, everything else went really well.

I was given quite the surprise when I woke on Saturday morning to see a notification on my Instagram feed telling me that Sir Cam – Cambridge University photo diarist – was on his way from Cambridge to Dublin for my photo workshop in The Gallery of Photography. He had got up at 3 a.m to catch the early morning flight from London to Dublin.

I really did not believe it until I saw him greet me with his great smile in the gallery just before the start of the workshop. I had met him a couple of times previously; once at MojoCon and then again in London for my Meet the iPhone Photographer interview, and on both occasions I was struck by his infectious cheerfulness and passion for photography. We did not have much time to catch up until lunch when over some lovely vegetarian food we picked up on our conversation from previous times. It is true what they say: Photographers need to spend time with other photographers. Being with someone who shares a similar passion can only be a good thing. 

And that too is what is great about the workshops. I love photography and clearly if people are going to give up their time and hard-earned cash to come to a workshop, they love it too. Being in this environment is invigorating. But, one of the first challenges is to get people comfortable and chatting. Coming from a background in education I am very much aware of the learning process and how best to facilitate it. An easy way to achieve this is with a little ice-breaker. Before the workshop, I had sent out a questionnaire to the participants to find out a little background information about them and to discover what they needed and expected from the workshop. This allowed me to design what is called a “Find someone who…” activity. What happens is the participants get to mingle to find those who correspond to the questions. It gets people up and gets people chatting and very soon people get relaxed and comfortable.

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Gallery of Photography – Mobile Photography Workshop (November 2015)

The main focus of the workshop is to cover the basics in iPhone photography – how to get the most from the native camera app, the basics in composition, light and content and then a hands-on interactive walk through on how to use Snapseed. We also look at some of the other apps out there and what they can offer, but for me Snapseed is a one-stop-shop for all your mobile photography needs. Then we break for lunch and after that we hit the streets and shoot. The Gallery of Photography is right in the middle of Temple Bar, in the heart of Dublin’s tourist centre. On a Saturday afternoon there is so much going on, so it was perfect for some street shooting.

The thing that always gets me about these photo walks is the huge variety of images people come back with. Very often we are walking in the exact same direction but we observe such differing things. That’s what makes it great. I will be sharing some of the images participants made on the day in the near future, but for now here is a composite of images from the day from Sir Cam. 

Photo courtesy of Sir Cam

 

After the photo walk, we got back to the gallery to work on the images we had shot. As we were working on our images, I circulated and gave some one-to-one attention to each person. I must say some of the photographs I saw were really top class.

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Sharing images in the post-processing session

Then we mixed the groups up a little and the participants were able to share the images they shot and discuss how they processed them. I stood back at this point and it was nice  to see the enthusiasm everyone showed for their own shots and those of the others.

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So, I am continuing on my learning experience. Each workshop this year has brought me something new and I am trying to build on each experience and work towards constructing better sessions for the participants. The feedback from those who took part has been very positive and the two galleries I am working with have been a great support, as have the sponsor – Olloclip.

Looking to 2016, there are workshops planned for both galleries. In Cork’s Glucksman Gallery, there is a workshop planned over two Saturdays – allowing participants an intervening week to get some shooting done. The dates for these are: January 30 and February 6 (10 – 1 p.m). The Dublin workshop in the Gallery of Photography will be on February 20th (11.30 to 5.30). Olloclip Lens will continue to sponsor these events and provide great prizes for the best shots created on the day. Mobiography – the world’s most prestigious online magazine for mobile photography – will judge the images and a selection of them will appear in the magazine.

Hope to see you there!

 

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Apple iPhone 6 TV Advert

My Shot on iPhone 6 story continues. This time I have a photograph of mine, which I shot in Berlin last December, in the latest Apple iPhone 6 TV Advert, which aired the U. S last night. Apple is really promoting the camera on the iPhone 6 and  it makes me excited to think how great the camera on the new iPhone will be if they are pushing this one so much. You can see my shot in the centre of the screen from the 7th to 9th second. 2 seconds!

 

This shot is one of a series I got back in Berlin last December on one of the main shopping streets. I was in Berlin for a technology in education conference and had been at it all day and the only time I could get out to shoot was in the evening. Berlin in December is cold. The sun sets early in the evening. I can still recall the biting wind. I headed out wrapped up, but without gloves, as I needed to be able to use my fingers to control the cameras. Usually, when I set out on a photo walk, the first while is frustrating. You are ready, super alert and willing with all your might for that photograph to appear. It rarely does. Patience is required.

I was about an hour out when I passed this magnificently lit up store front. I had never seen anything like. The brilliant white lines of light against the black of the building. Beautiful. I had found my location. Using the Nikon D7000 I shot some motion blur images of pedestrians and cyclists passing the store. It was OK, but not what I had imagined. It needed something else. I head off, a little despondent. About twenty metres up the road, as I was walking along, I passed this parked,highly-polished black van. A few steps passed it, I stopped and said out loud: hang on, hang on. Nodding my head in excitement, I knew I had to go back. And I was right. There on the side of the van that flanked the road were the reflections of those brilliant white lights. Yes!

Click, click. Review – meh! It needed a human element and it needed me to be careful. At times, when I am out shooting I can find myself lost in the moment, unaware of my surroundings or who is around me. Here I was standing at the side of a parked black van on a busy Berlin street at night dressed all in black. Did I want to get myself killed? No! But I did want to get that shot. I waited and using the Nikon, I shot a few frames with cyclists passing and realising I had ridden my luck, I left. Two or three minutes down the road, I stopped again. I had to go back. I had to get some shots with the iPhone. I did not want to be in a position later regretting lost opportunities. I got back to same position, hung in as close as I could to the van and again waited. In the distance, I saw this guy approaching on a bike. I readied myself and hitting burst mode as he came and passed I got the shots. I could leave.

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Berlin – Shot on iPhone 6

The iPhone does reasonably well in low-lit conditions. I am sure the new release will see great improvements in this area. Comparing it to the Nikon D7000 shot, it does stand up well.

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Berlin – Shot on Nikon D7000

 

 

Also posted in iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

June 14 2015

Time is passing so quickly and I am realizing I have not been posting to Flickr with any regularity. The days of posting two shots every day seem so far gone, but I have just been too busy lately. My plan is to get back into serious Flickring from next month. I have photographs from Milan, Amsterdam, Tokyo, London and Porto to share.

This week I will try to post more from Porto. I had a fabulous time and am almost finished my blog post about my experience there. For today, I am posting two images: One with the Fuji taken in the back alleys of Riberia. This labyrinth-like cluster of lanes and alleyways is a wonderful place to explore. Looking up you will find old ladies resting on the railings of their balconies, while below them their freshly-washed laundry dries in the sliver of sunshine that finds its ways down these narrow lanes.

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Porto: June, 2015

 

I found myself using the iPhone much more while in Porto. There is something so perfect about this camera for me. You cannot be in Porto and not notice the love of colour the locals have.

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Porto: June, 2015

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Welcome

I am really delighted to have this website up and running and to have one place to showcase my photography. I have organised images into the the various projects I have been working on over the past few years and imagine as time goes on I will add to these and also create new galleries with new photography projects. That is the exciting thing; thinking about the new photographs I will get that will fill these pages here. I have tried not to separate the photographs in terms of those I shoot with the Apple iPhone 6 and the photographs with either the Nikon D7000 or the Fuji X100T. The reason being that I do not see a difference in terms of what I want to create. The iPhone camera or the other cameras ultimately all perform the same job.

So welcome! I hope you will continue to follow and support me here on my new website. I will be doing all blog posts from here and over time will leave photographicpunctuation.com. Thanks for the support; thanks for the inspiration!

Brendan

Brendan

Brendan

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November 14 2014

I had thought I was not going to post another from this series of blur photographs from Copenhagen, but they keep drawing me back in. I cannot seem to settle on a uniform style, but perhaps they don’t need it. Some look good in colour and others need to be reduced and constrained and only black and white can do that.

In saying that, despite the way I work through images, I am coming close to producing a coherent series. One of the challenges that I encounter is that I present images consecutively from locations, but very often later I find that an image from one place can easily complement one taken in a  very distinct location. All of this is the process. I may write about the frustrations I encounter with this process, but it is how I work.

Mark T. Simmons, a friend whose work I really admire, posts sporadically on Flickr, preferring to work on a series of images before posting them. When the series is complete and you spend time looking through them you realise the craft that has gone into the creation and curation of the series. His series of images from Istanbul is coherent and there is a cohesion in style and you move from one image to the next carrying with you the emotion and impact of the previous image. I envy his patience and attention to detail. I look back at my images and my series are short – usually between 3 – 5 images and then I get restless and take things in a different direction. Recently, Mark gave me some good advice about working on and presenting a series of images and I have begun to learn from that. If you have not already seen Mark’s work, his series on Istanbul is a good place to start.

So here is today’s image. Would love to hear your reaction to it. Leave a comment below, or on Flickr.

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Overcoming nervousness

 

Writing this blog entry is a discipline I set myself. I try to do it every day, but life gets in the way. I am trying to document my photographic journey and trying to learn about myself and how and why I photograph. Very often, I write about the DSLR shot first and by the time I arrive at choosing (I rarely know what I am going to choose) an iPhone photograph I am too restless to continue writing. This is where I am today. I need to go now and choose a photo, post it to Flickr, download a lower resolution size for the blog and then write a little about the image.

Which image?

This one:

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Copenhagen Coincidences

 

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September 29 2014

Autumn is fully installed now. Mornings arrive later and night falls that bit earlier each day. It is my least favourite time of year. I feel a tightness in my chest as winter gets its grips. Darkness, so much darkness. Gloom and decaying greyness.

What is needed is early morning jazz music to soothe us slowly into the rhythm of the new week. Back to work for me today. Back to work after a long break. Always difficult to readjust. Am listening to  – Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Moanin’. And already I am feeling less – less what? Less everything.

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Slow release melancholy

To accompany this dour and dull image of a rainy Tokyo I have chosen an iPhone image of a tree in the rain. And we all know what trees should do. They should cheer the fuck up.

Have a moderately acceptable Monday. Prepare yourself for disappointment.

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Trees need to cheer the fuck up

 

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