Tag Archives: Apple World Gallery

2015 – Everything will happen. Believe – achieve!

On January 1, 2015, I posted this to Facebook: Everything will happen. Believe – achieve! When writing that I could never have imagined the magical experience that was about to begin for me. Looking back at 2015 through the lens of the iPhone there are so many highlights and accolades: being part of Apple’s incredible Shot on iPhone 6 global campaign, speaking at the world’s first ever mobile journalism conference – MojoCon in Dublin last March, winning many awards for my iPhone photography, being invited to London to be interviewed by the great Dan Rubin as part of Apple’s Meet the iPhone Photographer, visiting Tokyo, Porto, Amsterdam, Vilnius, Milan and London, giving iPhone photography workshops in galleries in Cork and Dublin. But throughout it all, I knew the thing that would stay with me was the experience of sharing all this with my family and my friends and also the making of new friends on the way. I realised how fortunate I am, not just in receiving these accolades and experiences, but also to see the joy it brings those who love me. Seeing the wonder in my mother’s face as she saw photos of my Shot on iPhone 6 photo on billboards around the world, hearing my little girl scream with glee when she saw me interviewed on TV, and

I like this little activity I have each year when I look back and choose my favourite 12 images I posted to Flickr throughout the year. It is an interesting document to see my photographic journey over the previous 12 months and gives me an idea of where I am heading to.

OK, I am going to be honest, looking at the iPhone shots I posted to Flickr in January, none of them stand out for me. This allows me to choose 2 from another month later in the year.

February was a sad month for me. My good friend Liam passed away. A day has not passed that he has not entered my thoughts. This photograph of the sun shining through a leafless tree is for him.



In March, everything changed. My photograph went up on huge billboards all around the world and I absolutely loved it. For about two weeks, I could not sleep. The excitement of it all was too much. I was doing newspaper and radio interviews and my stats on all social media spiked. I was lucky to be able to get to Milan with my wife to see the billboards for ourselves. This photograph tells the story of how exuberantly delighted I was to see my photo on a billboard.



April and I was in Tokyo. It rained non-stop for 3 of the 4 days I was there. Only having 4 days, I intended to make the most of it. This photograph, shot in Shibuya, was taken only a short few hours before my early morning departure flight. It would go on to win 3 competitions in 2015. You can read more about how I got this shot here.



April was a great month. I also got to go to London for Apple’s Meet the iPhone Photographer. To be honest, this was my personal highlight of the year. Everything about this experience (read my blog post about it here) was wonderful. I got up early on the morning of the event and was blessed with the fine weather. I got out early to shoot and on that morning, I got so many good shots. This one here, that I posted to Flickr in May, is one of my favourites of the year. I stood on the road as I waited for a passerby to enter my frame. The graphic shadowed patterns of Blackfriar’s Bridge were so serendipitously complemented by the black and white runners of the woman who strode past. Click!



I am attracted to light and lines. This shot, posted in June, is from a wonderful photo walk at Mojocon in Dublin in March stopped me in my tracks. I love the simplicity of it.



July was spent in Ireland. We had a family holiday in Sligo. Mullaghmore is one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches. I was walking on the sand dunes behind the beach when I saw my little girl running towards her mother and brother. I can still hear their laughter.



For August, I am cheating a little and choosing two photos. The first is one is of my little girl on her 8th birthday and the other is from the trip to London. I could not leave either of these photos out.




A U G U S T (2)

In September, I posted another of my favourite shots of the year. This is one that I ran across traffic to get to in Amsterdam. I saw this guy sitting on a bus stuck in evening traffic. He had this most intense glare. This shot is part of an ongoing series.



It seemed to start to rain in October  and has not stopped yet. I was sitting in the car waiting for my wife to get back from the supermarket when I saw this guy leave and battle to hoist his umbrella. I had to snap!



In JuneI got to travel to Porto – my prize for winning the Mira Mobile Prize. I was met by Manuela and Joao, the organisers of the competition. Their kindness and hospitality will stay with me for a long time. Porto is a wonderful city. It has it all. This photograph, posted to Flickr in November,  was taken just outside Porto’s iconic Majestic Cafe. I got as close as I could get to get this portrait of this wonderful Porto gentleman. You can read my travel article published by Ireland’s state broadcaster – RTE – here.



In December, I upgraded from my beloved iPhone 6 to the new iPhone 6s. Late to the party, but still hoping to get to dance, I have been battling the elements and getting out shooting. This photograph shot last Monday (29.12.15) was taken in a hurry. We stopped at Ladies View in Kerry to look down on the Gap of Dunloe. It was wild. Storm Frank had landed and the wind and the rain were ferocious. My friend Richard stood taking in the vista. I stopped behind, framed the shot and snapped. We spent another a minute or so there before rushing back to the car.



And that is it! Bringing to close what was the most wonderful year ever in my photographic journey. Thanks to all whose inspiration, love and kindness drives me on.

Here’s to 2016! Everything will happen. Believe – achieve!

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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.


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.


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.


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!


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?




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.


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.


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. 


James (birthday number 5)

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


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.


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.


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!



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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Shot on iPhone 6 Books

This year has been a year of surprises. Things I could never have imagined have happened. Seeing a photograph I shot with my iPhone going up on monstrous billboards around the world, winning competitions, being invited to speak at events like Mojocon and Apple’s Meet the iPhone Photographer. To say it has been a magical ride is a bit of an understatement. I have loved every minute of it.

On Friday, just after I had gotten home from work there was a ring at the door and my neighbour was standing there with a package that she had taken from the courier for me. Puzzled as to what it could be I thanked her for it and took it inside. It was heavy. I quickly opened it and was struck by the brilliant white of the box. I ripped the transparent wrapping off. Saw a pair of white gloves and got even more puzzled. Then  I saw the text: World Gallery 2015. Apple! Shot on iPhone 6! Wow! What was this? I opened it up and saw inside two beautiful, pristine white books; one for the photographs and one for the gallery of images posted around the world.


Naturally, I looked for my own photo, but seeing those of the friends I’ve made over this campaign added to the surprise and thrill of it all. I called my wife to tell her. ‘Apple have sent two books.” I said. “They’re beautiful! And there’s a pair of white gloves with them too!” “White gloves?” she said. Why?”


It really is a beautiful way to round off this wonderful experience. These books will be treasured. I have always been conscious of the fact that I would not really be able to appreciate the scale and impact of the Shot on iPhone 6 campaign until it had passed. Having these books as mementos is a perfect way to relive the experience again. Seeing the excitement of my mother leaf through the books wanting to see every page and learn about every photograph was a precious memory.  Telling her who the photographers are and how I know them reminded me of the connections I have made through the year with people like Jen and Cielo from the U.S, Satoshi from Japan, Teppo from Finland, Fabo from Singapore, Karla from the Phillipines, Flavió from Switzerland, WB Novak from Poland, Ahmed from Saudi Arabia, Freek from The Netherlands,  and Debbie from Dubai. We shared such excitement together. Who knows what more is to come.

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My little girl Sumi-Anna was very busy with school and parties on Friday that I hadn’t the time to show her the books until Saturday morning. She put on the white gloves and with great care looked through the books until she found her daddy’s photograph. “Wow!” she said. That’s your photo, Daddy. It is everywhere!” Treasured moments.

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On Friday evening, I was contacted by Cult of Mac who wanted to run a feature on the books. I gave them a short interview and a few of the images I had posted on Facebook. Very soon thousands of people had read the interview. Over the weekend, a number of publications have contacted me about publishing more of these photographs. I have suggested as part of this agreement they will make a donation to the Irish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children. A very worthy cause.

cult of mac

It really has been so special. I realise how fortunate I have been and am so very grateful to all the kind people I have met on this journey. Big thanks to all. Kiss the future…

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Janine Graf and The New Yorker Magazine

When time passes and the excitement of being part of the Apple World Gallery is over, the things that will stay with me will be the kindness of people and the genuine happiness that people shared with me in this experience.

I am in the process of trying to write about my ‘shot on iPhone 6’ experience and I know the angle I will be taking. The story of how people whom I have been friends with online and some whom I have never met went out of their way to send me photos of my image on display in different locations or went and bought a publication and mailed it to me.
This is what Janine Graf did. She saw that my image was on the back of the New Yorker and she went, bought and mailed it to me. It arrived this morning and you know it is a great honour to have my photo on the back of such a prestigious and popular magazine, but what brought the biggest smile to my face was the little card Janine had put inside. Now, I am a big fan of Janine’s creative photography and have been for quite a while. So, to get a postcard of her winning image in last year’s Mira Mobile Prize is special in the package she sent me is really special.
Sure, I have the magazine and without doubt I am proud of that, but it is the story surrounding it which I will recall with pleasure in years to come.
Janine, you are a wonderful woman. I won’t forget this kindness.

My Shot on iPhone 6 image in the New Yorker


Postcard from the great Janine Graf

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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

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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.



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.




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.



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.



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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March 12 2015

Have been so taken up with the Apple ‘shot on iPhone‘ experience that I have not posted new photographs on here for a while. Since buying the new Fuji x100t, I have been out a few times with it. I still need to get control over this camera but I am happy with some of the shots I have managed.

This first one is one I got on Cork’s Grand Parade (what a fancy name for a street – I would guess when they were giving it its title they had images finely dressed ladies and gentlemen sauntering along on sunny summer days in mind). The building the guy is standing in front of has been derelict now for a long time. I like that we cannot see this man.

This future is now. Kiss it!

This future is now. Kiss it!

The second photograph is another Fuji one and part of the ongoing series of images of reflections I am working on. This was shot into the venetian blinds of the windows of a bank opposite a church in the city centre of Cork.



And on to some iPhone images. Advertising works! Inspired by some of the landscapes shots on the Apple World Gallery I found that when I was out I was framing landscape shots and thinking could I do that? Don’t know if I want to, but I do know I like trees. And we all know what trees need to do.

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

The most recent iPhone shot is one that was lying in the archives until it popped out when I was looking through them. Not sure how I missed this one from Taipei last year. I love the colours.



I will post an update to ‘The story of my ‘shot on iphone’ photograph’ on Monday.

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The Story of my ‘Shot on iPhone’ Photograph

The past five days have probably been the most exciting days of my life. Seeing an image I created on the iPhone going on display on giant billboards in different cities all over the world has been beyond my wildest dreams.

My photo on a billboard in Hollywood, Los Angeles

My photo on a billboard in Hollywood, Los Angeles

It all started back in Copenhagen last October. I was there on a week’s visit to the University of Copenhagen as part of an exchange program from my own university. Before heading out there I had arranged with one of my friends on Flickr, Thomas Toft, to meet up for a photo walk (which in Copenhagen means a photo cycle). I had seen one of his images from Copenhagen of this  location with crazy curved white lines on the black tarmac. The way Thomas created the image with the strong contrasts of the black and white lines and with the shadow of the lone man really impacted on me. When I travel, opportunities to get out shooting are always highest on my list of priorities and if I know of a good location, it gets me excited. So you can imagine how I felt about having the chance to go shoot in this quirky place. I was so looking forward to it.

I had only ever been in contact with Thomas via Flickr email, but once we met, we hit it off immediately. We hooked up on a late autumn evening in October in the centre of Copenhagen. First, he brought me to this beautiful building that had an amazing spiral staircase and elevators without doors that never stopped – you just had to hop on and hop off – carefully. After this, we got on our bikes and joined the hundreds of other Copenhagen cyclists on the many cycle lanes that the city has, and we made our way out to the Norrebro area of Copenhagen where this park, know as Superkilen Park,  is located.

Very often when you get to see things you have only ever seen before in a photo in real life it can take a while to take them in. This was the case when we arrived. Those long, curving white lines got my eye and I found myself following their path. It really was a cool spot! After some time shooting a few frames, I got the idea of how I wanted to create an image there. The lines lead the eye on a journey and to best accentuate that would to be compose it from an incline. We headed up this little hill for this different perspective. The shot below which I took with my DSLR shows  this perspective and from where I took the iPhone shot.

King of the castle

King of the castle

Standing now in the position where the person is in the image above, I knew would allow for the kind of shot I was looking to get. We stayed up on top of this little hill for about 25 minutes, chatting and getting some images. It was a quiet evening and there were not that many people passing through. Knowing that I wanted to get the human element in the photograph, I waited. Photography can require a combination of patience and luck at times. Fortunately, for me four people entered the frame, three walking and one on a bike with the lines twisting down to meet them as they went on their way. Reviewing the image after I had taken it, I was reasonably happy. I knew I would later convert it to black and white to bring out the contrasts of the lines against the black surface. Here is the original image.



Later in the evening, I used the iPhone app Snapseed to convert to black and white and play a little with the contrast.

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

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

Now, here’s a funny thing. When I posted it to Flickr on October 31st, I gave it the title – ‘God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.’ I am not religious, but I do have a God shaped socket with no plug to fit it. I seem to recall that the image made me feel that the four characters in the frame were just going about their daily business, each unaware of the other, but that maybe some day they would need to react and they would need to be prepared. I like giving titles to my images and while it can be hard, when it does work, it adds a dimension to the photograph. Does this title match the image? I am not sure. But it sure has gotten me thinking!

The photo received a great reaction on Flickr, getting thousands of views and some great comments from my Flickr contacts. Time moved on and the image lay there in my Flickr stream like all the others. Then out of the blue in December I got a Flickr mail from a person who had zero photos asking me to contact them about a research project. I ignored it. It was spam. But when the person sent the mail again urging me to be swift in response, I replied. Details were sketchy. There might be interest in my photo, would I be interested? Ehm… OK.

Then to my amazement I saw the name Apple and I was definitely interested. They were interested in two photos, the above one and another from I had taken in Berlin. Through the jigs and reels and many emails later we arrived at the end of February and I got an email congratulating me on my image being part of the Apple World Gallery. I was thrilled! Later, I got a phone call to congratulate me and I thought I heard the woman say that as part of this my image would be on billboards and posters in 70 cities in 24 countries. She couldn’t have said that, though. No.

Monday came and the page went live on Apple. What a buzz to find my image there, and in fifth place as you scroll! It was so great to see the other images selected. One after another and I was going wow, wow, wow. They all looked amazing. Apple had done such a great job in choosing these. Really impressive.

Later that morning, I got an email with a list of cities where, I was told, my image was on billboards. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlotte, Bogota, Hamburg, Berlin, Milan, Kuala Lumpur. Ya!? Really. Could it be? So, she actually had said that. Wow! How super cool!.

But how could I get to see them? As you can imagine, I wanted so much to see them. I got on to Flickr. Checked the locations of my friends there. Were any in these cities? A few. Anton was in Berlin. Dirk was in Hamburg. Nigel in LA. I had a chance. I set about writing emails. Please, please if you are anywhere these locations can you find if my image is on a billboard there? Of course, came the reply and the next day, Anton had located my image in Alexanderplatz Train Station in Berlin. It was true! My photo was on a billboard.



It was hard to take in. I stared at the screen, eyes wide with amazement. Wow! A few short months previous I had been standing on that very platform in Berlin and now there was this huge billboard with my photo.

On my social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, things began to get a little crazy. So many messages of congratulations. Then I began to do a search on the #shotoniphone hashtag and lo and behold images of mine started to appear from New York and Boston. Then I found someone had set up a Twitter account @shotoniphone6 and that they were tweeting images of people’s shots from around the world. From that I got to meet some of the other photographers whose images were chosen. This has been a great thing also in that we can share our excitement and awe of finding our shots in the wild. Thanks to Ryan Healey for sending me this image.



On Tuesday night, I hardly slept. There were so many updates on Twitter, and then my friend in LA, Nigel sent me a shot of my image on a billboard in Hollywood. Hollywood!

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Hollywood, Los Angeles

I got this about 5 in the morning. There was no chance to get back to sleep. I was exuberant. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this. It is beyond cool. I was working early on Wednesday and I had already told my boss about it and she encouraged me to share the news in my university. She kindly wrote a little piece with the accompanying photo from Hollywood and this then appeared on my university’s social media platforms. This thing was gaining momentum.

The next day was probably the craziest. It the space of about 20 minutes, I got a request from a Danish journalist for an interview, an email from Apple’s P.R person about an interview with the Irish Independent and then this came in:

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

Now anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Flickr will know that I absolutely love Tokyo and that if I love Tokyo then Shibuya I  a d o r e!  I immediately rang my wife. ” You can’t believe it!. It’s in Shibuya! It’s in Shibuya! And to make it even more cool was the fact that Laurence had created such an amazing shot of it. I was so delighted.

Later in the day, I did the interview with the Danish journalist and Adrian from the Irish Independent. Here is the Danish piece. Still waiting to see of the Independent publish the interview.

On Twitter, more and more images began to appear of shot on iPhone ads from around the world, but no new ones of mine, unfortunately. Apple is so clever. They don’t sell products, they sell experiences. The hype surrounding their product releases is something to behold. An Apple product launch is headline news. This latest campaign of theirs has those involved in it on a treasure hunt. We do not know when the campaign will end. We don’t know exactly where our images are appearing. We have to scour the net for them. Sure, some photographers are lucky that their images are on billboards in their hometown, or they are like Austin Mann who gets to film the unfurling of his awesome ad (this is well worth watching), but I am from Cork, albeit the home of the European headquarters of Apple,  there is no promotion here. But I guess it all adds to the excitement. If anyone reading this comes across the photo, can you please send it to me?

On Thursday night, I tweeted the image Nigel had sent me of the billboard in Hollywood and it got retweeted so many times. From this, the Irish Examiner contacted me and did this piece on me. From that, numerous people got in contact to congratulate me. Then on Friday morning, I got a tweet from the Dave Fanning radio show. Now, anyone around my age would have grown up listening to Dave’s iconic radio show. This was before the Internet. Dave is Ireland’s John Peel. He gave bands their big break. U2 have a lot to thank Dave Fanning for. Anyway, back to the story. The radio station were enquiring as to whether I would be interested in talking to Dave about my experience of being part of the Apple World Gallery. Of course, I would. I spoke with one of the researchers and as I write this it is only about an hour before I go on and talk to him on his Saturday morning show. I could never have imagined all of this.

Later on Friday, a good friend of mine living in San Francisco, Jon-David messaged to say that he had found my photograph on a poster in Van Ness train station in San Francisco. I wrote back telling him to get me as many shots as he could, but to make sure he got one of himself standing next to the poster. My wife has come up with the great idea of having a wall of framed photographs of the image from around the world. It will be great to have friends of mine in the images too. Thanks JD.

Jon-David in San Francisco

Jon-David in San Francisco

As it turns out, my brother is in New York this weekend and someone has told me that the image is in Port Authority train station. I really hope he can get a photograph of it with himself beside it. That would be super cool. Even more super cool, will be next weekend when I fly out to Milan to try to find for myself one of my billboards. My wife decided this was a too-good-to-miss opportunity. So hopefully I will get a photo of myself in front of a huge billboard of my own photograph. Unfortunately, we cannot get a babysitter for the kids. I really would love if she could come with me.

And where do I go from here? I had never expected all of this. Photography is my hobby. It is what I do for fun. The iPhone puting Phun – iPhunography. Maybe I can sell Apple that slogan! Where do I go from here? Back to enjoying photography – back to having fun. And who knows where that will lead to.

One of the most lovely things about all this experience has been being able to share it with family and friends. Their reaction has made it so special. I always try to make myself realise how fortunate I am; I have an amazing, loving family, and I if my kids grow up to have just one friend like I have, I know they will be OK in life. I need more than one hand to count the great friends I have. Thanks!

Thanks to all who have sent photos, congratulations and kind words. It means so much to me. Thanks to Jen Pollack Bianco who sent me that great panoramic shot above. Thanks Jen!

You can read Part 2 of this here and Part 3 here.



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