Tag Archives: iPhone Photography Workshop Glucksman Gallery Cork

Don’t let an algorithm choose your favourite photographs

I could let an algorithm decide what my best photographs of 2019 are, but where is the fun in that? Photography should be fun, and let’s admit it – Instagram can suck the joy out of what should be a fun pursuit.

So, I say to hell with the algorithm and hello to some of my own personal favourite photographs I created over the past 12 months; all shot on iPhone.

When I look back on 2019, it was another great year for me shooting frames. Photography is about memories and this year was a cracker. My travels took me from Cork to Barcelona, Lisbon, Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, Seoul, Daegu, Busan, Hong Kong and Beijing. I like to travel. I am fortunate to be able to do so and while in these places, be it for work or pleasure, the objective is always the same: to be ready to get that photo; the one which will be better than all the ones I got before. Never happens though, but still it is such a thrill to be on the streets of big cities trying to see what can be seen and how to see it. In saying that, most of my favourite images of 2019 were shot right here in the People’s Republic of Cork.

It is hard to separate photography from cliches and in writing this I am going to throw in a few of my favourite photography cliches along the way.

Here’s the first: I remember reading a long time back that at the end of the year if you have 12 photos you are proud of that it has been a good year. Not sure if I achieve this each year, but it is something I aim.

So here goes. 1 photo for each month of the year. 


Every Saturday morning I bring my daughter to her drama class, park the car and for the hour she is in class I wander around the city centre chasing light and trying to make photographs.  In this photo here I like how the sharp-dressed guy contrasts with the dressed-for-the-cold older guy, and can you spot me in the photo?

Cork: January, 2019


And here is another photography cliche: photographs lie. Looking at this scene from Temple Bar, Dublin you would think the guy was pretty fed up and bored, but was he?

Dublin: February, 2019


The forecast was for torrential rain. Yet, this street photography workshop I had in Cork’s Glucksman Gallery in March was one of the best of the year. We hit the streets knowing we would get soaked, but also knowing that rain adds atmosphere; particularly in creating beautiful natural filters when you shoot through glass. I got some lovely shots of Cork on that photo walk; hard to choose just one favourite, but this one I like. 

Cork: March, 2019


Tokyo continues to be my favourite place to shoot in. One of the things I demonstrate (and repeat a lot throughout the day) in my photography workshops is frame, and then reframe. This shot is the result of reframing. It began with a straight-on shot of the cooks at work in the restaurant, but then I noticed the pots and pans and I worked it until I got the guy’s head as best as I could framed out by one of the pots. 

Tokyo: April, 2019


This year was all about light and shade in my photography. You can check out a whole series of these type of shots here. These shots are about framing and reframing and getting the exposure right and then shooting on burst mode and getting your subject clean in the frame. Barcelona has the most beautiful light to bathe your subjects in and so many cool backgrounds to add that little more to the image. 

Barcelona: May, 2019


Sometimes you just walk into a ready-made scene and all you have to do is snap. This is what happened on a photo walk in Dublin. This guy was taking a cigarette break and was obliging to pose for a few photos for me.

Dublin: June, 2019


This photo really could be from anywhere but it was shot late evening in a shopping mall in Beijing.  

Beijing: July, 2019


August brought me to Busan and to the beach. I met these three guys who posed for me and I cropped to fill the frame.

Busan: August, 2019


September brings me back home to Cork and back to my hometown project. Another cliche in photography is to work the scene. The previous month Cork artist, Shane O’ Driscoll, unveiled his wonderful mural on the former ESB power station in Caroline Street. I had seen a few photos of it and knew I needed to get down there and see how I could see it for myself. This one below required a little imagination to create the reflection. It is great to see Cork getting artwork like this. Hope more is to come. 

Cork: September, 2019


Here is one more image where framing and reframing came in. I was attracted to yellows at first but then noticed the lines and curves and reframed to make sure these were set up properly. Then I waited for a passerby – all the the time hoping the sun would not disappear behind a cloud.

Cork: October, 2019


Working that scene in the stairwell of the O’ Rahilly Building in UCC and this cool dude walks into my frame.

Cork: November, 2019


Into the final month of 2019 and fitting I should wrap the year up with another photo of Cork and this time with a view of the wonderful mural of Fintan Magee’s and the northside of Cork in the background.

Cork: December, 2019

So there it is. 1 photo for each month of 2019. I could have chosen 12 different photos so easily but it’s done now. 2019 has been a good year. I am excited about the upcoming projects I have for 2020 and the places my photography will bring me.

Posted in Best of year, Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, iPhone, iPhone photography, My own favourite photographs, photograph posts Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

iPhone Photography Workshop

I gave my first iPhone photography workshop on Saturday morning at the Glucksman gallery in Cork. It was a great experience being able to combine my teaching experience with my love of photography. We had a good morning getting to know each other and learning about how to put the phun into iPhone photography.

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iPhone Photography Masterclass at the Glucksman Gallery Cork

With a limited time frame, I planned the morning to give an overview of my own photographic journey, followed by a look at the iPhone camera and its potential, then a walk through my tips and tricks for getting the best out of the iPhone camera and then an introduction to my favourite app for iPhone photography: Snapseed. Then we got out and about around the beautiful surrounds that the Glucksman gallery is situated on. For me, the university campus where the gallery is has to be one of the most beautiful locations in Cork.


The Long Corridor in University College Cork (David O’ Sullivan – click through for link to david’s Twitter feed)

The gallery itself is a wonderful example of modern architecture.


Glucksman Gallery (taken by Martin Jungkunz  – click through to go to his Flickr page)

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Steps leading up to the Glucksman Gallery – Brendan Ó Sé

I have done a few photo walks now and each time I am truly amazed at the different observations people will make along a short stretch. I particularly like this one from Martin. I have been working in UCC for years and probably have walked by the library building thousands of times, but I never stopped to see it. When I saw Martin’s shot I was really impressed.


UCC Library (Martin Jungkunz – click through to see his Flickr stream)

Caroline Smyth has a fine eye for composition. This shot of bikes is very simple, but very effective and I really like the rhythm of the wheels decreasing in size.

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Caroline Smyth – click through to visit her Instagram feed.

This other image from Caroline shows her looking for reflections. Again, it is a well-composed photograph and has really beautiful light.

Glucksman Gallery

Glucksman Gallery – Caroline Smyth – click through to visit her Instagram feed.

When we got back to the gallery, within the limited time remaining, I gave some one-to-one attention to each person as they had the chance to put into practice what they had been learning about Snapseed. It was great to see the fine shots that they created and to see everyone enjoying using Snapseed as they enhanced their images. Here are some of the images from the day.

Cristian Paradiso found unusual ways to see and compose, as is evident in these images.


Nice framing from Cristian Paradiso (Click on image to link to Cristian’s Facebook page)


Another interesting composition and some very cool processing from Cristian (Click on image for link to his Facebook page)

Linda Curtin found an unusual and creative way to see and frame with this cool image taken in the gardens of the gallery.


Very creatively composed image with a human element (Linda Curtin – click on image to link to Linda’s Twitter feed)

Valérie Maout created these two interesting photographs. I love the creativity Valérie shows here.

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Valérie Maout finds photo opportunities in unusual places

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Valérie’s creative selfie

The morning passed too quickly and one of the other things that came up in feedback was that some people would have liked for more time for discussion. Coming from a language teaching background, I am very aware of creating a student-centred learning environment and realise that we really did need more time to allow for this. We had some decentralised discussions, but it was a little too rushed as we had a lot to get through in the morning. After the session, I went for some Japanese food at the nearby Miyazaki restaurant, at the end of Friar’s Street with a few of the people who came to the workshop and it was great to continue our conversations over the food.

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Chica at the wonderful Miyazaki Restaurant on Friar’s St. Cork – Brendan Ó Sé

It has been great that since Saturday many of those who came along have been in touch with me sharing their images they made on the day. One of the things, I like to provide my students with in my teaching is the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom, and in today’s world with so many ways to connect it is so easy. I am also a firm believer in collaborative learning. Everyone comes with their own techniques and we all see things differently. We can all learn from each other. I know I picked up one or two new ideas on Saturday.

It is planned to have another workshop in October and I am really looking forward to it. I learnt a lot on Saturday and with the great and constructive feedback from those who came I am sure the next one will be even better. Thanks to Tadhg and Fiona at the Glucksman gallery for all their help and support in setting up the workshop. It is much appreciated.



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