Tag Archives: iPhone Street Photography

Busan in black and white

Busan was the first place I shot on iPhone using the Provoke app. This app is great fun to shoot with. I just kept it simple. Set and forget. I chose the HPAN filter and flash and began. The shots in this post are straight out of the camera. I am just too lazy at the moment to do the editing.

Busan (shot on iPhone)

I have seen some crazy English on t-shirts in Asia. The one below is not as risque as some. In fact, it actually is quite cool.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Shooting in black and white in strong sunlight is brilliant. I love the high contrast results.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Got to love the Koreans and their take on the iconic Little Mermaid that is more commonly associated with Copenhagen.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

I wrote in my other post on Busan about heading out on the coastal walk and getting sidetracked when I came upon a group of elderly Koreans bathing in pools of water among the rocks. I sure did enjoy shooting there.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

And the sun sets in Busan.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Nest stop Kuala Lumpur.

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, iPhone, iPhone photography, photograph posts, Summer 2017, Travel Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Hong Kong

Five weeks in Asia. Five different countries. Five weeks shooting. Result: I have thousands of images to sort through. While away I was mainly shooting with the iPhone, but I also had the Fuji X100T and Nikon D7000 with me. So, my way of dealing with the images this time is a little different than before. My plan is to go back and organise the images from each location and put together blog posts on each place. This should allow me to work my way through the process of selecting (and more difficultly – deselecting) my favourite images. So, here goes.

Where better to start than Hong Kong. Oh to be a street photographer living in Hong Kong. What an exhilarating place it is. I really would love to live there and get the chance to work more of the series of images I have shot on iPhone there.

Ferry to Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

Ferry to Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

I had two short stays there in the summer. The second was extended when a typhoon hit and resulted in a long day spent in the airport. I was never so happy to leave when I did, but now I am longing to get back and hit the streets of Hong Kong again.

Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

I love the vibrancy of street life in Hong Kong. It is a noisy, colourful and fragrant place. What I like most about it is that you can find a location and work it, or if the mood takes you and you do not mind dealing with the heat and humidity you can keep on the move. Both work just as effectively. Also, in Central, the architecture is just amazing. I came across this wonderful yellow facade in Central and spent some time trying to get a shot which might match what I envisaged once I saw this yellow.

Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

I spent about 20 minutes or more trying to get the shot below. You can’t have it both ways. I love that Hong Kong is so crowded and there is a constant flow of people, but when I was trying to get this shot I was driven mad by the people walking into my frame. For me, when I am shooting I create an image of the shot I want to get in my head before I shoot. This one I had envisaged to have more of a division between the yellow wall and the passing red taxi and yellow of the bus.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

This one, which lacks the red of the taxi, worked a little better. Still, it is not perfect. Is any shot ever?

Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

Moving up the road from here I found a wonderful entrance to McDonalds – another yellow wall. Another chance to create some fun images. This time I pushed the iPhone up against the wall and hit burst mode to get these split screen reflection shots. Again, in getting this shot I was hindered by the fact that the white van opposite was parked and for the duration I was there shooting did not budge. I had hoped to add more colour to the shot but alas no. Photography is 99% frustration. 99% of the time, or even more, I do not get the shot I imagine in my head.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

That’s me in the corner standing in front of a bus stopped in traffic trying to get these layered reflection shots you get when you shoot into glass. I like the result here with the guy’s eyes framed in the way they are here.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

I just love the colours you find in Hong Kong. This intersection in Central is one of my favourite locations. The bright yellow painted markings of the crossing are so vibrant and when you throw in the colours of the traffic and the pedestrians it all adds up to great photo opportunities.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

And more yellow.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

And who can resist the cliche shots when you come to Hong Kong? You can’t pass them up really.

Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

But you can blur it up a little.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

I have been saying how shooting with the portrait mode on the iPhone has changed how I shoot on the street. In Hong Kong, I met some characters, none quite as animated or as colourful as this guy.

Hong Kong (shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Or these friendly guys.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

If you see it, it’s too late. How true this so often is on the streets. The image below appeared to me as I was walking along checking the shots I had just made. Someone using a paper clip as a cigarette holder. How cool. I had to quickly get things lined up to get the shot. Again, it could have been better – crisper, more in focus. But still I like it.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Look up, look up. Hong Kong has great architecture.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

One of the fun things I did this summer with the iPhone was to shoot with the Provoke App. I just love the black and white images it produces. Here are number of those shot in and around Central.

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

Hong Kong (Shot on iPhone)

See you next year, Hong Kong!

Next up Seoul!

 

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

iPhone street photography

I have come to love the iPhone for street photography.
Working on my presentations for upcoming talks in The Royal Photographic Society of Thailand and Jakarta, I have been looking back at my photographic journey, focussing particularly on street images.
The shot below was a difficult shot to get. Picture the scene. I was on a crowded subway train in Korea’s third city: Daegu. It was summer and it was hot and I had nowhere to sit.
The Nikon DSLR was swinging from my neck as I tried to find a secure place to stand. As I was doing this, I was struck by the calm exuding from this elderly gentleman sitting to the right of me. Instinctively, I knew I had to make the photograph.
Directly in front of me was this woman who scowled at me when I hoisted the DSLR to frame the shot. The train bobbed from side to side as I tried to compose. Each time the camera slipped from my face I could see her glaring at me. With one hand on the overhead railing and the other on the camera; one eye peering into the viewfinder and the other shut tightly, I shot off a few frames.
I got the shot, but it was challenging. Contrast this with the iPhone and it would all have been done with ease and without intrusion.
Another reason why I believe the iPhone is the best camera there is for street photography.
Daegu

Daegu

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

Sheldon Serkin

This is the first in a series of interviews I am doing with photographers whose work I admire. To kick things off I did an interview with one of my favourite photographers: Sheldon Serkin.

Chloé

Chloé

When I read the tweet and learned that Sheldon Serkin had won the 2014 Mobile Photography Awards Grand Prize, I left a loud whoop out of me. I was delighted! For a long time, I had been following Shel’s work, both on Flickr and Instagram and had become a big admirer of his wonderful, humourous, emotive and tender portraits of New Yorkers on the go. That he had won the Grand Prize with such a wonderful submission of mobile street photography was something I was thrilled about.

It seems that nowadays anyone who picks up a camera wants to be a street photographer, and why not? It is a great hobby and I am a long-time believer that through street photography we can become more compassionate to each other and to ourselves. And this is where Sheldon excels. He has this ability to discover the surreal and beautiful among the daily grind of big city life in New York City. His images, while they allow us intimate glimpses of those he photographs, are never intrusive. There is a tenderness and a truth about them.

I remember the first time I came across his work seeing an image of some guy in New York doing something on the streets, I can’t remember what exactly, but what I do recall with clarity is that when I read the title and saw that it was a person’s actual name, it caused me to look at the image again. To my amazement, I realised I was beginning to see more in the image. My imagination was sparked. It was like I had been introduced to this person and we were on a first name basis. This was Morrie, Conrad and Sabrina. Sheldon’s images bring you in to meet the characters he photographs. He does the introductions and then leaves you to get to know one another.

I think Daniel Berman, of the Mobile Photography Awards, put it well when announcing Shel as the Grand Prize Winner for 2014:

“He rips out the truth, whereever he finds it, and kicks it around for a while. Gently. His work has the gift of being both funny and sad, simple and grand, complex and straight-forward. That’s what makes his images stand out. Truth. Honesty. Empathy. His work ultimately brings us closer to who we are as people.”

I could go on and on about Sheldon, but let’s hear from the man himself.

Waterton

Waterton

Sheldon, thanks for taking the time to do this interview and to share you work here.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi Brendan, thanks so much for this opportunity to speak with you! I was born and raised in Canada and I’ve been living in New York City for about 25 years. I first arrived to attend film school, and loved it so much I’ve continued on these many years. Currently I work in the non-profit world and live in Brooklyn with my wife, Tali, and our two children.

Tell us a little about your photography journey?

I’ve been obsessed by movies and filmmaking since I was very young (an obsession sealed by “Star Wars” in 1977) so always looked to film as a means of self-expression and an outlet for creativity. As I got older, my ambitions waned, whether as a result of incoming family, disenchantment with the film industry, or my own personal brain activity. For a long period of time I didn’t pursue any type of creative work in any medium. That all changed when I got my first iPhone five years ago. Within a week of getting the 3G, I was shooting every day on the streets and in the subways of NYC. The ease and inconspicuousness of the device opened the floodgates.

How long have you been shooting street?

I’ve been shooting for five years now, every day, obsessively.

What is it about street photography that appeals to you?

I have a love/hate relationship with people. On a personal level, I do experience some anxiety interacting with other humans – acquaintances, neighbors, etc. Shooting street allows me to get to know people, empathize with them, feel what they feel and experience what they experience without any messy interactions beyond their appearance in my lens. No interaction is key, I think, because it gives me the freedom to determine who they are and what they feel and shoot accordingly. For example, I may see a man on the train who seems sad; capturing them, I, and hopefully the viewer, can project whatever story or situation onto the subject that speaks to me, even though what’s really going through the subject’s mind in that instant is, “I need to pick up milk”.

Dudley

Dudley

Is it only with an iPhone that you shoot?

Yes, only iPhone. It feels comfortable in my hand, there’s no viewfinder, I can use it as a third eye and not need to look at the frame I’m capturing.

You present the streets of New York so well, but I wonder is there anywhere else in the world you would like to shoot?

I love shooting in NYC, and have loved shooting in Canada and Israel as well. I would LOVE to shoot in India, Mexico and Japan – your photos of Tokyo sealed that deal.

Do you have any projects in the pipeline?

No specific projects, though I keep hoping one will crystallize in my head. I plan to just keep shooting daily and enjoying the results.

Tell us a little about your workflow; do you tend to post photos immediately or let them marinate? Do you use many apps?

A combination of both, really. If I go out for the sole purpose of shooting, I tend to post one photo immediately, usually the one I think is the best. However, I’ve realized that 99% of the time my first instinct is wrong, and that there are others more successful or surprising images. I’ll go back a couple of weeks later to survey what else there is and if any of it is interesting. Sometimes a memory of a shot will pop into my head, and I’ll scurry to my camera roll to revisit it.

I shoot pretty much exclusively with Hipstamatic, which is both out of habit and because I have a few lens/film combinations that I love. I use a limited number of additional apps: Filterstorm, Snapseed, Enlight and Touch Retouch are go-to apps for me. I would love to use VSCO more, but haven’t had the patience to differentiate between the filters.

Elsa

Elsa

I was really pleased to see you win the Grand Prize in the 2014 Mobile Photography Awards. What did this mean to you personally?

Honestly, it meant the world to me. It has validated this craziness that has overtaken my life and provided encouragement to keep going.

If you had the opportunity to become a professional photographer, would it fill you with dread or with excitement? How important is the aspect of fun in what you do?

Ha! Love this question. A mixture of both. Excitement that I can spend even more time shooting, dread that I now have to produce for someone other than myself, someone who’s paying for results! The aspect of fun is very important to what I do, whether it be from shooting with like-minded people to the joys of a great capture. I would fear that the pressure to produce in a professional context may rob the process this sense of fun.

Moshe

Moshe

What do you consider to be the biggest mistake you learnt from in photography?

Make sure the flash is off and the sound is muted when shooting street! Also, always be ready – a sad camera is a camera in your pocket.

Is there still a mistake you make?

Yes, I still curse myself when I shoot too soon, before the moment is ripe.

Kingpin

Kingpin

What do you feel you want or need to learn to improve in your photography?

I’m really a point-and-shoot kinda guy. I would love to get a better handle on the tech aspects of photography, so I can maybe expand a bit on the tools at my disposal. I would also love to be more aware of light when shooting – I look mainly for interesting subjects when I’m out, and am sure I miss many opportunities to make use of great light or lighting situations.

What do you look for in a scene?

What compels me to shoot is clear emotion, a distinct character or personality, and humor. Rare to get all three, but it’s happened.

How important is a human element in your photos?

Vital. Humans are what interest me. I really have no interest or demonstrated aptitude in other genres – landscape, still life, app-stacking, etc. Your question reminded me of the TV show that Woody Allen’s character writes for in Manhattan: “Human Beings, Wow!” That expresses how I feel about the human element very nicely.

Do you have boundaries in terms of the type of people or scenes that you shoot?

The only rule I have that I never follow is to not shoot people on their smartphones. There is something intrinsically aesthetically un-pleasing to me. That being said, I shoot them all the time and even post them if I like the shot.

Some people have the opinion that photographing people in public is intrusion. What’s your take on this?

It is perceived as an intrusion if the subject is aware and you are shooting without permission. I’ve noticed people shooting images that I am clearly a part of and it most certainly felt intrusive. It took all I had not to confront the shooters.

This gets to the heart of why I’m a mobile photographer – I don’t think I have either the courage or the stealth to shoot with anything but my iPhone. As long as the subject is unaware, I don’t feel it intrusive – what you don’t know can’t hurt you. It doesn’t, however, stop me from feeling creepy sometimes when shooting!

Karina

Karina

For many people, candid street photography can be hard as they fear the reaction people might have to being photographed. What has your experience of this been like?

I’ve been shooting for five years and, while I suspect many of my subjects see me shooting, I’ve only been confronted twice – once by a woman whose picture I was not taking (but was sure too after the accusation) and, more recently, by a very muscular, drunk parade-goer at the Puerto Rican parade. He accused me of shooting video, and when I explained that I was just taking photos, he backed down a bit. He still yelled insults at me, but the threats to kill me stopped. I found it odd that video was more egregious to him!

Now that I think about it, there was a third instance: the naked cowgirl in Times Square once called me an asshole.

What do you feel has helped you most to develop as a photographer?

Shooting every day, good or bad. Shooting all the time, every chance I get. The thousands of bad photos on my hard drive are a testament to any discernible development over the past five years. You can even see it in my flickr stream. I had started to delete old embarrassing photos I had uploaded but soon stopped because I realized that the stream really works as a timeline that charts my development as a photographer. I still have a long way to go, and hopefully five years from now I’ll look back at the images I post this year and cringe.

What advice would you give to an aspiring street photographer?

Have no expectations. Make sure your camera is ready to go at all times. Develop your awareness of what’s going on all around you. Stand on a street corner and see what comes to you. Walk aimlessly and see what you come across. Watch for behaviors that repeat, patterns in people’s movements. Project yourself into the immediate future, predict what comes next in the scene unfolding before you, and get ready to capture it. Have fun!

Adele

Adele

Who are the photographers you admire?

Diane Arbus, Bruce Gilden, Elliot Erwitt, Helen Leavitt, Vivian Maier, Saul Leiter, Arthur Tress. There are also many many mobile street photographers whose work I admire tremendously and seek out every day.

Where can people find your work?

I’m on Instagram, eyeem, 500px and twitterI’m also on Flickr and Tumblr:  

Is there something I have not asked that you would like me to ask you?

Yes, “Why the hell did it take so long for you to finish this interview?”

The best things in life are worth waiting for, Shel. Thanks so much for doing this interview, sharing your work and stopping me in my tracks when I look at it. 

Stanley

Stanley

 

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

Photographs

Spent three days up in Dublin last week shooting the Web Summit for Irish Tech News. You can check some of my shots from there – here, here and here. What a great event this was.  Such a pity that after 4 years that saw attendance grow from 400 people in 2011 to 42,000 in 2015 that it is now leaving Dublin. From next year and for three years it will be in Lisbon. Do hope it returns to these shores.

In a bit of a rush today, so here is a quick post. The first is a DSLR shot. I will let you imagine what is going on here for yourselves.

Web Summit 2015

Web Summit 2015

And this #shotoniPhone6 image is from Vilnius.

Vilnius

Vilnius

 

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

April 15 2015

Things on my mind today:

1. Fuzziness – after a marathon journey  26-hour home from Tokyo, I am super jet-lagged.

2. I am behind in the work I need to do.

3. I have so many images to work through and so far it looks like I will be doing a lot of deleting.

4. That is normal.

5. First impressions in photography, should not be taken too seriously .

6. To be confirmed….

Here is an iPhone photograph of my photo on a billboard in Harajuku, Tokyo. It was a beautiful experience to see my image in different locations around Tokyo. Unbelievable to actually believe I have a photograph on display in Tokyo.

Harajuku, Japan

Harajuku, Japan

I got my Fuji X100t back from the repair shop. Well, actually a new one to replace the old one. I used it a lot in Tokyo and had fun. I should update my review some time soon. This one had me in a dilemma – black and white or colour. My jet-lagged head says colour. Might change to black and white upon readjustment.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

News: I won the Mira Mobile Photography Prize. Super happy, as you can imagine. Thanks to all for the kind words and congratulations!

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

February 9 2015

Two images today from Tokyo and Berlin.

A new week…

Hearing it said

Hearing it said

Today I will be mainly hiding from myself

Today I will be mainly hiding from myself

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