Tag Archives: Olloclip

Monogram Asia Photo Lecture Tour

It was quite the honour to be invited to South-East Asia by Monogram Asia to present at the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand and also in Jakarta, Indonesia. In between, I had the opportunity to shoot intensively with some fantastic photographers on the streets of Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta. All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten experience and one I am truly grateful for.

Presenting at the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand

Presenting at the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand

In preparing my lectures for the two events, I approached it in a chronological fashion, presenting images of mine through the years, both DSLR and iPhone, and framing them around that famous quote of Henri Cartier Bresson’s: Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”  and the widely-used: “The best camera you have is the one with you.”

And I disagreed with both!

The reason being is simple. Bresson’s quote is often used to present the idea that the more you practise the better you will become, and while it is wrong to disagree with that, it does imply a linear, incremental improvement. Coming from an education background, I believe the learning process is never as simple as this, and when looking at it through the lens of artistic creation it seems to suggest that we are incapable of creating something of artistic merit in our initial stages of expression. It brings to mind a couple of  Picasso’s quotes: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” and It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

One of my early street shots: Bangkok, 2005

One of my early street shots: Bangkok, 2005

These two quotes support my belief that very often we can instinctively create something without a technical awareness of how we achieved it. In preparing for my presentation I looked back at images I shot many years back. Seeing these now, with years’ of experience of shooting and viewing images, I realised that back then I was capable of creating photographs which, if I were to shoot today, I think I would be proud of.

It got me thinking further about his quote. 10,000 photographs. Just think about that for a moment. 10,000. Back in the days of film I had an SLR. It was rarely used. I would have shot a few rolls when on holidays and another few throughout a year. Do the math on this and you can see that in a given year, I would have shot about 8 rolls of film. That is 8 x 36, making a total of 288. Continuing with the calculations you can see to get to 10,000 probably would have taken me about 35 years. Or in reality – never.

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One of my early street shots: Hakodate, 2009

However, with digital,  things changed. There was the reduced cost and the ability to store so many images. This resulted in shooting more and more, and brings me to the next quote: The best camera you have is the one with you.”

This has to be one of the most-often used quotes about photography. I know I have I used it again and again. But it was not until I was mulling my presentation over that I realised that I did not agree with it. Why? Because it implies that we don’t always have a camera with us and if we do happen to have one – then that by default is the best camera.

Untrue!

Who doesn’t have a smartphone with them nowadays? And following that through it means we always have a camera with us. And that is the best thing – always having a camera with us. But do we realise the potential of that?

An early iPhone photograph: Cork, 2011

An early iPhone photograph: Cork, 2011

I found looking back over the years of my photography that it was from always having a camera with me, in the form of my iPhone, that led me from a situation of only having a camera in a drawer gathering dust, only taken out on special occasions, to one where I had a camera with me always. I went from a situation of perhaps (and perhaps is true here)  noticing a photo opportunity, to thinking – wow, that would make a nice photograph, to a situation where I saw these situations and I had the camera with me and I got that shot.

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From cameras in a drawer to always having a camera with me and always trying to get that shot

It allowed me to develop my eye, to begin to think and to see photographically. It allowed me to have a camera with me in situations where before I would not have brought one: work, shopping, waiting rooms, in the car, out for a run, around my house and garden, etc. And as a result, I was training my eye, becoming more sensitive to composition, becoming more creative and moving ever-more rapidly to those 10,000 first photographs.

Sure, the quote can be interpreted in different ways. I fully agree with the notion it implies of practice. Shooting with the iPhone meant I was practising more than ever before, but the change was that I was now seeing photographically and committing myself to it. Before a photographic scene may have gotten my attention, but if I had not a camera with me, it would have been allowed to escape, uncaptured. And over time this meant a sensitivity to scenes like this became less and less pronounced and opportunities to train my eye, evolve my style would have been lost. 

In looking back and selecting images to represent my early photographic style it was good to see that elements of composition, style and storytelling were strongly evident in my early shooting, and to see how these evolved over the years was interesting.

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Capturing storytelling images on the iPhone 4

The next part of my presentation was to show that there is not a separation in approach, style or quality between what I was doing in my DSLR work and my iPhone work. With the iPhone I had a camera that was perfect for street photography. It was small, discreet, fast and allowed me to get in close on the streets to capture moments and candid portraits that I probably would not have made without this camera. In turn, because of this new approach, I was becoming braver with the DSLR also and making more effort to get storytelling images on the DSLR.

Similarly, I wanted to show that the limitations of the iPhone: poor zoom, poor image stabilisation pushed me to be creative. I zoomed with my feet, and the poor image stabilization; well it led to this:

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Being creative on the iPhone

And around the same time I was creating images like this on my DSLR.

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DSLR photograph

I also spoke of the community aspect of the mobile photography movement in my presentation. I know that for me it was (and still is) the interaction with fellow photographers who were shooting and sharing on smartphones on a daily basis that really drove me on. Being part of communities like Mobiography, The App Whisperer and iPhoneographyCentral was hugely influential in my development as a photographer. Making the showcases on these sites was a really big thrill for me in the early days and I am so grateful to Andy, Joanne, Bob and Nicky for all they have done and continue to do for mobile photography.

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The wonderful community for mobile photography: Mobiography, The App Whisperer, iPhoneographyCentral

Throughout the lecture, I presented images to showcase my photographic style and to demonstrate the qualities and advantages of the iPhone. As well as showing images from through the years, I also I selected some of my more well-known images.

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London, 2015

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Tokyo, 2015

 

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Tokyo, 2015

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

Copenhagen, 2014

I rounded the presentation off with a demonstration of my favourite app for editing: Snapseed and showing the range of Olloclip lenses available for the iPhone that bring your shooting experience to another level.

There followed a questions and answers session and after the presentations in both Bangkok and Jakarta I was very pleased with the people who took the time to come up to thank me, to hear their stories, tell me they found the talks inspiring and motivating for them to experiment and shoot more with their smartphones. I really enjoyed the opportunity to get some wefies (a new word for me – more than one person is not a selfie no it is a we-fie – wefie) and to take pictures of us together.

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Royal Photographic Society of Thailand Lecture

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Jakarta Lecture

For me, the takeaway points from my lecture were having a smartphone camera with you allows you think and see photographically, heightening your ability to look for and create photographic opportunities; it encourages creativity and allows you to develop your own personal style. With the community of mobile photographers you have the opportunity to share and learn with fellow photographers who share your passion and with the many apps and accessories available you can take your photography to another level. But the main thing: The main thing is that it is PHUN – iPHUNography!

Overall, the opportunity to present my photography in the prestigious Royal Photographic Society of Thailand and in Veteran’s Cafe in Jakarta was a true honour and one I am humbled and grateful for.

Will be doing a few blog posts on shooting in the various locations on the blog in the coming weeks. I shot over 5k photographs on the iPhone, Nikon D7000 and the Fuji x100T. I had the most amazing experiences shooting with a great team of photographers. Stay tuned!

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More to come…

 

 

 

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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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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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