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Enjoy What You Do: Brendan Ó Sé - The iPhone Photographer

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God Will Send A Sign When He Does Be Prepared Brendan O Se Copenhagen God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared // Brendan Ó Sé, Copenhagen, October 2014

On Tuesday 28th April we'll be hosting Brendan Ó Sé as he talks shooting on iPhone at the Apple store, Regent's Street. We're excited to meet the man behind the amazing Copenagen image on Apple's World Gallery, but we thought we'd catch up first and learn a little more about The iPhone Photographer.


Brendan, can you tell us briefly about yourself?

I am an English language teacher and teacher trainer here in my home town university of Cork, Ireland. I am married and have two lovely little kids, Sumi-Anna is 7 and James is just about to turn 5.

And are shooting images every day? Do you allocate specific ‘shooting’ times or collect impromptu shots as you go?

From time to time I will head out on a photo walk, but most of the images I get are spontaneous reactions to what I see around me. When I get to travel, things always step up a gear and I try to shoot as much as I possibly can.

Have you always been a keen photographer? Or was it a passion ignited by the point-and-shoot nature of the iPhone?

I have been actively involved in photography for the past 5 years or so, using a DSLR to begin with and then with the launch of the iPhone 4, I really got into iPhone photography.

Shooting with the iPhone has made me a much better photographer, simply because I always have a camera with me. This has resulted in me being more sensitive and alert to photographic opportunities. I went from occasionally purposefully taking a camera out to constantly having one. As they say, the best camera you have is the one you have with you, and the iPhone is always with me.

X & Y Berlin Brendan O Se Berlin X&Y // Brendan Ó Sé, Berlin, January 2015

Your images have very emotive titles – is there a running theme or a particular focus throughout your work?

I have a few projects I have been working on for the past few years: Today, I will be mainly hiding from myself, Blur will save the world, Committed to the future, Photographic Punctuation and Trees need to cheer the f*** up.

Giving photographs titles is a bit like what Bob Dylan said about song writing: If it rhymes, it rhymes, if it don’t, it don’t. If it comes, it comes, if it won’t, it won’t. Sometimes, I just look at the image and the title comes so easily; other times I just have to title the shot with the location it was taken in because no title comes.

Does your English teaching background influence your photographer’s vision?

This is a great question. It is not something I had particularly thought about, but I guess it has to influence me.

What pushes me on when I am photographing is the desire I have to create and to learn. When I am shooting on the street I am looking for connections. There are stories everywhere and the chance that I might be able to capture a scene or a look that tells a story is a wonderful thing.

the divide between us The divide between us will be filled with love or loss // Brendan Ó Sé, Tokyo, April 2015

Can you talk us through your personal favourite photo? What’s the story behind this shot?

One time my little girl asked me this question: “Where do yesterdays go, Daddy?”

How do you answer a question like that?

I responded: “I don’t know, lovey. Do you know where yesterdays go?”

As quick as a snap, she replied: “I do! They go into photographs.”

I thought it was a beautiful and perfect answer. When I am creating photographs I am trying to capture and document moments that exist in miliseconds and this is particularly true with my two kids. You cannot get little children to pose for a shot. You have to be ready to get that image when it appears.

One of my personal favourites is one of my son James in the art gallery at my university. My kids love this gallery and love to run around inside it. Sometimes the art can get their attention, but never for very long. In this shot, I love the way he tilts his head to the side and turns up his little foot as he takes in the images on the wall. A split second later he was off running around the gallery. The moment was gone, but luckily I had got the shot.

Another yesterday in a photograph.

Shot On iPhone 6 Tokyo Brendan O Se Shot on iPhone Billboard // Tokyo

Finally, does seeing your images on billboards encourage you to think 'bigger-picture photography'? What’s next for The iPhone Photographer?

Being part of the Apple World Gallery has been the most amazing experience. To think that my Shot on iPhone image has been on display in prime locations in cities all over the world is hard to fathom.

Seeing them for myself in Milan and Tokyo was magical. The whole experience has given me memories that will live with me for a lifetime.

Looking to the future, I intend to continue to enjoy my photography and build on the projects I have been working on. There has been quite a bit of interest in people wanting to purchase or licence my photographs, which is very positive and something I will continue to pursue. The next step is a solo exhibition in Dublin. I am also planning to put my teaching skills to work and will be offering photography workshops in Ireland and most probably in Hong Kong or Tokyo later this summer.

Great stuff! Thanks so much Brendan!

Follow Brendan's Photographic Punctuation Blog HERE

Follow Brendan on Flikr HERE

Follow Brendan on Instagram HERE

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Franco Boydell

Marketing Manager for Knomo. Full time Digital Knomad. Find me on Twitter @FrancoBoydell