By Brendan O Se
A photographic review of 2015
2015 was a year like no other for me in terms of my photography. I cannot imagine it ever been bettered. Being part of Apple’s World Gallery and seeing an iPhone 6 photograph of mine go up on huge billboards in cities from Santiago to San Francisco to New York to London to Milan to Berlin to Dubai to Bangalore to Bangkok to Shanghai to Seoul to Tokyo to Sydney, was simply magical. Then to win four different competitions was again beyond my dreams. All in all, 2015 was truly wonderful.
Looking back at it to choose 12 images to represent this year is not an easy thing, but here goes.
January: This piece, originally shot on Nikon D7000 – the only non-iPhone in the selection, saw me continue with an ongoing series of images: The pip-pop life span of worries. It deals with anxiety and how I tend to replace one worry with another and then another and so on.
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.
May: The previous month of April was a great one. 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 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!
June: Very often it is the simplest things that can be the most beautiful. Like the sun shining on shutters.
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.
August: This one is of my little girl on her 8th birthday. Each year we have an ongoing tradition of getting the bus in town together and sit on the top deck at the front. In town, we go to Waterstone’s to buy new books and then to a cafe for some birthday treats. The photograph is of her looking out on the River Lee, taking it all in.
September: 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.
October: 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!
November: This photograph, taken just outside Porto’s iconic Majestic Cafe. I got as close as I could get without the gentleman realising to get this portrait.
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 had been battling the elements and getting out shooting. This photograph shot on December 29, 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.
Looking forward to 2016, I am excited about the images I am going to shoot and what I will learn along the way.
In 2015, I began to to give mobile photography workshops in the Glucksman Gallery in Cork and The Gallery of Photography in Dublin. The reaction from the participants has been so positive and I have really enjoyed the experience. It is great to do these workshops with the backing of such well-known and established art galleries. Having a sponsor like Olloclip – who make those incredible snap-on lens for iPhones – on board is also fabulous.
I have three workshops coming up, beginning with the Cork ones on January 30th & February 6th. The first workshop in the Gallery of Photography on February 20th has sold out. There is another workshop on April 23rd with places still available.