‘Brought to Light’ – Mobile Photography / Art Interview with Brendan Ó Sé from Cork, Ireland

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Our ‘Brought to Light‘ interview section explores the mobile photographers and mobile artists behind their art. Each question has been carefully crafted and is designed to allow us to get to know them a little more intimately. To view others that we have published in this series, please go here.

Today, we are featuring Brendan Ó Sé from Cork, Ireland, fresh from scooping the Photographer of the Year Award at the 10th iPhone Photography Awards and well-known for his street photography, over a relatively short period of time, Ó Sé has risen to dizzying heights.

Travelling throughout the world, Ó Sé sees the world’s streets as his stage. Viewing sometimes completely chaotic scenes on his iPhone screen, Ó Sé composes with pure clarity, seeking strong geometrical shapes, colour as well as black and white and strong shadows, reflecting the true mirror of the society he is portraying. Ó Sé’s work is very honest and creative, which could be said of the street photography genre as a whole. He finds magic within chance interactions and everyday human activity within urban areas. Ó Sé’s images represent an aura of peace in the midst of chaos, he does not photograph cliches, I would say he is a people watcher, he is interested in finding a story, perhaps a drama and I can’t help but wonder whether some of the objects within the frame, such as a car, umbrella or the like might be a metaphor of sorts. I see hope in Ó Sé’s imagery, not staged set up’s and not hard sells, Ó Sé’s work is satisfyingly complex and ambitious very much like the man behind the screen.

This body of work drew us to Brendan Ó Sé

All photos ©Brendan Ó Sé

Describe a moment that changed your life

Flying through the air in a miscalculated flying kick. Little did I know that everything would change from that moment on. Sure, I ruptured my cruciate ligament, but it put me on the path to meeting my wife.

Describe a childhood photographic/art memory

The sports images of my hurling heroes captured my imagination like nothing else. I can still see those iconic photographs in my head.

Describe a childhood photographic/art memory

It’s the iPhone. Native app to camera roll to favourites to Snapseed to Instagram, Facebook, Flickr and website.

What do you like to think about whilst you are creating images

Nothing. I zone out to zone in.

Share one photo tip

Inspect your borders – don’t let your main subject in the image suck you in so much that you don’t see the elements which subtract from that. Less is more. Learn to detract.

Who or what ignited your passion for mobile photography

Big influences on my mobile photography from the get go have been people like Sheldon Serkin, Mark T. Simmons, Ade Santora, Serap Gunay, Thomas Toft, Albion Harrison-Naish, Andy Butler, Nicki Fitzgerald, and yourself Joanne, your weekly features were always an honour.

What ignited me was the realization that I had moved from the position of constantly thinking: Oh, that would make a good photo. Pity I don’t have a camera with me; to one where I constantly had a camera with me. This resulted in my getting the shots and actively seeking and creating shots. And I have not stopped.

What is the most unusual subject you have photographed

I photographed caged monkeys in Jakarta. That was hard. They were just so sad.

What are your favourite accessories for mobile photography

Olloclip make the best lenses. I particularly like the macro ones. They really can allow you photograph things that just are not possible with the native camera.

Describe your dream Photography assignment

Being assigned to photograph something does not really appeal to me. I like to have liberty to shoot what interests me. Any form of limitations on that and my creativity suffers. That is the main reason I would never go professional. It creates dread and can suffocate what can be a joyous endeavour.

What does mobile photography/art mean to you?

It is a way to escape; to arrive; to destruct; to construct; to see; to refuse to see, to fail; to try again; to slow down; to speed up; to relieve stress; to cause stress; to delight; to frustrate; to connect, to isolate, to share, to conceal, to learn, to learn, to learn; and it is fun!

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