September 1 2014

My little girl went back to school today. She is in first class now and with each year that passes (this is her third year in primary school) they seem to add kilos on to her schoolbag. Why are kids’ schoolbags so heavy? She nearly topples over when she puts it on her back.

But you are not here to read about the struggles my little girl has with her schoolbag. Are you? I don’t know. Leave me a comment below to let me know why you are here.

The two photographs I am posting to Flickr today follow on in the style of many others I have posted before. The DSLR one is a heavily processed image to reduce the character to nothing more than a bubble head (bokeh head – honestly, what should I call these) and the swell of his chest. It is a playful, fun image the result of much sliding in Lightroom. This one  did not elicit a positive response when I showed my wife last night and she usually is a good judge of these things, but I like it. Hope you do too.

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A holiday from myself

This iPhone image was taken in Dublin a few weeks back. I saw this guy, not dressed for summer, approaching. Now, I am no Bruce Gilden and the very thought of hoisting a camera and a flash to photograph someone is too confrontational for my liking. I find it easier and less intrusive to have the iPhone at chest height level and get as close as I can to the subject and then release. It allows for a more natural, candid result. I think the flash-in-face style is an intervention by the photographer; an unnecessary one. Of course, there are some excellent results achieved by those who practise this style, but for me, it is not natural. It is too manufactured and confrontational. But in saying that some of the results these guys get can be spectacular. They always make me think that a shot just after the flash and snap would be interesting, as this one would be a less non-instigated reaction.

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A man for all seasons

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8 responses to “September 1 2014

  1. He really does look like a man for all seasons. Peter O’Toolish? Like to hear how you go about things. And I am interested in the weight of your daughter’s school bag. You would think they would be lighter not heavier these days with electronic devices. Oh well perhaps some things really don’t change. I am going to study the above image (your very processed one) and see whether I agree with you or your wife. However having said that I think play should always be encouraged and nurtured. So play on, how will you ever find a new way if you don’t go off the beaten popular track. All this you know yourself. Just letting you know.

    • Hey Ilse,
      Thanks for this. You know – my wife read this and told me she liked the image after all. But now all I see is its faults ;-(
      Anyway.
      Hope you are doing well.
      Thanks for reading.

  2. Hi B! I had to stop by to read about ‘a holiday from myself.’ I was intrigued by the minimalism. I think of them as bubble heads. I’m curious as to the title. Why you like it so much and your wife didn’t. Feels more illustrative than photographic to me. I’m with you on the non-confrontational style of shooting. I much prefer the surreptitious approach! You have gotten very good at the sneaky-snooper style!!

    I’m also very interested in the weight of your daughter’s book bag. I am not a big fan of books on ipads or kindles, but for the sake of our children’s backs, textbooks on tablets start to make a lot more sense! I watched my two daughters struggle with their back packs all the way through to graduation. It never let up! Certainly made for strong girls though!!

      • Thank T. I have been asked quite a lot about them and I struggle to package them into an appropriate description. I keep creating photographs like this and I do not know what genre they fall into and what it is I am trying to show or represent. I guess that can be a good thing too. But when people want a few lines to describe it – nothing seems to fit.

        The school books! I don’t know – it is big business.

  3. I do not comment every time, but I look and read your post everyday. I really love your work, especially the bokeh head serie and your blurred silhouettes. Ever since I saw my first blurred silhouette of yours, I have been obsessed with that style of photography and working on it. I find it nearly impossible to achieve with my iPhone, and get slightly better result my my DSLR.
    I am here everyday, because I love your photographic style and find your work very inspiring. I love that your posts are very humane and not so technical all the time, I am interested in the process as much as the result. But I have to say, I do enjoy reading about your little girl, having one myself not so little anymore.
    Take care and thanks for sharing, your dedication is remarkable.

    • Josee
      You are too kind. I am still learning and having fun. I really think that the fun aspect of this hobby can be lost at times.
      It means a lot that you come and read my blog and have such kind things to say.
      I like your work a lot – and it is great to see how you see things.
      Thanks again.
      B

  4. Hello Brendan….I am new to your blog and I find myself looking forward to it daily. I enjoy reading your thoughts about how and why you approach your subjects, the processing of your photos, and of course the stories about you and your family. It is evident you are a man filled with warmth and compassion, and I like that. You are a man of great talent, but you are not a man of great arrogance as one might show to a newbie photographer like me. It also thrills me that I am communicating with you who shares my last name (though I have the anglicized version) and you are from southwest Ireland. Why is it American Irish love Ireland so much, even many generations later? Thank you for you acquaintance! By the way, how DO you pronounce our last name? Is it pronounced O’See or O’Shea? (As in the way I would pronounce our name? 🙂

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