brendanose.com

I am very pleased to present my new website. It has taken me a while to get there, but now it is live. Have a look around. Tell me what you think. And thank you for all the support and kindness you have given to me over the years.

Two photographs from Tokyo today. DSLR is rainy Tokyo – always raining there, it seems.

brendanose.com

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And the iPhone is all about rain too.

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May 24 2015

Two photos today. The first is a location in Shibuya with the most wonderful graffiti that I would have loved to have written myself. Love Tokyo! Oh ya.

I love Tokyo

I love Tokyo

The iPhone photograph is also from Tokyo – shot on a wild and wet Shibuya night. Man, does it rain a lot in Tokyo.

Things to do in Tokyo

Things to do in Tokyo

 

London

London

London

I have always liked London. I had my first experience there as a teenager living in Brixton and working in Putney. I have been back many times (read about my trip there last year) and passed through on transit to other locations and can honestly say it has always been positive. But without doubt the coolest memory I will have about London will be this moment when I  was walking down a crowded Regent’s Street on a sunny Tuesday evening last with Dan Rubin on our way to the Apple Store and arriving there and seeing a poster in the doorway with my name on it encouraging people to come to meet Brendan  Sé – the iPhone Photographer.  A really nice moment.

At the Apple Store, Regent's Street

At the Apple Store, Regent’s Street

I got to London on Monday afternoon after a short hop across the Irish sea. Cork is only a 55-minute flight to London. When travelling I try to avoid Heathrow as I never liked it as an airport, mainly because it always seemed to be under development. Thankfully, this now seems to have been completed and the new Terminal 2 that Cork flights arrive to and depart from is really impressive. I was met by a driver who brought from the airport right to the door of the hotel. It was great to to get to see parts of London I had not seen before. Most of my getting from A to B in London would have been underground so it was nice to see the city from the car as we made our way through London in rush hour on Monday evening.

South Kensington

South Kensington

The sponsors of the event – Knomo, London – were really great. The hotel – Citizen M –  they put me up in was one of the best I have stayed in. Situated in Southwark, it is only a short walk to the river and close to the Tate Modern also. What I really liked about this hotel, besides the very cool design and layout, was the great attitude of all the staff. They were always very helpful, friendly and upbeat. Nothing was too much hassle for them and more often than not, what you will return to a hotel is not for the design, comfort or location (all which this hotel has) but for the welcome and service you get. And on this count Citizen M scores highly.

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The bar in Citizen M hotel

Once I had settled into my room, I wanted to get out and hit the streets and get some photography in. I asked the guy on the front desk where would be a good place to head and he sent me in the direction of the river. Within five minutes I was in the heart of iconic London: St. Paul’s Cathedral, The River Thames, Tate Modern, The Millennium Bridge and the skyline of some of London’s most famous buildings lit up at night. Throw in all the passersby and I was in my element. I shot quite a few images with the iPhone.

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St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Millennium Bridge

After about an hour or so wandering around this area I headed back in the direction of the hotel, using the Shard building as a landmark. When I got back to the hotel, I went on a little tour of the floors and took in the very classy design of the hotel. I must have been a sight for some of the guests as I lay on my stomach getting a shot of the corridors.

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A traveller without observation is a bird without wings – Moslih Eddin Saadi

Before falling asleep I set the alarm for 7.30 and was woken by the at-first gentle sound of a ping-pong, which gradually got louder and as it did the lights in the room began to come on. A calming green light in the doorway first and then a faint orange shone through the glass walls of the bathroom.  Then the blind slowly rose to announce a sunny London morning. I wish I could wake like this every morning. It was so cool.

My plan was to get out and get among the Londoners on their way to work and to get some photography in. I wanted to see what the area was like in daylight. It was a beautiful sunny, but chilly morning. I headed towards the Millennium Bridge and joined the hundreds of others on their way to work. London is a beautiful city and when the sun shines – wow! I spent about ninety minutes out on the streets getting shots and enjoying the wonderful early morning atmosphere.

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Look!

After this, I headed back to the hotel and rested for a short while before heading back out to get in some more shooting. I was lucky with the weather. The sun was shining and I love to shoot into the sun to get the shadows and highlights that I like. I found this location and didn’t have to wait long to get passersby into the frame to get these two images. The black and white was shot with one of my favourite apps – 1-hour photo. If you have not tried this – then get yourself to the app store! It is a great little app for shooting black and white.

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South Bank

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South Bank (B+W)

One of the great things about being in big cities is that you have lots of streets and lots of people. Find yourself a good location and work that scene. Here is an example of this. I found this theatre – whose name escapes me at the moment – with this big hand and finger pointing down. Wait! The objective is to get a passerby in motion directly under that finger. I was lucky. My patience resulted in this gentleman dressed in a red coat and red runners walk past and I was ready to snap.

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HIM!

After about another ninety minutes or so, I made my way back to the hotel to meet Dan Rubin, who would be interviewing me later that evening. Dan is a famous designer and photographer and I was excited about the prospect of spending time with him, getting to know him a little better and learning from him. We had a great afternoon together getting to know each other and our conversation on photography was really engaging. Without any rush or stress, we made our way into Regent’s Street to the Apple Store and got backstage to do the final prep for the interview. I liked the way Dan operated. He is easy going and makes you feel relaxed. We had had a phone call the previous week and the structure of our talk was set out. During the afternoon, many of the things that would later come up in the interview, came up organically in our conversation and without purposely rehearsing, we had worked the talk through. This meant that by the time we took to the stage, I was relaxed and ready to enjoy this experience. Before this, we were met by Robin, the events manager at the Apple Store. He was overseeing everything and also taking some photographs of us backstage. Robin was a cool guy and I wish I had more time to chat with him. I enjoyed hearing his stories of shooting some big names who come into the Apple Store.

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Dan Rubin and myself

Then a little after seven we took to the stage. I was told the attendance was about 120 people. We sat on director’s chairs on stage and the talk went like this. To begin with, we talked about my photographic journey, and in particular the story of my Shot on iPhone image, that one that is on billboards and posters all around the world, and then moved on to talk about some of my favourite images taken with the iPhone under the categories of Street, Travel and Blur. After this, I showed some of my editing with images and the apps I use for this, and to round things off there was some time for questions and answers. The talk itself took just over an hour and it was enjoyable. Once I got over the initial little nerves, I actually really liked the experience. In fact, I made sure I did. I realised this kind of thing does not happen too often and the opportunity to talk about my photography is something to be enjoyed. It was well-received by the audience and Dan was very generous in his praise during and after the talk. I am looking forward to seeing the video podcast that Apple will release in a few weeks. Here are two images taken by a friend of mine in the audience.

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On stage

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On stage [2]

After the event, we all headed to a restaurant just off Carnaby St. A good opportunity to get to meet so many people and to see their images and hear their stories. Here is a fellow Irishman Gavin, a very interesting character who will go far in life, I am very sure. He is, as we say, a lovable chancer!

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Gavin Freeborn

I got back to the hotel some time after midnight, tired but happy. The next morning I got up early, checked out of the hotel (I was sad to leave this beautiful place) and got on a tube to meet Dan and Franco (the event’s sponsor) in Shoreditch. I had never been to Shoreditch before, but had seen a lot of great images from there, so I was excited to get the chance to shoot there. The only thing was that this morning it was lashing rain. After breakfast and saying goodbye to Dan and Franco, I intended to get in some shooting around the streets of Shoreditch, but it proved impossible as the rain was too heavy and I was not dressed for it. I took shelter in the doorway of a shop and to my surprise the shop assistants came out and invited me in to the shop; suggested I rest my bones on one of their sofas and asked me if I wanted the wifi password. How incredibly kind! Somehow, when I travel I tend to encounter the nicest of people. Once the rain let up, I got out to get some shots of Shoreditch. It is a place brimming with character and history and when I get back to London I most certainly will head back there. Here are a few of the shots I got there.

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Shoreditch

Shoreditch [2]

Shoreditch [3]

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Shoreditch [4]

 From Shoreditch, I went on a nostalgia tour to Brixton. I had not been back there in years, but really wanted to revisit where I had lived as an 18-year old boy. I had been told that it had been gentrified and become a trendy and hip place. To be honest, I did not notice that many changes. Perhaps it was the miserable weather, but it still looked a little run down and neglected. But then I just did a short tour of the market around the tube station and up to Sudbourne Road, where I had lived in the late 80s. Maybe, I did not get to see the newly-renovated and hip places. I got a nice lunch in a little cafe there and memories came flooding back to me of the sense of community there was in Brixton. I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting on the next table and we talked about football and Ireland. The lunch – lentil soup and a piri piri chicken wrap was lovely. By this time, the rain was easing and I got out and continued on my nostalgia tour. Cork people do nostalgia better than everyone.

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Sudbourne Road, Brixton (where I used to live)

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Brixton Market

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A Brixton lady

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Brixton Market [2]

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Brixton Market [3]

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Brixton!

From Brixton, it was back into the centre of London and back into sunshine. The rain had subsided and the sun was out and all was right with the world – well, at least from my perspective. I was on the streets in a big city and enjoying it to the max. I had time on my hands and I knew the type of shots I wanted to get and I knew where to get them. Here are some of those.

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Soho

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Isaac Newton

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The three of us

From the centre of London, I headed back to Southwark to collect my bag in the hotel and make my way to Heathrow. The Southwark tube station is a wonderful station, as can be seen in this image I shot of the reflections on one of the station walls.

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Leaving London (Southwark Tube Station)

And so my wonderful London adventure came to an end as I arrived in Heathrow to get the plane back home to Cork. I was leaving with such great memories and some good photos, I hoped. I would like to thank Dan, Franco and to all the kind people I met at the Apple event. You made it really special for me.

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Kiss the future…

 

 

 

 

 

April 25 2015

Two more shots from the short trip to Tokyo again today. I was there for only four days and it rained so much. The first time I had been in Tokyo it also rained a lot. Being a real Irishman, I never feel the need to get an umbrella. Umbrellas and rain gear are really just for tourists when they come to Ireland. The rain in Ireland comes mainly in showers and having to carry an umbrella around is a pain in the ass, to be honest. But in Tokyo when it rains, it seems like it never ends. Back in 2012, when I met Michael Kistler one of the first things we did together was to enter a convenience store and to my surprise Michael bought me an umbrella – a transparent one. OK, I thought. Why not?

Now when I am in Tokyo I make sure to get a transparent umbrella. Why? Because it allows me to get these beautiful shots of Tokyo through the transparent umbrella. Here is one of those I got in 2012.

This one I am posting today was shot on the Fuji X100t on an early Friday evening in Shibuya. I like the girl making eye contact on the right of the frame.

Keeping Dry in Tokyo

Keeping Dry in Tokyo

The iPhone image was shot on a Saturday morning – when it was not raining – in Ginza, which to my surprise has the main street pedestrianised at weekends. I had been in Ginza a few times, but had never really liked it that much in comparison to other Toyko districts. But being able to wander around the street unencumbered by traffic was a great experience.

I am always drawn to lines (pun intended). I found these diverging lines and I knew how I wanted to compose the image. I wanted a couple to approach and part on either side of these lines. Now, this is much easier to imagine in the inside of my head than to actually occur, what with me lingering on the line waiting to snap the approaching passersby. I had to pretend I was talking on the phone. I saw this couple approach and like so much of photography – patience met luck and as they came to the line they parted and walked on either side of the line. Click! I got the shot.

This divide between us will be filled with love or loss

This divide between us will be filled with love or loss

 

April 17 2015

A quick post today. Need to find time to document all that has happened in the past week. Am truly honoured to have won the Mira Mobile Photography prize. Click through to see details.

Posting two shots today from Tokyo. One taken in Shibuya and one in Akihabara. This one taken in Shibuya was shot through a transparent 500 yen umbrella. The four days I was in Tokyo I constant rain for three of them. It does allow for beautiful colour reflections.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

The iPhone shot comes from Akihabara – also known as Electric town as it is full of electronic shops which attract huge numbers of tourists. I saw this bus approach with a wonderful, circular window at the rear of the bus which framed this elegant lady reading a newspaper. I had to get a shot of it. I took my life into my own hands and hopped over the barrier and into the traffic. I had to get as close as possible to get a good shot. I think the poor woman was shocked to see this crazy foreigner approaching her. I got a few shots. In the end we shared a smile and a bow. The bus went on and I was stuck in between two lanes of traffic. All just to get that shot.

Tokyo

Tokyo

March 23 2015

More images shot in Milan. This first one created with the Fuji x100t (which is sick and recovering in the Fuji hospital in the UK – wishing it a speedy recovery) in a underground station in Milan. We had a marvellous time while we were there, but one of things I wish I had was more time to create photographs. The woman blurred out in the image is my good and patient wife whose holiday was punctuated with my photographing. Had she not been with me, I would stayed and worked these locations much more, but I had to work quickly here. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would not have changed anything about the two days we had in Milan. But of course, I do see photographic opportunities lost. 🙂

Punctuating Patience

Punctuating Patience

 

In Milan, I was struck by the strong characters I encountered. The men had such expressive features. This iPhone image is one of those. I saw this man in a stopped tram staring at me. As I approached with the camera, his gaze intensified.

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Milan

 

Mobile Photography Awards 2014

Hobbies are fun and is there a more fun hobby than photography? Is there a more fun form of photography than iPhoneography (iPhunography)? I don’t think so! And like all hobbies competition forms a part of it. Competition allows us to learn; allows us to set goals and work towards achieving them. Sure, we can’t all be successful and we all can’t be winners, but to paraphrase the old adage – we might not achieve our dreams, but in trying to we achieve things otherwise impossible. 

I entered the international Mobile Photography Awards (MPAs) in 2013 and was really pleased to get two Honourable Mentions (HMs). (click on here and here to see them.) I wrote:

This is a competition I really like. It is exceptionally well-organised and there is so much quality in the winning images and those which received honourable mentions. Mobile photography is innovative and has real momentum. There is a thriving mobile photography community and some extraordinary people driving it forward with passion. Daniel K. Berman, the founder of the Mobile Photography Awards, is one of these people. The MPAs, I believe are helping photographers to emerge and to gain recognition. And also, the competition is inspiring photographers to learn, to experiment, to innovate and to have fun.  You can read the full article here.

While I was initially disappointed and felt like giving it all up, I realised that it was quite an achievement to get two HMs and that I should be pleased with myself. I was, and I set about trying to improve as a photographer, trying to improve with the iPhone as a camera. I set myself a target to win a category in the 2014 MPAs. Unfortunately, I did not win a category and have to say I was (and still am) very disappointed not to have. However, I got six HMs across four different categories. This was second in number only to the winner, Shel Serkin (more about this great photographer later) who got seven HMs. I should be pleased. I am pleased, but I want to improve even more and is it shallow of me to want to gain recognition, to win something? Perhaps. Not all of us can be like Vivian Maier, however.

Reading what I wrote last year, still holds true:

And there is the thing. If you enter a competition, you want to win. You want all others to come after you. There is no other motivation. When you don’t win, you can feel despondent. You examine your work. You hold it up to that of the winners. You cast an overly-critical eye on it and wonder where the hell you are going in your photographic journey. But, this feeling passes. And it passes because the endeavour, the hobby, the passion you have for it cannot be diminished by the choices of a judge or judges. No, the passion, the desire to show what you see and to show how you see it surfaces and you get out and you shoot again. And you enjoy it. You get back to looking at others’ photos and they inspire you and the whole things kicks off again. You want to learn. You want to sharpen and sensitise that eye to see better. And you begin to dream that next time will be your time. You’ll win.

So, once again, I start off on this dream. I find that now I am more aware of what I want to see, how I want to see it and how I want to shoot and with this I am building a more coherent body of work. But I keep coming back to the same thing; the fact that I love photography. I am deadly serious about it, but it is such fun.

If you have some time, click here to review the different categories in the MPAs. There is some stellar photography there. And then take some time to review the work of the Grand Prize Winner – Shel Serkin. Shel is a street photographer based in New York. Shel’s work has always made me stop, examine and admire. He appears to connect with those he photographs, even though most are candid shots, and reveals something in them that in turn connects with ourselves. If you follow Shel’s work, you will see that he gives the characters in his images names – Wendy, Moe, Chloé, Jonah. In doing so, this, with such clever ease, sparks your imagination even more and you find yourself constructing much more than you can see in the given image. Shel is a true artist. Here is a gallery of 50 images of his I put together a few months back. Enjoy! 

 

Here are my images which received the HMs in the competition.

Faint heart never won fair lady

Faint heart never won fair lady

This was taken in Tokyo last year. You can read more about the image here. This received an Honourable Mention in the Street Photography category.

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God will send a sign. When he does, be ready.

 

This received two Honourable Mentions. One in the Street Photography category and one in Architecture category.

iPhunography

iPhunography

This, taken in Korea last year, received an Honourable Mention in the Architecture category.

With each step

With each step

This received an Honourable Mention in the People category.

In and out of consciousness

In and out of consciousness

This received an Honourable Mention in the Black and White category.

My Little Angel

My Little Angel

And there are always the disappointments – how did this not win!? 🙂

Kiss the future….