More Than Just A Snapshot: Brendan Ó Sé


Due to the nature of social networking, the single image is increasingly becoming the norm for photo websites and users’ showcases, rather than a full series of work or ‘project’.

The ability to catch a moment on your mobile phone and instantly upload to a photo-sharing site demonstrates the way mobile photography can be a very powerful tool in areas such as photojournalism. However, this ‘instantaneous’ culture can lead to the need to upload photos on a constant, and sometimes daily, basis meaning the storytelling of a narrative sequence of images is lost.

Mobiography Magazine - Tap Here For a Free 1 Month Trial

While there are many photography showcases built around a single image, this feature aims to showcase a story built around the photographer and their subject.

Brendan Ó Sé – Asia Spring 2012

Lead Image --- Tokyo and oh and oh and oh

Like most photographers, I am framing shots in my head all the time. I want to frame everything. Everything is a photographic opportunity. The locations I was in were simply amazing for street photography.

Asia is frenetic, chaotic. The momentum and surge of humanity you feel on the streets is powerful. You are swept up and swept along with it. Amidst this, I found moments of quiet; times when people, on their own, are lost in their thoughts, among the millions in big cities. I feel the images allow us to imagine the stories of those in the shots.

This was the first time for me to see the potential of the iPhone as a camera. I found myself on the streets of Hong Kong, Hanoi, Seoul, Busan, Kyoto and Tokyo overwhelmed by the photographic possibilities. I was lugging the big DSLR with me, but I found the iPhone was perfect for shooting street. It was small, it was discreet and it could get in close and capture those instants so much better than the intrusive DSLR.

That trip introduced me to mobile photography. When I came back I began to post regularly on my other Flickr account, the one I set up just for iPhone shots. I also began to become involved in Flickr groups for mobile images and I began to learn from other mobile street photographers. The iPhone is the best camera for street work. It takes great images. It gets you in close and there are some wonderful apps out there to enhance the images. In saying that, I mostly use Instagram, and from time to time, Snapseed.

Connect with Brendan Ó Sé

Flickr (iphone) | Flickr (DSLR) | Photographic Punctuation | Twitter | Instagram

  • I appreciate this very much. Big thanks to Mark and all at Mobiography!

    • Mark T Simmons

      Hi Brendan

      Glad you like it. I think they are fantastic images and very pleased to be able to show them here. Thanks for saying yes to the request.

  • I’m so grateful you featured Brendan! I’ve long followed his work on Flickr and Instagram. He is one of those photographers that I keep coming back to study his work, to marvel at the way he “sees” and frames out images. He’s one of a few iPhoneographers that when I’m out and about shooting what I think I noticed in that moment, I ask myself, “How would Brendan see this?”. I think the use of the iPhone as a camera seemed to offer him a freedom in getting in much closer to people in his street photography work than he had done before with his DSLR. He just continues to inspire me and others with his work.

    • Patsy, you are very kind and I must say that I find your work inspiring too. I appreciate our friendship a lot.

  • Fantastic Brendan!!!

  • Nice interesting street shot, it has a sort of hippy timeless feel to it. I’m a big fan of Brendan’s work and it’s nice to see him featured here and learn a little more about him.

  • Janine Graf

    Wonderful feature! You know I’m a big fan of your work, Brendan, so this was fun to read!

  • Janine you are kind. I love your work too. Thanks.

  • Tracey Renehan

    Eye catching article image and interesting article. Looking forward to checking out your stream Brendan.

    • Thanks Tracy – leave a comment on my Flickr for me so I can click through to see your account also.

  • Mate, there’s a wonderfully reflective mood to this images, so I would say you have achieved your aim with style and elan. Beautifully captured, with some real standout shots. I especially love the one of the woman in the blue coat ostensibly looking at her phone but actually looking right at you. Congrats on the feature and on the wonderful photos Brendan.

    • Albion, you are kind. I appreciate it a lot, especially as I admire your work so much. Thanks!

  • Stef lp

    Spot on true regarding mobile devices for street.
    When once we use them , it’s hard to imagine taking the big guys out on the street again.
    Yes, another fan of your work. Particularly your blur of being.

    There is an app: backspaces. Not sure if you have heard of it but it allows you to present a series of photos as opposed to the single shot.
    There is a lot of potential for this app.
    Especially for those who think in more then instaMoment as opposed to moments.

    • Hi Stef lp,
      Thanks for you kind words. Are you on Flickr? What’s your stream address?

  • Pingback: Brendan O Se: Travels with my Camera | We Are JUXT()

  • Natasha N.

    These make me want to visit Asia so much. Inspiring images.

  • Go, go, go, go!
    Asia is fantastic! You will love it.