CCLaP Photo Feature: Brendan Ó Sé

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Chicago Center for Literature and Photography Photographer Feature October 17, 2013

Brendan Ă“ SĂŠ

Location: Cork, Ireland Brendan Ă“ SĂŠ is a photographer trying to see what can be seen and how to see it.

You posted on your blog that you were interested in the question of privacy in street photography. Have you come to any conclusions about it? It is an ongoing thing; something I am aware of when I am photographing. It’s an instinctive thing, though. You can sense when it is an intrusion. I try to be discreet, to be respectful. If I am noticed, I offer to show the shot. I have not had the experience yet where someone has reacted badly to my taking their photograph on the street.

Much of your street photography features subjects in couples, pairs, relationships. Is that intentional? To be honest, it is not something I consciously look for. When I am on the street I am open to all photographic possibilities. It happens that what interests me most in these situations are the people I encounter. When photographing couples I am intrigued by distances between them; intrigued by the fact that the distances between them can be filled with love or loss.

What appeals to you about blur? Often when I ask my wife if she likes an image she comments that she expects the image to come into focus and then realizes it won’t, that it is intentionally out of focus. Blur allows us to see things differently; it can bring us into an image, a scene and then allow us to recreate it in our imaginations.

A faith-shaped hole in my consumer’s heart I live on the tip-top of a hill. To leave the house is easy. I know it is all downhill. The sun introduces itself each morning through the crack in the carelessly drawn curtains. Its warmth felt on the sheets. A lingering caress that makes it way slowly across my bed. When it slips and lands softly on the floor, I get up. My days have a rhythm; each unchanged from the one just spent. Evening has passed before I return home. A little of me eroded; a little of the day’s toil on me, encrusted. The hill before me, slowing my step. To sleep I recall days with you and before the questions become too many I am off.

What’s the story behind your bokeh head photographs? Like many things, it came from an attempt to do something else. I was trying to clone out a part of an image using the Lightroom spot removal tool and discovered it looked cool covering the people’s heads in the images. It gave an anonymity and a uniformity to them and I just took it from there. It seems the style is something people like and that is something I am proud of.