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Archive for the ‘Photography exhibition/talk’ Category

Madrid 5 Plus 5 Exhibition Opening Night Video

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As you may be aware, my work has recently been exhibited in Madrid as part of the 5 Plus 5 exhibition and will be coming to Birmingham here in the UK in March. It features four of my images from my ongoing projects in Ukraine.

I couldn’t make the opening night in Madrid but below is a short video.


Written by Dean O'Brien

January 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Elinor Carucci answers open questions on her work

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A while ago I was asked if I wanted to ask Elinor Carucci a question about her work.  After recently viewing the ‘Eden Peeking’ image I wanted to know if she thought that if she were a man would she be able to get away with producing such an image.  Elinor replied to this question and many others which others had put to her.

Below I have pasted into my blog the complete interview history.  Credit for this goes to Elinor Carucci and Matt Johnston.

Elinor Carucci – The Community Interview


Over the past few weeks I have been working with Elinor Carucci and her fans to create a community sourced interview. Questions came via the facebook page and the #askelinor hashtag on Twitter. The results are below, a huge thanks to Elinor and everyone that took part.

Bloggers: Feel free to have this post on your own blog – please credit Elinor Carucci and Matt Johnston

Bite 2, 2001 ©ELINOR CARUCCI 

JONATHAN WORTH – Hello Elinor, how do you teach intimacy or intimate practice in your classes?


well…it’s hard to really teach it, but i try, I try by helping the people who want to have intimacy in their work to recognize it, to translate it to images. i share my own experience and hope it will help them find their own way and what and how to photograph from theirs personal moments.

JONATHAN WORTH – How do you unpick a (your) practice that enables your subjects to surrender themselves utterly, and how do you share your advice with your students when say, their subjects aren’t people they’re already intimate with?

ELINOR CARUCCI – I feel that the bottom line here is pretty simple, either someone wants to be a part of this process or not, and you can’t force it. I had close family members who didn’t want to be photographed, and there was nothing i could do about it but respect it, it’s is not something you can change, I mean you can explain what you do and try to be as sensitive and understanding as you can, but that’s about it.  I also had to respect the different limits my loved ones have (my father is more private then my mom so you can see ‘less’ of him in my work). then within what someone is willing to give and share you can push or pull a little but it’s something that is a result of the photographer’s and the subject’s personalities and the nature of the relationship they have.

Masks, 1996 ©ELINOR CARUCCI 

ELLIE FOORD – Every time you take an image do you think of the meaning it brings to your project or is this something that develops more in selection and editing

ELINOR CARUCCI – It is as you said something that develops more in selection and editing, I try to keep the image taking very intuitive and not to ‘force’ any meaning on it, because I know that it doesn’t work for me, and i just end up with images that are obvious and forced.

EMILY MARSH – What is the proudest moment in your career?

ELINOR CARUCCI – It’s hard to answer that…small private moments and formal ones…I remember feeling proud winning the infinity ICP award when my parents come from israel to be there with me, and a few days ago my daughter looked at one of my images and said ‘mom, this is a beautiful photograph, you are a good photographer mom’…it made me so proud! then there are moments where i look at my children, and just feel grateful and proud that I manage to be a mother and do the photography I want to do, with no connection to any achievements or recognition from my field.

EMILY HICKEY-MASON – What was your inspiration for ‘Diary of a Dancer’?

ELINOR CARUCCI – My life for 15 years as a professional belly dancer…I wanted to capture the experiences and glimpses into the places and communities that I met. You can read more about it in the introduction to my book.

From ‘Diary of a Dancer’ 2005 ©ELINOR CARUCCI 

EMILY HICKEY-MASON – What advice can you give for capturing the moment?

ELINOR CARUCCI – I think the main thing is to dedicate yourself to seeing, take many pictures, edit them, understand what you want to develop about them, what are you after, look at photography, work on project, find what is the bet way for you to make your best work, it’s a very individual process and a journey to take.

LUCY SCHILLING – How do you envisage your audience viewing your work?

ELINOR CARUCCI – In many ways…some that are closer to what originally intended to put in a certain image or series and some very far,  sometimes seeing less, or more or entirely different things in it.

Emmanuelle having her hair cut, 2007 ©ELINOR CARUCCI 

MALIN LANEY – I’ve noticed that in many of your commercial portraits you photograph the person from above with them looking up at you, while in much of your more personal work the camera is at eye level with yourself/your subject(s). Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks.

ELINOR CARUCCI – I don’t think it is always the case, many times I feel that photographing from slightly above makes the person look better, sharper chin line, bigger eyes, more flattering, so I think I tend to do it for commercial work more because then there is usually bigger pressure to make the person look good.

GEORGE RIPPON – I wanted to ask you about self-portraiture.Let’s start with the idea that there is a supposed triangle relationship in every portrait, between the photographer, the subject, and the viewer; and that the photographer holds a degree of control over how the subject is presented and hence how they will be judged or thought of by the viewer. I’m interested in when that three-way relationship becomes two-way: when the photographer and the subject are the same person, and how that then affects the viewer’s judgment or opinion. When photographing yourself, you have control of the editing and therefore control of how you appear. How do you think the viewer responds to you as a subject, knowing that you are also the image creator?

ELINOR CARUCCI – I think it immediately makes the work very personal, brings even more intimacy to it, and sometimes even embarrassment, especially when viewers meet me in person. but in a way it makes the work more direct, or maybe even believable, which i think is a positive effect.

GEORGE RIPPON – I suppose we also have to think about the idea of performance. Do you ‘perform’ or behave in a certain way conscious of the photograph being made, or do you try to act naturally just like another subject?

ELINOR CARUCCI – I think I do both, some times end up performing more then other times, but I am, of course, always very aware since it’s a self-portrait…you can’t take a snapshot of yourself.

Mother puts on my lipstick, 1993 

ADELE REED – Do you ever feel scared about being so honest?

ELINOR CARUCCI – No. in a way I even feel it will protect me somehow…

ADELE REED – How often do you have that awful feeling when you’ve just seen something great and you’ve missed capturing it?

ELINOR CARUCCI – 50 times a day!

ADELE REED – From where did your love for photography originate?

ELINOR CARUCCI – I don’t know…I just fell in love once i started taking pictures. I think it is in a way similar to falling in love with a person, I can count the wonderful things about my husband, and about photography, but why I fell in love with him and not with other men, with photography and not with other areas, is in a way a mystery.

First tears over anoher man, 2002 ©ELINOR CARUCCI 

CRAIG LEAPER – Ever felt like you couldn’t document a moment? Or where do you draw the line at capturing a moment?

ELINOR CARUCCI – All the time, and most of the moments I want to photograph, I don’t, many moments I will bring the mother/wife/daughter first, or i would just wouldn’t want to pull out a camera in a certain situations being respectful or sensitive to my loved ones.

JOANNA ORNOWSKA – Do you think photographs can serve the process of forgetting by presenting only a selective history? What do you not photograph?

ELINOR CARUCCI – Yes, it does represent what we want to remember and how we want to remember…for the second pert of your question please look at the previous answer.

JOANNA ORNOWSKA – What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting your career as a photographer?

ELINOR CARUCCI – A lot…mainly that things take time, especially in the fine art world. that if one or two or 20 people don’t like my work it can still be interesting to other people, that I can be down but then up again (when you are young you think failure is the end of the world) and that success made in your own way is better then ‘absolute’ success that is simply base on objective achievements/money/shows/fame, you need to find your path, even if it makes you ‘less’ successful, it’s the kind of success you and your work need.

DEAN O BRIEN – Ref the image ‘eden peeking’. Do you think you could have produced that image and got away with it had you not been a female?

ELINOR CARUCCI – I didn’t get away with it :-) well…I did get some criticism, and I think society is even more critical to mothers, and if you are suspected in being anything other then a devoted mother by the standards of the society you live in, then you are heavily criticized, so i am not sure being a  female helped me here, even though it can be helpful at times in other situations.

JULIE LANG – (Ref to ‘Closer’) Are there any events (more worldly than personal) that you were dealing with at the same ti…me as creating these images? Thanks!

ELINOR CARUCCI – I did Closer from 1993 to 2001. in 1995 I moved to new york and shortly after that Yitshak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister was assassinated by an Israeli extremist, so in a way for me the Israel i left was never the same.

Written by Dean O'Brien

November 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm

A Story is Born: The Photo Story Seminar Host Gallery, London October 1st & 2nd 2010

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This was to be the second seminar which I had attended at the Host Gallery with the past few months.  When ‘A Story is Born’ was announced I immediately signed up.

Five guest speakers were there.  All of whom managed to inspire and educate those in attendance.  They included Neil Burgess, David Hurn, Olivia Arthur, Joakim Eskildsen and Simon Norfolk.

Whilst at Host Gallery I had the chance to admire Tim Hetherington’s latest body of work ‘Infidel’.  I had already received the book as I had pre-ordered it via Amazon a couple of months earlier.  However it was great to see the images displayed full size.

Seminars such as this are a great opportunity to network with other photographers and creative artists in the industry.  It was also a great chance to meet up with many of my cyber followers on twitter.

Written by Dean O'Brien

October 7, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Simon Roberts & The Election Project exhibition launch: Portcullis House, Westminster, London

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I have always been an admirer of the work of Simon Roberts.  One of the first photography books which I purchased was one of his called ‘Motherland’.  Simon had spent just over a year travelling through Russia in 2004.  In the book he documents a very different Russia to what we stereotypically imagine it to be.  It was a project that I could relate to having travelled to many ex-soviet countries myself.   I too am fascinated by the people who live in these places.  Under extreme hardship and corrupt governments the day to day struggle for many continues.

Obviously after purchasing this book I kept my eye on Simons next projects.  Motherland was followed by ‘We English’ and then ‘The Election Project’.  Although Simon had been commissioned to shoot the election project he also managed to open it up to a wider audience by encouraging members of the public to submit their own images taken on mobile phones or whatever they had to hand.  This gave the project a more realistic feel and obviously helped him to engage directly with the public and those involved at street level.  So whilst Simon was out on the campaign trail images were being emailed in from members of the public and uploaded onto the public gallery.

On arrival at Portcullis House security was very strict with airport style x-ray scanners and body searches.  This was due to two things.  One, the House of Parliament are an obvious target for terrorists and two, the Pope was across the road at Westminster Abbey.  One thing that was disappointing was the fact that no photography was allowed.  Although this was a bitter pill to swallow I fully understood that national security takes priority over such things.  Once inside, the exhibition was very well spaced out.  Downstairs there was a 15 metre installation which displayed all 1696 images which had been submitted by the general public.  This was also a great opportunity to see my six images which I had submitted.  Upstairs there were 25 large scale images, one for each day which simon spent on the campaign trail.  Copies of the limited edition newspaper which Simon had produced to mark the launch of the work were spaced out and freely available to those who wanted one.

I managed to catch up with Simon on the Sunday before I left to come home.  It was a great opportunity to ask about the project and what he was working on next.  I also discussed the ‘We English’ work which I saw exhibited at the Bradford Media Museum earlier in the year.  I told him that although I had seen the images in his book, I never really fully appreciated them until I saw them full size.  In the way that they  were meant to be visually appreciated.  The exhibition will be at Portcullis House until December so get yourself down as its well worth a visit.

Simon should be coming to talk at Coventry University later this year so I’m looking forward to that.

Written by Dean O'Brien

September 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Photography Exhibitions: Aspects of Edgerton and Steve McCurry’s Retrospective in Birmingham

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Earlier today I managed to visit two photography exhibitions. in Birmingham.  Lecturers at Coventry University told me that if I was interested in a photographers work then its worth going to see the real thing to fully appreciate it as it was meant to be seen.  The true feeling of an image cannot be appreciated by looking at a scaled down version in a book.  This convinced me to start going to see more ‘real’ images and stop settling for images viewed in a book or via a website.

I have been a keen follower of the work of Steve McCurry for quite a while now. His portraits have always inspired me and left me feeling true passion for his image making.  When I heard that Steve was having an exhibition at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery I knew that I had to attend. The image which I most wanted to see was ‘Afghan Girl’. Its probably the image for which Steve is most known. I had to see the eyes for myself…..Only then could I fully appreciate the power of the image.  Also on display were some fantastic images many of which can be seen in his book ‘In the Shadow of Mountains’.  Breathtaking portraits of normal every day people in war zones.

After visiting Steve McCurrys exhibition it was on to the Ikon Gallery for the ‘Aspects of Edgerton’ event.  Here, Jonathan Shaw and Trevor Appleson discussed the influence of Eadward Muybridge and Harold Edgerton’s photography on their recent work.  I am already familiar with the work of Jonathan Shaw as he is one of my lecturers at Coventry University.  His exhibition ‘Crash’ was a huge installation and was something that made me look at the presentation of my own work.  It made me realise that when I create an image I should not be tied to having it printed in A3 and then mounting it on board.  I need to consider other forms of media.  Crash was produced on a massive scale measuring three metres in height. Throughout his talk Jonathan also managed to get hold of some rare footage showing Dr.Harold Edgerton making some of his images.  This included showing how a bullet was shot through a playing card.  Edgerton explained how the sound of the bullet firing triggered the flash.  Yes indeed, it was like photography was being met with science.

Trevor Appleson showed us a slideshow of some of his recent projects.  These included the portrait projects ‘Beaches’ and ‘Uniforms’ completed in South Africa.  Trevor explained that whilst creating these images he told the subject not to smile and just try to be themselves.  This way he felt that the image would be a true representation of the person.  Trevor also showed us a ten minute clip from his forthcoming moving image work ‘A Dance of Ordinariness’.  This was inspired by Eadward Muybridge’s collotype sequences of human figures. Very original and thought provoking stuff. Moving images within the field of photography seem to be emerging more and more.

Next time you are in Birmingham visit the Ikon Gallery inside The Pallasades Shopping Centre.  They currently have on display an exhibition devoted entirely to the work of Dr.Harold Edgerton.

Photography Exhibition by Joanna Ornowska at Glass Box Gallery, Coventry

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Today I decided to visit an exhibition being held by one of the third year students at Coventry University, Joanna Ornowska.  I have always admired the work of  Joanna since I first came across it whilst doing my course.  Hard working and enthusiastic, Joanna shows real passion for photography which is visible in her images. I managed to catch up with Joanna last month whilst on a Foto8 course at Host Gallery in London and find out more about her work. It was here that she told me about her forthcoming exhibition in Coventry.

At this exhibition, Joanna has on display her images from her forthcoming book which document her overcoming an illness.  Shot very much in an Elinor Carucci style these images contain real emotion and feeling.  I also feel hints of Nan Goldin when looking at some of these as well. A very sensitive narrative lay behind this project and it will be great to see them in the book when it is finally published.

Also on display were a large selection of images which Joanna had taken of people walking in the Welsh mountains.  This was a project which Joanna had recently completed.  Beneath many of the images were a few paragraphs which the people had decided to reveal about themselves.  Many were about how the couples had met and how they live their lives.  Inspirational stuff.  It made me think about how little we know about people who simply pass us by everyday.

I have this Gallery booked myself next year along with another student.  As well as holding an exhibition, I want to use this as a platform to promote my book which should be published at the same time.  As photographers I feel that only by doing things such as this can we get ourselves the exposure that we need to the masses.

Written by Dean O'Brien

August 20, 2010 at 8:04 pm

‘From Dummy to Genius’ Foto8 Book Publishing Seminar at Host Gallery London

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Well all I can say is that I have had a full weekend. It all started on Friday when I was heading to London to attend the ‘Dummy to Genius’ seminar at Host Gallery. I was going to arrive early on Friday and try and get to the Sally Mann exhibition. However, two days earlier I contacted Chris Floyd and decided to take part in a project which he was running. Chris had decided to photograph as many people as possible who are following him on Twitter. I was already familiar with the work of Chris as he was recently featured on the news channel ‘Russia Today’ which covered his recent exhibition in Moscow. Great stuff from a proper down to earth guy.

Bizzare as it may seem, when I arrived at Chris Floyd’s studio I also managed to bump into my lecturer Jonathan Worth from Coventry University who was also in London to attend the course at Host Gallery. Wayne Ford and many others were also at Chris Floyd’s studio having their portraits taken. It was quite a surreal feeling and must have been even stranger for Chris. Many of these people were only cyber followers and now there is a voice and real face to the Twitter user id. Its a great original project and I was glad that I was given the opportunity to take part. Whilst Chris was taking the images his assistant was busy recording video footage on a Canon 5D Mark2. Yes indeed, photography is changing at a spectacular speed and I was witnessing different mediums being used to visually record the project. You can read more about Chris’s ‘Great Twitter Portrait Project’ here:

The seminar covered everything. From ideas for a book right down to publishing the finished product yourself. There was a great cross section of speakers from people such as Joachim Schmid, Andreas Koller, Gerry Badger, Chris Steele-Perkins and David Gray. The speakers all managed to give us a great insight into the world of photo books and the wealth of their knowledge. The person who really stole the show for me had to be David Gray. Book producer, publisher, photographer and graphic designer. David opted out of speaking at a recent talk in New York held by Foto8. All I can say is that they missed out. Although maybe not the most confident of speakers he managed to get through to everybody there and gave a great talk. The talk was very relaxed and humorous which I feel is whats needed at events such as this.

This was an excellent seminar organised by Foto8. Full refreshments were provided with plenty of breaks in between talks. This was a great opportunity to talk and mix with fellow publishers. Rumours are that there could be a follow up seminar around September time so I do hope that this comes to fruition. I genuinely learnt a great deal at this seminar

Overall, I came away inspired. Inspired to start a new project. Inspired to create a book. I met some great people and put faces to plenty of names. Thanks to Twitter, networking with professionals in the industry has never been so easy.