Developing interesting images can be a challenge for any creative, and the process through which people find perspective and inspiration is always fascinating. We asked street photographer and filmmaker Tommy O’Donoghue to tell us about his journey into photography and what motivates his work.
“A number of years back I started casually taking photographs while on holiday; people places etc etc (the usual crap). I moved to Paris briefly in early 2015 and it was here that I began to take my photography that bit more seriously.
My transition from casual to (let’s say) more committed photographer came about in a rather peculiar way. While in Paris I visited the Pere Lachaise cemetery, the weather was perfect for a graveyard shoot, loads of low lying fog, a real misty grey day and so as I strolled around shooting stills. I was awoken from this indistinct reverie by what I assumed was an air-raid warning, naturally I joked “Zee Germans are coming” and carried on with my photography.
It wasn’t until I arrived home that I was informed of the Charlie Hebdo massacre that had just taken place and so I grabbed my camera and ran to the scene. I think it was the first time I’d ever tried to capture something of that nature. When I arrived there was a sense of ambiguity and confusion in the air, which I tried to capture. Looking back now most of the photographs were of relatively poor quality but it had sparked an interest.
I sent the next few months taking as many photographs as I could, experimenting with the camera as much as possible. I’d like to think I came out with a number of decent photographs from my time in France and since then I’ve envisaged documenting as much of my travels and time as I can.
The majority of my photographs tend to encompass social issues of some sort. I try to contextualise the image by depicting something relevant (or that seems relevant to me) and creating a scene in which the image might play out. My background is actually in film so framing had always played a particularly key role when deciding to take a shot. I try to create something unique with each scene.
I love the spontaneity of Street Photography, of photographing someone unknown, the image exists there for that split second in time and then its captured… or gone, forever. The unfortunate problem pervades however that with the progression of technology (social media), and the accessibility of digital cameras, street photography is no longer about the content represented therein and the exploration of the image, but rather random images of people in the street. Decent street photography nowadays appears to be adjudicated by who has the most ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on social media rather than actual photographic know-how or talent.”
If you want to see more of Tommy’s photos or get in contact with him about his work you can visit his Facebook page right here.