Tony Abbott


I see Australia’s Liberal party leader Tony Abbott has swept into office today in a landslide election victory . The very conservative Mr Abbott, a former boxer, Rhodes scholar and trainee priest, has promised to restore political stability, cut taxes and crack down on asylum seekers arriving by boat. He’s a bit of an action man and photographs well despite his big ears being a regular target for caricaturing and cartooning. Here’s a few pics I did of him while working for the Sydney Morning Herald a few years back.

Roll Up.Roll Up.

Here’s some portraits I did of some of the performers and crew members of Fosset’s Circus a couple of years back for an Irish Times slideshow and feature.
Some of the photos now feature in an interactive workshop and exhibition on the theme of Circus, for kids taking place at the Ark Centre Dublin. The show is called ‘Roll up RollUp’ and runs from July 4th in Temple Bar.

Dubbo Airport NSW

I came across this frame while tidying up the archives this morning. It’s a view of the runway through the glass of Dubbo Airport, in rural New South Wales, Australia as I waited to get a flight back to Sydney a few years ago.

The dog that made the front cover.

It’s always nice to get a surprise and I got a very pleasant one last weekend when the Irish Times Magazine used the above picture I took of a jack russell called Sandy on the cover. I was in Tourin House near Lismore to photograph three sisters, Andrea, Kristin and Tara Jameson. I photographed them in a number of locations inside and outside their beautiful old home on the banks of the river Blackwater. While waiting to photograph them at one stage on the main staircase of the house, one of their many dogs Sandy sat on the steps and I just got a quick frame away before he ran off.

I liked the shape of the pic and the dog’s pose so I filed it along with many other photos of the sisters and their beautiful home and gardens. Towards the end of the week I heard that the Jameson sisters were on the cover and I assumed it might be a shot I did of them walking through flowers at the front of the house, but I was delighted when I bought the paper on Saturday and saw Sandy on the cover. It’s great to see a photo that isn’t the most obvious choice being used to illustrate a story and bring the readers in. Thank you Irish Times Magazine colleagues !

Fianna Fail Ard Fheis 2013

I dropped into the Fianna Fail party’s annual Conference, it’s Ard Fheis, held at the RDS this weekend. I concentrated on the goings on away from the main stage and made this set of pics.
All photos © Bryan O’Brien 2013

Hughie O’Donoghue at IMMA.

Here’s an audio slideshow /interview I shot with the artist Hughie O’Donoghue a couple of years back as he supervised the hanging of a major exhibition of work at IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art. I love his work, the monumental scale of his canvasses and his use of colour. Shooting and recording him was a pleasure. He was wonderfully patient and forthcoming about his work as we toured the gallery spaces.

I was delighted to see in the news today that he has been elected to Aosdana, the Arts Council affiliation which honours living artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland.

Maggie at a cake sale 1988.

I photographed Margaret Thatcher a bunch of times at formal gatherings over the years but here she is at a local cake sale in Finchley sometime in 1988 where I worked for a local paper, The Post in North London at the time. I think it was a fundraiser for a fire service in the area. It was in the heart of her constituency and she was a year into her third and final term as Prime Minister. She was doing the local politician thing posing for photos and hamming it up. I like her expression and the fact that she was carrying a purse from which she took out money to buy a cake.

Grangegorman Artefacts.

This is my first effort at shooting a short video report using the Nikon D4s. I found it quite different to shooting stills, more difficult in some ways but easier in others. There was a lot of stopping and starting and I found using a tripod awkward .
In any case it was shot in the 199-year-old St Brendan’s psychiatric hospital, in Dublin’s north inner city, which is about to say goodbye to its last patient, before being redeveloped as the Dublin Institute of Technology campus. I visited the hospital with colleague Irish Times reporter Carl O’Brien and we interviewed Dick Bennett a former member of staff there who now curates the hospital’s many artefacts.

Meat plant.

Here’s some pics I took in 2001 for the Irish Times in an Irish meat processing plant. BSE or as it’s more commonly known Mad Cow Disease was a huge story in the late nineties. Experts agreed that BSE was most likely spread by cattle eating feed that contained contaminated Meat and Bone Meal (MBM). This is produced in a process called rendering, where otherwise unused animal products are taken from the carcass and are cooked for a long time.

Feeding MBM to cattle has been banned in Ireland since 1990. Due to the BSE crisis in other European countries a ban was introduced throughout the EU on feeding MBM to all farm animals in 2001.

These pictures were taken in the context of the introduction of that EU legislation. Most photos show the normal business associated with beef processing. The cow heads sprayed with blue paint in the final photo are parts of destroyed cattle which had been imported from outside the state and suspected of consuming MBM .

It wasn’t the nicest of context to photograph in, very noisy with strong smells. Couldn’t wait to get outta there. I still eat meat though.

Photos from the lavatory.

Here’s something I’ve been working at over the last year and decided to wrap it up a few days back. It’s a set of pics taken from toilets and bathrooms between January and December 2012. All the images are shot on the iPhone using the Hipstamatic photo app and all were taken when I was the only one in there so nothing weird ok. The majority of the pics are taken in Ireland, houses, bars coffee shops etc. There are a couple of pics from the hols in France, one of which is very obvious.

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