Three Cities, an exhibition of new photographs by Niall O’Brien

24.04.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

The Sid Motion Gallery in London celebrates the work of Irish photographer Niall O’Brien in a new exhibition that opens this week.

O’Brien spent six months documenting the area around Silicon Valley, observing the contradictions and contrasts within the landscape and social structure.

“This was one of the most expensive places to live in the US, and it was kind of bland.” Says O’Brien. “It was full of the most cutting edge technology, yet the aesthetic had been forgotten. Cars and highways were all you could hear. There was nothing beautiful about the place – except the mountains that surrounded it, and the nature that persevered to appear in the least expected places.”

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

The photographer documented area around the seven-mile long Bascom Avenue every day, at the same time. The result is a atmospheric collection. The inequalities of wealth underscore the absurdity of the area, where these disparities exist side by side. Meanwhile the natural world offers another contrast. Niall O’Brien’s photographs ensure that perspective is given and that the hyper-intense tech world is rendered against the wider, ephemeral environment.

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

During his time in Bascom Avenue O’Brien bonded with two individuals, Blake and Dana. The exhibition portrays their daily lives, capturing their routines and rituals. The images are candid and intimate, conveying the friendship and trust between O’Brien and his subjects.

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

Together the portraits of people and the natural environment that they live vividly conjure the microcosms of this world. Don’t miss.

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

‘Three Cities’ An exhibition of new photographs by Niall O’Brien at Sid Motion Gallery in London April 26th – May 26th, 2018. 

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

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Look Back in Anger

18.07.2011 | Art , Blog | BY:

Irish photographer and filmmaker Niall O’Brien is fascinated with youths on the edge of society. His Good Rats series, the result of following a group of young South London punks across Europe, was a stand-out story from Twin‘s debut issue. Having shot for McQ and Nike, for his latest video project, Anger, he turned to the subject of youthful rage.

Twin spoke to O’Brien about the project.

Why did you chose to make a film about anger?
It was originally part of a commission that fell through. I was given an emotion and the idea of angry kids appealed to me and fascinated me. Temper tantrums are almost in everyone’s breaking point and I think it can come out easier in youth. I know I was a bit of a shit when younger. Recreating it was almost a salute to the way we once were, or still are as the case may be.

Where and when did you shoot the film?
I shot Anger a year ago. It was shot in an estate below my flat in Tower Hamlets. I’d been looking at it for over a year, so when the project came up it was a perfect location.

How does your film work fit with your photography?
I don’t know really, I try to keep the two separate and use it as an opportunity to collaborate. I’m confident in my photography and in my film there is still room for learning.

I’ve been shooting films for four years now and I’m still looking for my voice, I only found what I felt comfortable sticking with in photography about 12 years after I picked up a camera. I love it and have a great crew but I don’t want to be employed to shoot a film because of my photography. I want to be chosen because of my films. But… it all comes from the same person so it must relate somehow.

When and why did you start taking photographs?

I used to be involved with the skateboard industry in Ireland and started taking pictures of my friends. A few magazines and board companies started commissioning me and buying my photos so I decided to study it. I thought I was going to further sports photography, but I ended up doing fine art.

What draws you to documenting the adolescent sub-cultures you’ve photographed?
Reliving my youth I think. Being a kid was a very important time for me. The boy I was then and my friends needed to be documented, but I never had a camera. Some mental stuff went on as a boy, so when I met the punk kids it was the perfect opportunity to recapture it and in many ways relive it. It took me two years to feel like part of the group and when I did, I got a kick out of it. It is a rare opportunity and an almost VIP ticket into the lives of an amazing bunch of lads.

How do you build trust with your subjects?
Getting arrested to protect them helped (for Good Rats), but I think becoming one of them is important. If I approached them with questions and with a mature way I’d be told to fuck right off. It’s easy enough for me as I’m a bit of a kid at heart and don’t mind going there.

Who are your creative influences, photographically and otherwise?
I’m influenced by people who have drive and get stuff done. No matter what they do so long as they put their heart and soul into it and most of all stick to their guns. There is a risk of losing what you have by watching other people too much. Keep the blinkers on, move yourself forward and don’t worry about the other person.

What would you do if you weren’t a photographer?
I’d be a painter decorator.

niallobrien.co.uk

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Road tripping

28.03.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Last summer, Twin contributor Niall O’Brien drove 6,000 miles across the American Northwest to shoot the McQ SS/11 campaign. Along with a small team of intrepid fashion road-trippers, they beat it up the coast of California into Washington State, Montana and Idaho, stopping off whenever the mood took them to shoot the collection along the way.

“When we stopped, it was usually at rivers and small towns where we’d end up hanging out with kids and locals, drinking beers, swimming, exploring and having fun,” says Niall.

The result is a fashion travelogue that is both an ode to young Americans. Be sure to keep an eye on the McQ website over the coming days as more images from the road trip appear on their Tumblr.

m-c-q.com

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Fight club #2

26.11.2010 | Art , Blog , Culture , Fashion , Music | BY:

As promotional stunts go, Nike’s Destroy to Create campaign rules. Corralling a whole gang of contributors – many of them (like Harry Malt) from the Twin family – to be a part of a special merger of art, sport, music and mayhem marking the launch of their Destroyer jackets. Lucky for those who weren’t there to see the chaos unfold on the night, Niall O’Brien filmed the proceedings.

The ‘Destroy to Create’ artworks are currently on show at 1948, Arches 477- 478 Batemans Row, Shoreditch now.

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Twin Issue I

01.11.2009 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

Issue one of this hard back bi-annual features a poetry portfolio curated by the first female poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, Miranda July’s imaginings on a female future, and photography by Todd Selby, Boo George and Garance Doré.

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