We recently invited Darren O'Brien to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he travels to Singapore and Vietnam as part of his MA Photography course at Falmouth University.
We're looking forward to finding out more about Darren and his travel experiences.
Hi, my name is Darren. I am a Documentary Photographer and photojournalist based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Between the 25th of March and the 8th of April I will be travelling to Singapore and Vietnam and I have been invited by Photograd to keep a travel diary of my experiences to share on the blog, along with images from the trip. I hope to do this as I travel, WiFi access permitting. Before I leave I want to introduce myself and give a little bit of background to my work.
I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Brighton before commencing on my career as a photographer. After experimenting with various photographic disciplines, I settled into my current career as a photojournalist. Over the past few years I have had work published in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times and The Times. In 2013 my project Anywhere But Home was published as a book by Brown Owl Press. This project explored the idea of home whilst travelling in a foreign land, which is definitely a theme that creeps into a lot of my work.
Deciding that it was time to reflect on my practice and explore a more academic approach to photography I started an MA in Photography at Falmouth University through their flexible learning program. I am currently working my way through the second module and will be using images from my trip to Singapore and Vietnam as part of my submitted portfolio for the course.
I am also putting together a body of work called And Other Storieswhich aims to deconstruct conventional forms of narrative through street photography and reportage. It is a new direction for me, influenced by the style and ascetic of the Provoke era of Japanese street photography in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It plays with the traditional tropes of technical perfection and, for me at least, is a more personal experience. It has a greater emphasis on feelings and spontaneity which contrasts with my more prescriptive work as a photojournalist.
During my trip I will share work from this project plus some of my more documentary images as we travel around. I am travelling with my partner, Sian, who lived in Singapore for 6 years, so the stop off there will have extra meaning. It will be interesting to see what her memories are of the place, 20 years on.
For the Vietnam leg of the journey it is really all about exploring somewhere that neither of us have been before. When visiting a new place I have a childlike curiosity and excitement which I hope comes through in my photography. We are focussing on the Northern part of Vietnam with stops in Sa Pa, Ha Long Bay and finally Hanoi.
I look forward to sharing my images and experiences with you and hopefully will be an inspiration to get out and explore.