Skip to content

Days Out With Colin O’Brien

October 12, 2016
by the gentle author

In recent years, Contributing Photographer Colin O’Brien & I clocked up over fifty assignments working in partnership. His death in August has given me cause to look back over all the adventures that we had together and today I publish this small gallery of some of my favourite photographs that he took for Spitalfields Life in 2011, 2012 & 2013. Colin always said to me, ‘I’ll send you a few extra so you have a choice,’ and – invariably – more than two hundred photographs would arrive around midnight and I would spend the long hours of the night making my selection. It was an exciting process because there would be photographic gems like these to be discovered.

At the Italian Parade, Clerkenwell, June 2011

Olive Besagni, Film Editor, Clerkenwell, July 2011

Bruno Besagni, Artist in Plaster Casts, Clerkenwell, August 2011

The Fly Pitchers of Spitalfields, October, 2011

Jason Cornelius John, Street Musician, Spitalfields, October 2011

The Fly Pitchers of Spitalfields, October, 2011

Mr Gil, Street Preacher, Spitalfields, November 2011

Viscountess Boudica of Bethnal Green, November 2011

Gary Aspey, Wheel Truer, Spitalfields, December 2011

Henry Chapman, Jack of All Trades, Gina’s Restaurant, December 2011

Gina Christou of Gina’s Restaurant, Bethnal Green Rd, January 2012

Brian Welch, Gina’s Restaurant, Bethnal Green Rd, January 2012

Julia Sparks, Gina’s Restaurant, Bethnal Green Rd, January 2012

Stuart Faulkner with his sons Luke & Ben, E Pellicci, Bethnal Green December 2012

Quentin Croucher, E Pellicci, Bethnal Green, December 2012

Nevio Pellicci, E Pellicci, Bethnal Green, December 2012

Teresa Kenny, E Pellicci, Bethnal Green, December 2012

Smithfield, Christmas Eve 2012

Rodney Archer, E Pellicci Christmas Party, Bethnal Green, 2012

Clerkenwell Fire Station, February, 2013

Clerkenwell Fire Station, February 2013

Lyndsay Hooper, Hula Hoop Festival, Mile End, May 2013

Andrew Holmes, Aldgate Press, Aldgate, June 2013

Lauren Gerstal, E5 Bakehouse, London Fields, July 2013

Photographs copyright © Estate of Colin O’Brien

I will be reminiscing about my collaborations with Colin O’Brien at Unit G Gallery, 12a Collent St, Hackney, E9 6SG, on Thursday 20th October at 6:30pm as part of the current retrospective of his photography taken outside London, THIS ENGLAND.

15 Responses leave one →
  1. Nancy permalink
    October 12, 2016

    Such great faces. You can tell that he cared about these people, and that they trusted him. R.I.P., Colin O’Brien.

  2. October 12, 2016

    These photographs are all about the subject. They are unforced and natural. It takes a special skill to achieve that.

  3. Peter Gray permalink
    October 12, 2016

    Colin had the knack of being able to see a great subject to photograph, and in the future I believe that his photographs will be regarded as an important record of the lives and environment of this area of a sadly disappearing part of London.

    The first thing I do every morning, is to look on my IPad to read and enjoy the days offering from “Spitalfield Life” to which Colin’s photography played an important part.
    Thank you Colin, you will be very much missed.

  4. October 12, 2016

    Such intimate moments in other people’s lives. Thank you, I enjoyed sharing them.

  5. Yvonne Eade Kolessides permalink
    October 12, 2016

    Once again, thank you soo much for your wonderful caring photography..

  6. October 12, 2016

    Lovely portraits, what a great legacy

  7. Ros permalink
    October 12, 2016

    Every one of these portraits is a gem, and a tribute to Colin’s genius with people and his camera.

  8. Sarah B Guest Perry permalink
    October 12, 2016

    A treat it is to see these again.

  9. Christopher Brennan permalink
    October 12, 2016

    Taking a photo of somebody is a spit second of their lives, that moment captured. This a fleeting relationship with the camera, but more essential a relationship with the photographer. Colin must have been someone that people trusted in a very short space of time. This couldn’t have been just ‘charm’ or ‘charisma’, it was more, a generous slice of human connectedness. compassion and vulnerability. Colin was an exceptional person, the photos are proof.

  10. October 12, 2016

    Wonderful photos, Colin had a great talent. Valerie

  11. Malcolm permalink
    October 12, 2016

    This collection of Colin’s work clearly illustrates his skill, both as a photographer and as a communicator. These pictures look easy but to get such pictures of people at ease with the camera pointing at them takes a great deal of empathy with the subject and skill with the camera. I look forward to seeing his work at Unit G very soon.

  12. Nick permalink
    October 12, 2016

    Great,will try and make it.

  13. Moyra P. permalink
    October 13, 2016

    Great to see these portraits… love them… and the way everyone always looks so relaxed & comfortable in Colin’s work. More, please, of this lovely legacy.

  14. Bill permalink
    October 14, 2016

    What wonderful memories for you and us all. See you at the church in November for the service to a man who enriched our lives.

  15. Simon permalink
    November 15, 2016

    Tragic the toll 5 years on the streets have taken on Jason Cornelius John.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS