Meet IGers Birmingham Part 6: Martin O’Callaghan

So far this week we’ve introduced you to all of the photographers from the IGers Birmingham community that are appearing in this year’s exhibition. Now it’s time to introduce you to the team that run the account and organise all-things IGers Birmingham: Beth, Martin and Fraser.

Hey, I’m Martin aka @ocuk and I have just recently joined the IGers Birmingham team alongside Beth and Fraser but have been part of the IGers community for nearly 3 years now. This instablogpost is some words about me, as well as some of my favourite shots from the past few years.

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Me: Armed with a Nikon and my best ‘model’ face


I was born and raised in Birmingham and have lived here all my life. I have a beautiful 4 year old daughter who is my favourite person in the whole wide world and keeps me grounded to what is important in life. I currently work within a Brain Injury Charity and recently completed a Masters in Clinical Psychology. I have always been interested in photography but never had the confidence or belief to go further than taking the odd snap on my old camera phone and posting the odd photo to Instagram and its from there that my photographic journey started. It was through Instagram and its clever use of hashtags that I started seeing shots from local Birmingham photographers on my feed. I was inspired by seeing great photography of the city by the likes of Tim Cornbill, Verity Milligan and Ross Jukes on a regular basis and aspired to be able to take such breath-taking photos.

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A photo of my daughter at 18 months old staring out over the city from inside the newly built Birmingham Library. An iPhone 5s shot taken in 2015 and still remains my favourite capture

It was at my first IGers Birmingham Instameet in early 2015 that I really became passionate (obsessed) with photography. I journeyed to heart of the Jewellery Quarter on a cold winter morning to see what it was all about and I was greeted by the one they called @mcgoogle at the time who introduced himself as Fraser. It was strange to meet someone, who I had sporadically interacted with online, in real life but I went with it and introduced myself and chatted with some new faces, but familiar names from the world of Instagram. My first Instameet was a really enjoyable experience and it was through this event and meeting of like-minded people that really sparked my passion for photography. From that day onwards I always tried my best to attend any of the IGers Birmingham Instameets and browsed through the hashtag on a daily, religious basis. Through the encouragement, support and opportunities of this thriving little community I was able to gain the confidence to challenge and push myself to improve my photography. IGers Birmingham and our community have been pivotal in how I have developed as a photographer.

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Rotunda Reflected: A personal favourite of mine from this year. I achieved this 5 second long exposure through lying down in a puddle on a car park roof, using my scarf as a make-shift tripod/stand. Anything for the Gram as they say

After being part of the community for the past few years it was a real honour and privilege to be asked by Beth and Fraser to join them as part of the IGers Birmingham team at the end of Summer. My favourite thing about being part of IGers Birmingham is the opportunities it brings. As a longstanding (or lying down on the floor) member of the community I have been very fortunate to have been involved in a wide range of these unique opportunities. From 30 seconds of fame on BBC midlands today under the spaghetti junction to shooting the city at night from the penthouse of the Rotunda.

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Brumrise: I love this shot as not only was it a stunning sunrise from a great vantage point, but also because its an example of how sometimes those early morning wake ups as a photographer are totally worth it.

 

In the summer I was asked to be part of organising and running one of the summer Instameets to be set in the familiar grounds of Sutton Park. For me this was an opportunity to not only get a feel for being part of a huge success story like IGers Birmingham but to also give people the opportunity to try something new. As a photographer I am always looking to push and challenge myself. Stepping out of that comfort zone is sometimes hard to do and being part of the IGers community has given me that push I needed in my photography. Now as a fully fledged member of the team I really look forward to continuing to find new and unique photographic opportunities for the IGers community.

Words & images: Martin O’Callaghan @ocuk OCUK Photography