Wouda Interviews International Architectural Photographer Kilian O’Sullivan

24 January 2017

Growing up in Milton Keynes, UK’s youngest town, it’s no wonder that Kilian O’Sullivan has a deep connection with architecture. This architect turned photographer’s portfolio boasts some pretty spectacular buildings some of which make you wish that you could teleport to experience their aesthetics in person.

Photograph of a beautiful house taken by Kilian O'Sullivan

From architect to photographer

Kilian has always been interested in photography, however, it was only during his years of studying architecture that he got the opportunity to experimenting with this medium. With experience as a professional architect, he knows exactly how the industry uses photography. When it comes to architecture, you try not judge the book by iets cover, so he knows that project representation is key – and also what to avoid. “Photography is niche orientated and you need to market your skills to a particular niche or type of client.” So having worked in the industry, he acquired a network of future clients.

Photograph of a building taken at night by Kilian O'Sullivan

Kilian’s photography kit & accessories

I usually ask photographers what they have in their kit bag, but it’s safe to say Kilian O’Sullivan just took this to the next level with his all-inclusive response! He takes use through the contents of his large Pelican Case which includes:

  • Phase One IQ1 260 Digital Back Digital Rodenstock 35mm F/4.5
  • Schneider Super Angulon 58mm F/5.6
  • Schneider Super Angulon 78mm F/5.6
  • Schneider Super Angulon 110mm F/5.6
  • Nikon 300mm F/2.8G AF-S VR II IF-ED
  • Gitzo (Lightweight Carbon Fibre Tripod)
  • Manfrotto (Sturdy Alluminium Tripod)
  • iPad
  • MacBook
  • Arca Swiss F line Monorail and three bellows
  • Linhof levelling head
  • Slider
  • LED torches
  • Brackets and clips
  • Barn door
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Compressed air
  • Batteries
  • Spare memory cards
  • Card readers
  • Cables, adapters and chargers
Architectural photograph of a busy city

Photography and light: an age-old relationship

Kilian says that although ambient light is crucial, he uses artificial light whenever it’s possible. “Lighting is very important and artificial lighting specifically, can totally transform the look and feel of what you’re photographing.”

Kilian shares his post-production procedure

“Post-production is possibly more than half of the total work of shooting these days – it cannot be skimped.” He uses a combination of Capture One RAW processing software and Adobe Photoshop, and goes on to say that a lot of work goes into the RAW files – he uses Capture One before exporting to Photoshop. He works on levels, curves, sharpening, twerking highlights and shadows and also removes unwanted objects like dust. After setting everything up in Capture One, Killian moves on to Photoshop where he says everything gets polished.

Photograph taken by Killian O'Sullivan of a house that has a garden on the roof

Strawberry Hill House

Going through Kilian’s website, and looking at all of the spectacular places he’s photographed, I couldn’t help but wonder which building stood out as his favourite. He said that by some margin, the most impressive has to be Strawberry Hill House, explaining that this monumental building is more on par with the Great Pyramids of Giza or Stonehenge and that the building is inspired by the Gothic buildings constructed around the former colonies of Great Britain. He sums up its style as being “a playhouse for a very rich man whose wealth he inherited from his father”.

Gorgeous photograph of a house taken at night by Kilian O'Sullivan

Norman Foster and Apple

I went on to ask Kilian if there were any buildings he still dreams of photographing and he quickly replied with a clear “yes”. He wants to go around and photograph all of the coal-powered power stations in the UK as they are being fazed out due tothe introduction of greener technologies. Then, he also wants to photograph the Apple Campus in Cupertino, California. “It looks like a substantial challenge as it’s just so big. Plus, it’s a Norman Foster building, one of the great living architects of our time. Twined with one of the greatest businesses of our time.” Do yourself a favour and google this building! We truly hope that Kilian has the opportunities to fulfil these dreams – and share them with us!

Photograph of a house taken by Kilian O'Sullivan

Kilian, still a down-to-earth guy

Besides his job that is anything but ordinary, Kilian remains a humble, down-to-earth man who says that being a father is his proudest achievement to date. He has large ambitions and is currently working with a small group of physicists who are doing groundbreaking scientific assignments across the European Union. Kilian takes photographs of these projects, which of course, are extraordinary, and sends you into a new world of scientific possibilities. He urges us to watch this space and we dare you to do so too.

Kilian O'Sullivan captures a photo of a construction site
Kilian O'Sullivan captures a photo of a construction site
Kilian O'Sullivan captures a photo of a construction site at dusk
Interior photograph of a house taken by Kilian O'Sullivan
Beautiful interior photograph taken by Kilian O'Sullivan
Beautiful photograph taken by Kilian O'Sullivan of a house that is an architectural piece of art.
Photograph of the interior of a beautiful home
A city lights up as Kilian O'Sullivan photographs the architecture at night
Photograph taken at night of architecture
An interior photograph taken by Kilian O'Sullivan
Gorgeous photograph of the interior of a home
Photograph by Kilian O'Sullivan
Photograph of a building showcasing its lines
Photograph of a beautiful house by Kilian O'Sullivan
Photograph of the interior of a home
Photograph of a beautiful house by Kilian O'Sullivan
Photograph of the interior of a home

About the Author:

Wouda McMicken spends her work days as part of the driven Outdoorphoto team. She enjoys photography, especially with her treasured Nikon Film camera.

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