UMaine student explores photography while coping with disability

Posted April 23, 2013, at 5:38 a.m.
May 11: Make a photo of something you are looking forward to.
Derek O'Brien
May 11: Make a photo of something you are looking forward to. Buy Photo
May 10: Find a repeating pattern today and make a photograph of it.
Derek O'Brien
May 10: Find a repeating pattern today and make a photograph of it.
May 9: Illustrate one of the meanings of the the word warmth.
Derek O'Brien
May 9: Illustrate one of the meanings of the the word warmth.
May 8: Make a photo of a hallway or passage and post it.
Derek O'Brien
May 8: Make a photo of a hallway or passage and post it.
May 7: Make a photograph of a circular or round object.
Derek O'Brien
May 7: Make a photograph of a circular or round object.
May 6: Find an interesting texture today and make a photo.
Derek O'Brien
May 6: Find an interesting texture today and make a photo.
May 5: Make a photograph with a symbol or an icon in it.
Derek O'Brien
May 5: Make a photograph with a symbol or an icon in it.
May 4: Make a photograph today of a diagonal line leading the viewers eye through the composition.
Derek O'Brien
May 4: Make a photograph today of a diagonal line leading the viewers eye through the composition.
May 3: Make a photograph of something mundane and ordinary.
Derek O'Brien
May 3: Make a photograph of something mundane and ordinary.
May 2: Go high contrast today.
Derek O'Brien
May 2: Go high contrast today.
May 1: Use strong converging lines in a photograph today. It's your choice whether or not to show the vanishing point.
Derek O'Brien
May 1: Use strong converging lines in a photograph today. It's your choice whether or not to show the vanishing point.
April 30: Use strong converging lines in a photograph today.
Derek O'Brien
April 30: Use strong converging lines in a photograph today.
April 29: Make a photograph today that features or uses liquid as your subject.
Derek O'Brien
April 29: Make a photograph today that features or uses liquid as your subject.
April 28: Make a photograph of something shiny or glossy.
Derek O'Brien
April 28: Make a photograph of something shiny or glossy.
April 27: Illustrate one of the various meanings of the word tag today in a photograph.
Derek O'Brien
April 27: Illustrate one of the various meanings of the word tag today in a photograph.
April 26: Let's play with movement today. Get a shot of something in motion. Freeze it or let it blur. It's up to you!
Derek O'Brien
April 26: Let's play with movement today. Get a shot of something in motion. Freeze it or let it blur. It's up to you!
April 25: Make a photograph of two complementary objects.
Derek O'Brien
April 25: Make a photograph of two complementary objects.
April 24: Today's theme is blue. Make a photograph dominated by the color or otherwise illustrates the theme.
Derek O'Brien
April 24: Today's theme is blue. Make a photograph dominated by the color or otherwise illustrates the theme.
April 23: Make a photograph with a soft look today.
Derek O'Brien
April 23: Make a photograph with a soft look today.
April 21: Make a photograph featuring a path, road, or trail that leads the eye through the photograph.
Derek O'Brien
April 21: Make a photograph featuring a path, road, or trail that leads the eye through the photograph.
April 20: Make a photograph featuring a path, road, or trail that leads the eye through the photograph.
Derek O'Brien
April 20: Make a photograph featuring a path, road, or trail that leads the eye through the photograph.
April 19: Make a photo that features stripes of some sort or lines.
Derek O'Brien
April 19: Make a photo that features stripes of some sort or lines.
April 18: Take color out of the equation and make a monochromatic photograph today.
Derek O'Brien
April 18: Take color out of the equation and make a monochromatic photograph today.
April 17: How low can you go? Make a photograph today from a low point of view.
Derek O'Brien
April 17: How low can you go? Make a photograph today from a low point of view.
April 16: How low can you go? Make a photograph today from a low point of view.
Derek O'Brien
April 16: How low can you go? Make a photograph today from a low point of view.
April 15: Take color out of the equation and make a monochromatic photograph.
Derek O'Brien
April 15: Take color out of the equation and make a monochromatic photograph.
April 14: Make a photo that features stripes of some sort.
Derek O'Brien
April 14: Make a photo that features stripes of some sort.
April 13: Make a photograph today that illustrates attraction. Pick whatever definition of the word you'd like.
Derek O'Brien
April 13: Make a photograph today that illustrates attraction. Pick whatever definition of the word you'd like.
April 12: Make a photograph today with a central point of interest in it.
Derek O'Brien
April 12: Make a photograph today with a central point of interest in it.
April 11: Make a photo that features stripes of some sort.
Derek O'Brien
April 11: Make a photo that features stripes of some sort.
April 10: Use hard light that casts a shadow in a photograph.
Derek O'Brien
April 10: Use hard light that casts a shadow in a photograph.
April 9: Make a photograph today that illustrates attraction. Pick whatever definition of the word you'd like.
Derek O'Brien
April 9: Make a photograph today that illustrates attraction. Pick whatever definition of the word you'd like.
April 8: Make a photograph today with a central point of interest in it.
Derek O'Brien
April 8: Make a photograph today with a central point of interest in it.
April 7: Make a photograph that features very distinct curved lines or surfaces.
Derek O'Brien
April 7: Make a photograph that features very distinct curved lines or surfaces.
April 6: Today's theme is red. Red hot, Red paint, Or something else. You decide.
Derek O'Brien
April 6: Today's theme is red. Red hot, Red paint, Or something else. You decide.
April 5: Make a photograph that illustrates an aspect of communication.
Derek O'Brien
April 5: Make a photograph that illustrates an aspect of communication.
April 4: Make a photo that shows repetition.
Derek O'Brien
April 4: Make a photo that shows repetition.
Derek O'Brien will be graduating from University of Maine, Orono in May 2013. O'Brien is a quadriplegic and uses photography as a way to escape the confines of his wheelchair.

Brian Feulner | BDN
Derek O’Brien will graduate from the University of Maine in Orono in May 2013. O’Brien is quadriplegic and has been making a photo a day with his iPhone to showcase the way he sees life and his love of photography.

Derek O’Brien hasn’t had the full use of his legs or arms since a swimming accident on July 23, 2005, in Atlantic City, N.J. O’Brien, a West Rockport native and new media student at the University of Maine in Orono, uses photography as an artistic outlet.

“It gives me freedom and lets my creativity flow,” O’Brien said.

However, O’Brien doesn’t look at his disability as a crutch, but instead said it helps him see a different perspective that most people don’t usually see.

“Before the accident … I would lay on the ground to get that perfect shot,” said O’Brien. “I don’t have that luxury anymore. I’m confined more to this wheelchair, but I’ve adapted to make it work for my photography.”

O’Brien has started a photo-a-day project for the Bangor Daily News that began on April 4, 2013. He uses cues from archived pages on the now terminated site dailyshoot.com to come up with ideas for his photographs. An example of a cue that O’Brien uses is “make a photo that features stripes of some sort or lines.” These phrases help him remember the projects he’s working on, which can be a challenge because of a brain injury from his accident.

His project will be updated continuously on the BDN Maine website at http://bdn.to/nmdpotd until he graduates from UMaine in May 2013.

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