Joe O’Brien
b. Dec 1997 / Jakarta, Indonesia
Working in Lancaster / Glasgow, UK

I am an artist working with photography, video and prose attempting to make sense of our world. The absurd arises from the difficulty of finding meaning in a seemingly meaningless world. 

The meaning which I photographically search for exists through human connections. The images of singular figures are self reflective of my solitude. They embody the lack of connection which my heart yearns for. At times I am content to be alone with my thoughts, conveyed visually through people walking across a street or perhaps taking a break from work. My affinity for light, quietness and reclusion is expressed through the innate beauty of solitary spaces. This solitude gives myself time to think and truly appreciate the beauty life holds, even when it pushes against me. My heart throbs towards twilight when I see shadows casted from trees under a lilac sunset. The beauty in life reminds me that happiness is in reach even amid sorrows and when life seems to make no sense. The photographs of couples strengthen the longing for human connections when feeling lonely. Now more than ever do these intimate moments show the importance of human connection.

My personal struggles of loneliness are expressed through both written work and the spoken components of the videos. The verge between land and water becomes important spaces in exploring our contemplative nature. This is particularly valuable for the meditative spoken word videos expressing loneliness. Loneliness can be piercingly painful at times, but the greatest way to overcome it is through compassion.


2016 - 2020

BA (Hons) First Class - Fine Art Photography, The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (UK)

Group Exhibitions:

2020 The Pieces Are In Flux - Salt Space Gallery, Glasgow (UK)

2020 Photograd - 2020 Online Photography Degree Show 

2020 Source Magazine: Graduate Photography Online (Online Show)

2020 GSA Showcase 2020 - The Glasgow School of Art (Online Show)

2020 DS2020 Simulator, (Virtual Show)

2020 Glider - Waterstones: Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (UK)

2019 Hawk - New Glasgow Society, Glasgow (UK)

2019 Motherlode: GSA 3rd Year Fine Art Photography - Studio Pavillion, House for an Art Lover, Glasgow (UK)

2019 CCA Film Screening: 3rd Year Fine Art Photography - Centre of Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (UK)

2018 Sobremesa - Wasps Hanson Street Studios, Glasgow (UK)

2018 More is Less: GSA 2nd Year Fine Art – The Arches, Glasgow (UK) 

2018 Feedback Loop: GSA 2nd Year Fine Art Photography – The Art School, Glasgow (UK)

2017 Lost Generation: Derby – The Art House, Derby (UK)

2017 Zeitgeist – New Glasgow Society, Glasgow (UK)

Editorial / Documentation Photoshoots:

2020 Aperçu: Website Content

2019 Postal: Fall 19’

2019 Matthew Rimmer: New Contemporaries 2019

2019 GSA: Fashion Show 2019

2019 Katerina Knight’s collection: Acts of Preservation

2018 Katerina Knights’s collection: Accordance


2020 The Pupil Sphere - 2020: Your Favourite Projects, (Photography) December 2020

2020 GRAIN Projects: Student Spotlight - Joe O'Brien (Post 1), (Post 2), (Post 3),(Photography) September 2020

2020 SaltSpace: Film/Audio Programme - Joe O'Brien (Video) August 2020

2020 Source Magazine: Graduate Photography Online 2020 - Selections by Nicola Shipley, (Photography) July 2020

2020 The Pupil Sphere - Joe O'Brien: Withdrawn, (Photography) June 2020

2020 The Scotsman - Art Review: Glasgow School of Art Degree Show 2020, (Video) June 2020

2020 The Herald - Glasgow School of Art: Sneak a look at the stars of the future, (Video) June 2020 

2020 GSA Showcase 2020 -Consumerism, collage, chaos and gender politics in the School of Fine Art, (Video) June 2020

2020 NTS Radio - Rainy Miller: The Progress Check (Part 2), (Spoken Word) April 2020

2020 Rubin Geehan - Words, April 2020

2019  Make Official Magazine - Issue 3, (Photography) July 2019


2019  Letter to Self, Self Published

2019  Stuck in the Rain, Self Published

2018  Accordance, Katerina Knight and Joe O’Brien (Collaboratively Published) 

2018  Still Here, Self Published 

2017  Lost Generation, Lost Generation Collective   

Using Format