Patrick O’Sullivan

Patrick O’Sullivan is an American cinematic photographer. O’Sullivan was commissioned by the Australian Cancer Council to make a series on the effects of cancer to promote an anti-smoking campaign.

O’Sullivan finds the world right now a strange place, opened by a lack of teaching and so he focused his energies to incorporate his knowledge into teaching others and he has done this by creating a website called The idea behind this is to teach the younger cinematographers everything they need to know about being in the industry.

O’Sullivan teaches all the key elements of cinematography by going through lighting diagrams, the ratio in order to achieve interesting compositions, the thought processes and the reasons why you do this creatively, how you have to adapt shooting styles to solve issues whilst onset. Patrick shows you this through theory and application. He is able to inform you on how to balance the storytelling aspects and also informs you about the restrictions you encounter with the camera. O’Sullivan informs you of everything you need to consider before you shoot. He also looks into the colour correction.

I think the advertising O’Sullivan has done is incredible as it has a great level of depth. I feel he embarks on heavy emotions that are connected with a cancer diagnosis. He has a very strong cinematic ambience but also a narrative-based point of view that you the viewer can feel like a “fly on the wall”. He utilises things that most people wouldn’t usually think of when they think of cancer and how it affects the patients family around them. I think the work is very hard-hitting and immensely powerful to the viewer. It looks at colour and lighting to tell most of the story the subject is quite subtle but using his skill, he manages to make this dramatic to the viewer. I feel this is something I strive to accomplish and feel it is an element I would like to incorporate within my own work, to feel subtle but in fact be extremely dramatic. I want to focus on both narrative and cinematic ambiences. I wish to highlight things that most people would not think about with this diagnosis and bring that to the attention of the viewer. I want to make it relatable like O’Sullivan but I want to utilise lighting and colour to enhance the outcome of the photographic series I shall make. I also want to make it feel like it’s a journey throughout the diagnosis even though Sullivan looks at different diagnoses within the cancer canopy I will only focus on one cancer. I would like to show the whole process of the diagnosis. O’Sullivan’s work feels very much like a series that is very well put together which this obviously comes from the fact that it’s a commercial video promoting giving up smoking though I do not have the same motives I still wanted to be impactful and educational for the viewer.

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