Mike OToole is a Photographer, Film maker and Creative Teacher. Lürzers Archive recognised him twice as being among the 200 Best Advertising Photographers Worldwide, and he has won awards for his work from The Association of Photographers (Uk) and Communications arts (USA) and The New York Food Film Festival. His work in the field of Commercial Photography has been featured in publications ranging from Conde Nast Traveller , The Wall St Journal, and The Washington Post .
Hello ! My name is Mike O’Toole, and I’m an Irish Photographer and Educator. I live in Kildare, just outside Dublin Ireland with my talented wife Anne Marie Tobin, who is a food stylist and our Daughters Sally and Hazel . I use a wide variety of photographic techniques including a detailed knowledge of film lighting to sell not only products but lifestyles, concepts and ideas.
I consider myself fortunate to be able to say, that I love what I do , whether it’s doing a shoot or designing a course like Mindfulness through Photography, its all creativity to me. I have a Masters in Photography, Diploma in Personal Coaching and Certificate in Adult Career Guidance along with several Sports Coaching Awards.
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What Our Clients Say:
"Mike is an extremely talented photographer who is prepared to go the extra mile to make a good shot great. Meticulous attention to detail, combined with an eye for an alternative angle means that results are invariably beyond what was anticipated. A big plus he that is a really nice guy to work with and not an ego (unlike some photographers I have worked with!), his only minus point being that he is a Liverpool fan! "Simon Dry Creative Director
"I worked with Mike recently on a project with an extremely tight turn around. He turned what should have been a very stressful, chaotic shoot into a very manageable experience and most importantly produced great results." Mikey Flemming Boys and Girls
"Authenticity. That's the single word that I have always associated with Mike’s work going back many years and he remains passionately true to this in everything he does. All photographers use highly specialised skills to capture, and in some cases create, particular moments and make them look as aesthetically appealing as possible. But it takes patience and a lot of perseverance to make sure that the outcome is as real as possible. You can’t fake real. And real is as beautiful as it ever gets." Sean Hynes Creative Director BONFIRE
"With Mike O'Toole, you get a different angle, a unique perspective, an unexpected viewpoint: literally. Mike's work is personal, with a reportage/documentary style that opens out the subject to new appraisals. This is what caught my eye when I looked at his portfolio, and Mike has brought his uniquely questioning, interrogative approach to all the projects I have worked with him on. Penetrating to the heart of the subject, offering audiences an exciting invitation to the "unseen", he can offer clients surprising new ways to see themselves, which in turn presents often surprising twists to the viewer." J.Hoban RTE
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I lived and worked in London for seven years where I assisted several Advertising and Editorial photographers. The first job I was commissioned to do was for Conde Nast House and Garden and my first location job was a travel assignment for Thompson Holidays.
I have been featured twice in Archives 200 best Advertising photographers Worldwide and won awards from ICAD, Communications Arts, The Association of Photographers (UK) and The International Photographers Awards. My project, The Shrinking Horizons of Childhood, received an Honorable mention in the Bernice Abbott photography awards in America.I also have a Masters in Photography from The University of Westminster and I studied Cinematography and worked on several short films. I have lectured part time on the Photography Degree at IADT, St Kevin’s College and Crawford College Of Art.
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Clients we have worked for include: Aer Lingus / An Post / BBC Food / Bord Failte / Bord Bia / Chapter One / Coca-Cola / Conde Nast Traveller / Crawford College Of Art / Eircom / Farmleigh House / GalleryStock / Glanbia / IADT / Irish Life / Kava Media / Kelloggs / LA Living / Musgrave Corporate / Meteor / 02 / Pfizer / StudioAAD / Superquinn / Tesco / Vodafone / Wall St Journal
For more information feel free to get in touch.
Campaigns we have worked on include ..
Water conservation ( Irish Water) posters
Ads for Ispcc Childline campaign
Housing and shelter campaign for elderly with charity Alone
National Road Safety campaigns
First 100 days Infant and baby healthy food campaigns
Restoration projects of our public buildings OPW
Workshops for National Heritage week
Photography for Ireland’s Native Trees and Forests , book published by Gill .
Free Trade Recycling campaign for Dublin Waste
Video of Irish food for the Irish pavilion at Expo Milan 2015 .
Short film Slowberry was selected by The New York Food Film Festival
Published Books on the food of Carton House and LeEcrivain
BTS of 2016 National commemorations of 1916 for The Government of Ireland
Outdoor campaign for The Mater Private Hospital
A Prosperous Childhood
I grew up in a small village with the unique name of Prosperous. My mother ran a general store, selling everything from food to drapery and toys on the main street , just as my grandfather had before her. My earliest memories include a feeling of being accepted and loved by my family. There was four of us kids—two brothers and one sister and me.
I remember a small red convertible sports car I played with almost all the time. It had a few scratches and one tire was missing the wheel cover, but I loved that car. I was always happy playing on my own. Sometimes I would play with my brother , but usually I preferred to be alone. I was able to construct imaginary worlds, create different scenarios, and be happy and entertained for hours at a time.
My mother was never far away so I thought of myself as independent. Actually, it was nice to look up, every once in a while, and see her through the kitchen window. I was never really alone, there was always someone around. I was very happy being “on my own.” I would say that's one of my richest memories—a warm, secure feeling of being loved and accepted while being content to be on my own at the same time.
My mother ran a shop to the side of our house, which was established by my grandfather. I remember growing up in a very busy household. And at the shop, there was always something going on. There were lots of people coming and going. I remember playing with the empty bottles of Fanta and Coke. They were returns we used to stack outside before they were sent to back for recycling .
I'd create an imaginary store or a farm or sometimes a bar. I’d set up in the back yard. I could spend hours pretending I was a shopkeeper or a bartender. It was my earliest memory of getting lost in my imagination. I started school early, at four and a half. At that time my father, an electrician was in the hospital with a weird illness called Brucellosis.
I remember the fashions of the late 70s and early 80s. The clothes, at the time, were very artful and very colourful. I also remember the music. It was new and different and I loved it. And there was quite a variety; disco, the Beatles, Abba, and a whole bunch of new artists and great music.
The girls who worked at the shop were teenagers and into Donny Osmond and Elvis. I remember and the atmosphere around the house and the shop overlapped with each other. It was lively and I got to know a lot of the same people coming and going. There was bingo night on Friday. Lots of family dropped by; aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. My aunt Carrie and Bridie Conolloy made soda bread and fancy cakes. We even had a housekeeper since my mother Chrissie was so busy running the store. When my aunt and uncle would pop in after bingo, there were always friends and Famiy to greet them, make them a cup of tea or share a whiskey. I was surrounded with people who were encouraging and supportive of me. I guess you could say, before it became a popular expression—it took a village to raise me.
And I loved every minute of it.
We lived with my grandfather, who was a huge influence on all of us. My Grandfather was a shopkeeper, with a difference. He was also a shoemaker, a watch and clock repairer, a gardener, a lover of Irish music, a patriot , and a fisherman. He had so many different interests. He loved Irish Music , whenever he was listening to it on the radio , he would stop and say listen ! He enjoyed bingo, collected cuckoo clocks among a variety of collectible. And famously, my grandfather had a wooden leg, which was a replacement because of an accident he had in his youth when he lived in the West of Ireland. Only with the help of Baron de Freyne, of Frenchpark House, that he was saved by having him shipped over to the hospital in Baggot Street in Dublin. He ended up moving from the West of Ireland to work in Clongowes Wood College and later on established his own business.
He was quite a character with a larger than life personality. He lived with us, which must have been difficult for my father. Living and growing up with him was an adventure. You could find him doing something different throughout the day; anything from loading his fishing rods into his Morris Minor to looking for parts for a watch, or he might be out in the yard or garden. To say the least, he was very active.
Grandfather was known to hold card games for customers after hours in the shop. So, we in a way were brought up always helping people, listening to people’s stories, and welcoming the many different kinds of people from the gentleman, who would be very annoyed if the Telegraph newspaper wasn’t reserved for him, to the cleaners and farm laborers who came in for an ice cream or seven -up. We were exposed to diverse and wild personalities on a daily basis, and that was an education in itself.
We often had callers after hours and even on Christmas day. Tom Dowling was one of those who would knock on our sitting room window past midnight. He would spend the evening drinking at Larry's Pub, then he'd come in to get maybe eight ounces of ham and some bread and cheese and tell a few yarns. Of course, the smell the whiskey reached us before we even heard his voice. After that, he would get back on his bicycle and cycle up a considerable hill called Ballinfagh Hill, then a few more miles around to the lake near his home. It was the place he always made his home.
Hail, rain, sleet or snow, no matter how drunk he was; he would get himself home. He was a farm laborer and told me stories about driving cattle to Smithfield market in Dublin—a journey that would take a few days and include a few pubs along the way. He did pull ups on the beam inside his kitchen to keep fit. It was great having these colorful characters coming into the shop and making our lives more interesting and never dull. If anything, I’m much more open to meeting people as a result. I also learned about the satisfaction of helping and serving others.