I was born and raised in Dublin. My father, Paddy Sullivan, ran a bar in the shadow of the Spire, just off O’Connell St, where I worked my weekends and summers as a teenager.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was where I learned, whilst working with him, about working with people, the importance of customer service and how to communicate with people and put them at their ease.
This is a lesson that I have carried forward throughout my life and that I now use that skill in my photography. Creating a comfortable and relaxed experience for my clients.
A pure creative life is a wonderful thing to aspire to, but you’ve also got to eat. So, throughout my working life, both in London and now in Cork, I have tried to combine my creative work with my business drive in whatever I’m doing.
Alongside my photography, I ran a successful café and catering business, based in a thriving Arts Centre in North London. I used the wall space to exhibit the black and white landscape photographs I was taking on my frequent visits to West Cork as well as street photography from New York and London’s East End.
I got to meet some amazingly creative people and some very famous people at that time. I was once doing a very bad impersonation of Mick Jagger in our café and when I turned around, he was standing behind me!!
Dad's photo was featured in the Aer Lingus in-flight magazine in the 1970's to promote visits to Dublin for international tourists.
I’d visited West Cork with my wife Mari many times, and we fell in love with the landscape, the people and the lifestyle. So in 1999, we moved from London with our two small children and opened a cafe and photography gallery on the main street in Clonakilty.
I had a portrait studio upstairs where I sold my landscape photographs and I photographed individuals and families on black and white film and developed the photographs in my darkroom at home. When photography went digital in around 2008 it allowed me to expand the range of work that I was doing.
Our studio was two doors away from the famous De Barras music venue and I got the opportunity to photograph a lot of the well known people who were performing there.
I began shooting weddings in 2008, and by 2011 the business was successful enough for me to leave the café behind and become a full-time photographer!!
Wedding photography ticks all my boxes. It is a creative challenge to produce a successful range of photographs on the day, whatever the weather. You need to be a portrait photographer, a landscape photographer, a product photographer and an event photographer rolled into one.
But for me, good social skills and a friendly positive attitude are just as important as photography skills on a wedding day, and for those, I must thank my Dad!
SOME OF MY
"Dermot is a very talented photographer and the photographs of our wedding are beautiful."
"Where do we start, honestly Dermot you are an absolute pleasure and super talented!!"
"We have so many beautiful photos from our day but more than that Dermot helped us plan out the whole thing."