words Zarah Cheng
All images are from Sean's portfolio.
Where are you from?
I'm originally from San Diego, CA, but relocated to Charleston, SC in elementary school. I currently reside in NYC.
How would you describe your photos?
The stuff I shoot on the streets is just kinda what pulls me in. I typically have no rhyme or reason behind it. I just go with what inspires me and that's typically what's around me. I noticed that I was accumulating work that seemed to literally follow people. I shot people from behind a lot, so I started the project entitled Rockwell after the guy who sang, "Somebody's Watching Me" from the 80's. My portraits are basically snapshots between whatever conversations my subject and I are having. I may put them into position but after that, I'm trying to catch anything honest, or subtle, or just real.
Who/What are your favourite subjects to photograph?
I love to photograph people who don't necessarily care how they look in the photo. I'm not sure whether that's confidence or just being impartial, but those are my favorite subjects.
NYC streets are filled with so many different people and stories that it’s sometimes difficult to filter through all that noise. What captures your attention?
I gravitate towards people doing things…climbing a ladder, smoking, walking dogs. I like people living their lives and in motion. Even if I want somebody to put their hand on their head, I tell them to rub their head. I like to keep things moving.
Has there ever been a potential photograph that you missed out on and still think about?
Thousands! My first year in NY was like a movie. I was living with a good friend who happens to be into everything imaginable. So everyday it was Pimps, Hos, Hustlers, Artists, et cetera…most of that, I couldn't document. One day I may right a book about it.
You’re currently working on a photo series called, Things I Remember. Can you tell us more about this?
Things I Remember is a series of photographs showcasing people reliving my childhood memories. It's in the early stages right now. The first shot is of paper airplanes, and the next photo will focus on Pencil Fighting.
If we looked into your camera bag, what would we find? Anything we wouldn’t expect?
I rarely carry a camera bag because my camera bag sucks, but if you looked in my backpack you'll find a Mamiya 645 or a Nikon n90s if I need 36 shots rather than 15. The Mamiya wins 8 out of 10 times. My zine will be in there also as well as some business cards…oh, and my light meter. I usually meter things outside before I start shooting because film costs money.
You have to eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life. What is it?
I gotta go with Dave's Carryout in Charleston, SC…some of the best takeout seafood you'll ever have in your life.
Best album of all time?
Aquamini by Outkast
What creeps you out the most?
Failure!!! Failure creeps me out.
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