The Conceptual and Inspirational Portraits of Seanan Middleton

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All images by Seanan Middleton. Used with permission.

Seanan Middleton is a 21 year old photographer living in North West England.He recently contacted us to show us his portfolio–which we were completely blown away by. Seanan’s work is conceptual and is the thing that many art buyers around the world look for. On top of this, many of his photos are square–which has even greater appeal in today’s Instagram world. More than anything though, Seanan’s composition and ability to tell a story in a single shot is the thing of dreams of many photographers.

We asked the young photog about what inspires him and about his work.

Phoblographer: Lots of folks capture a world when they shoot, but your images seem to create one. Though it may be your normal processes, what specifically do you do to get your vision and feeling across in your imagery?

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Seanan: It’s really all about creating images that I love, that I know I personally enjoy looking at. When you start creating based on what you think other may like, that is when you loose that personal connection to your work and your unique vision is lost. Specifically, I pay very close attention to lighting and colour, so shooting at the right time of day is vital to my creation process. I tend to stay clear of direct harsh light, as I love my images to look romantic and dreamlike. My favourite time to shoot is golden hour, just before the sun sets, as the light is soft and whimsical and creates stunning colours.

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Phoblographer: Tell us a bit about the gear you use?

Seanan: I have a very basic gear setup. My camera body is a Nikon D3000 that I use alongside a 35mm f1.8 lens. I also use a tripod and shutter release when shooting self portraits, and a reflector when shooting others!

Phoblographer: A lot of the images look very red scale while others look very blue and dark. It’s almost like Picasso in his rose and blue period. Tell us about what makes you create images like this?

Seanan: Colour is an extremely important aspect of my work, and I use it to visually translate certain emotions and atmospheres. I like the viewer to immediately understand what kind of feeling I am trying to get across when they see one of my photos. I feel like a lot of my work is quite bi-polar in a visual sense, as I seem to be drawn to extremes, ie. very warm and joyful, or very cold and melancholy. I am fascinated by the symbolic aspects of colour and what they can be used to represent.

Phoblographer: What inspires you? A lot of your images are done in familiar areas but you also seem to get a ton out of them.

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Seanan: I am inspired by the world around me. The beauty and complexity of nature and the cosmos. The way raindrops look as they hit the ground, the sound of the howling wind, the moon and stars and sunsets and cloudy skies. Human consciousness and the world that lies within our own minds. Love, fear, joy and sadness. All of this inspires me so much. The reality that we live in. That we so often overlook as we go about our busy lives, that breathes and thrives all around us.

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Phoblographer: Your images all have a story to them–and they’re remarkably composed. Do you nail it right in the camera? If no, how do you know when to crop just enough to get across the story that you’re trying to tell.

Seanan: I try to get as much right in camera as I can. I am a huge fan of dramatic central compositions, although I occasionally like to place the subject to the far side of the frame if I feel it suits the piece. I tend to work this out just on what “feels right”. There are no rules despite what others try and tell you. If it looks good and works well with the concept then go for it!

Phoblographer: How much storyboarding do you do? Do you feel it’s important?

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Seanan: I never actually story board. I normally start with a vague idea in my head, or maybe a specific emotion or theme I want to translate, and then just go out and see what I can come up with! A lot of my work is created by going for a walk and seeing what inspires me or catches my eye. It all depends what kind of artist/person you are! I’m quite relaxed and “spur of the moment” when it comes to shooting, but other people prefer to be a lot more organized and planned.

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