Today (19th) is World Photography Day and we wanted to shine a spotlight on a member of ACC staff whose work you will have definitely seen, but you may not know the person behind the camera. Introducing Seanen Middleton, ACC’s Digital Content Creator and our go-to videographer and photographer.
There are many different types of photography and for this piece we wanted to show off the incredible artistic work that Seanen creates.
How and why did you get into photography?
I was about 16 and experiencing a lot of teenage angst. I was massively into music with strong aesthetics like Evanescence, Marilyn Manson, Cradle of Filth and Slipknot. I remember being so inspired, not just by the sounds they were creating but the visual aspects that went alongside it, and how they managed to channel this darkness into their music videos, video shoots and live performances.
Initially I tried to pursue the musical side but it wasn’t until I really started experimenting within my art GCSE that I found I was incredibly drawn to creating visuals that expressed these dark emotions. Initially this was through drawing and painting, but as soon as I had access to a cheap point and shoot camera, I knew it was the format that really resonated with me. I then found an online community of fine art photographers who were creating these surreal and expressive images and from there my obsession began.
How do you approach a shoot? What do you have to look out for when preparing?
I have to have some kind of intention. What emotion do I want to express? Why do I want to create this image? How am I going to edit this image?
From a technical point of view, atmospheric lighting is really important to me. It’s hard to fix bad lighting in post-production and always ends up looking a bit artificial and rubbish. I want my images to look magical and dramatic so I try to get this as close to perfect as possible in camera.
What would you say is the most interesting part of your work?
I think I have a knack for taking a concept that can be quite dark, like loneliness or grief, and being able to turn it into something that has beauty and magic to it. There is something special about that transformative process. That is the message that I want people to take away from my work, that even in the darkest places, there is beauty, meaning and hope.
What’s your favourite style of work and who inspires you?
Anything that has the ability to move me. The world of Instagram and social media in general is saturated with vapid, meaningless imagery so to find something amongst that speaks to you on a deeper level feels really special. I’m definitely more drawn to darker aesthetics and concepts that tackle subjects we find difficult to talk about in our day to day life.
What equipment/software do you use?
Adobe Photoshop for software.
Most of my recent work is shot with a Nikon D600, a 35mm F/1.8 or a 28mm F/2.4 lens.
I recently started to use a Wacom 24” tablet which has been a god-send for my workflow. I also have a decent desktop with a nice big monitor. However, I need to point out that I only got this kind of equipment after 10 years in my career. I spent a good portion of my time using a terrible laptop and a cheap camera. Don’t let a lack of expensive equipment hold you back. You can create incredible imagery on your phone these days. Make use of what you have!
Any advice for people that want to do photography?
It can be hard to do this at first but find a purpose to your creative process. What do you want your images to contribute to the world? What statement do you want to make? It can be easy to fall into photographing cliches but you will easily get lost amongst the sea of photography that is already out there.
My advice would be to find patterns in the kind of images you are drawn to and that inspire you and aim for whatever that is within your own work. Make sure what you are doing is authentic and is appealing to you first and foremost. In order to pursue something and master it your heart must be in it!
Check out the gallery of Seanen’s work below. To see more, follow Seanen on social @seanenmiddleton.