Artists Girls Love: Photographer Todd Seelie

I popped down to Williamsburg to meet renowned photographer Todd Seelie, who’s works has feature in the NYT & Rolling Stone etc. He’s launching a new series of photographs sponsored in collaboration with Cutty Sark, called Todd Seelie X Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition. Based on Tod’s photography style, it seemed like a natural partnership when Cutty Sark approached him to support his work. I think for us ladies whose artistic photographic tastes perhaps opt more for the abstract and less for the figurative, you’ll particularly be able to appreciate: it’s amazing work.

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What first inspired you? Where are you from? What photography did you start out doing? How did you get where you are?
I am from Cleveland, Ohio. I moved to NYC in 97 to go to art school at Pratt. I met Swoon there, the guys in Japanther, Matt & Kim. It was a really lucky moment for me to meet these people who have guided me as I left school to focus on photography and went on to do a lot of great projects.

So how did you get into photography?
For years I was interested in making sculpture with light and then switched to photography which was just making work with light.

Favorite place to photograph?
Of all of the places I have been, there is one that I want to go back to the most. That is because I didn’t have a very long trip and I still kick myself for it but I was just too poor at the time. It was Cuba. I was there over ten years ago now.

How did you get there the first time?
I went to Mexico, it is long and expensive but it is effective.

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How about places you would like to go to that you haven’t been to?
I would love to go to India, Iceland, Russia. I would love to go to Russia but I am nervous about it because you need to bribe people constantly. You kind of need a local fixer, and it is not a safe place to travel solo with a camera as a foreigner because people want to get your money and that can really complicate things.

Were you trying to invoke the feeling of another time with these photos?
I think that is a subconscious goal. I have an aversion to taking photographs with new cars in them. I like things to be timeless. I think that is a strength.

So is that what you want people to take away when they see these?
I don’t care too much but I definitely have a focus. When I am trying to capture an image, I want there to be an element of narrative. That is a hallmark of great photography. All photographers that I admire have really strong narratives.

What story would you like to tell next? Not New York because I just did that. I have been shooting the same two bodies of work for my entire career. But lately I have been doing something a bit different with a medium format camera that is all square format, very still reposed images.

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