On Friday, January 27th, the Water Street Art Gallery in Batavia will open ILLUMINATE, a group show featuring artists who’ve incorporated light into their works. I’ll be showing seven of my Light Miners series, the largest showing since the entire series was presented in September 2008 in Chicago. I’m really excited to see the pieces […]
Dreamy, cinematic, fantastical, Sean Williams' photographs are imaginatively stylized scenes into worlds we seem to have just stumbled upon—worlds we recongize from fairytales and mythology. At once contemporary and yet of a different time, his imagery quotes tableau painting and staged photography of the late 19th-century—in vivid color. Williams is interested in the contemplative, slower moments when the uncanny flirts with reality. And he lights his people and places with an eye toward chiaroscuro—imagery rich in shadows that remind us of Caravaggio and Goya. His characters look up from their worlds as though suddenly aware of our gaze. And we see in.
For six years, Williams has been working in Chicago in a 3,000 square-foot studio that looks as much as workshop as photo studio. Previously a writer and teacher of writing, he was focused on narrative in language. At some point, the work of writing—always alone and isolation from the collaborative processes of colleagues in theater arts and design—became unsatisfying. In his words, "I'd rise in the morning, spend all day in my head, and go to sleep often having had zero contact with another human. It wasn't how I wanted to live. So moved into a shared office space where one of the principals of a design company noticed the photography I was making and gave me a shot at a small ad campaign for Wilson Sports. That and a relationship with Redmoon Theater got me intrigued with the idea of making art with others. Not knowing the canon, as it were, gave me a freedom to play again. As a writer I was creating with all these other writers in the room. As a photographer, it's just me again." From this experience Williams draws on his strength—his sense of narrative and storytelling, which is at the heart of branding. It's that world in which we can see ourselves, the place where desire is born. Mostly, the images he makes pull us in. They are fun and whimsical and compelling. That's the first step in effective branding : a desire to look deeper and ultimately see ourselves.
Category Archives: Personal