JONATHAN CHERRY: What got you started with photography?
SEAN MARC LEE: I technically started in high school with my father’s old Minolta with a broken light meter, but all my photos were garbage. I picked it up again in college intermediately while studying film, again it was still garbage. After graduating, I found the very camera I started with in high school tucked away in my closet and gave it a go again and eventually replacing it. As for the photos being garbage from then on, well…
JC: Any emerging artists inspiring you at the moment?
SML: To be honest, it’s kind of a tough one. I’m more inspired now by stuff going on in my daily life and things I see. I did recently discovered Ed Panar’s old project from 2007 called “Golden Palm” which he shot Los Angeles with a compact camera, and it’s a very Mundane kind of desaturated William Eggleston look at Los Angeles. Since I lived in Los Angeles for 7 years, it’s interesting for me to see very non-Los Angeles looking pictures because that was my goal when I lived there. I also like seeing what a lot of my artist friends are doing just out of sheer productivity and their own personal creavitity.
JC: Whats your current project all about?
SML: I just wrapped my first year living abroad in Taipei, Taiwan. I’m trying to gather all the stuff I shot in the last year for a sort of best of/outtakes into a zine/book. I’d like to say there is a theme or some grand ideal, but there isn’t. More like gestures and tiny moments. Each picture or sets of pictures as a different track on a soundtrack of a film or something. We’ll see how that works.
JC: Where are you currently living and how is it shaping you?
SML: I’ve been living in Taipei, Taiwan for the last year. Previously I was back in the San Francisco area for 6 months after living in Los Angeles for 7 years. It’s been a big change for me and I openly welcome it for the next year or more. I’ve had more professional opportunities here then I’ve ever had in Los Angeles, and in a way I can focus a bit more because it’s bit of a self isolation when you live half way around the world from your family and good friends.
JC: One piece of advice to recent photography graduates?
SML: Advice? Do everything you do with love. Love everything you hate because it will further push you to do all the things you love.
JC: Any big plans for 2012?
SML: The big thing for me which happened back in June was my first trip back out to the US in a year to see my family/friends. But first I’m stopped by Japan for a few days to say hello to some other friends!
JC: Favourite tree?
SML: California Redwood and giant Sequoia! I love the smell of them. I also headed to Yosemite National Park for my trip back. My family have been going for almost 20 years straight.