Interview #8 - Seanloui Dumas
Seanloui Dumas is a photographer from Los Angeles, USA. I've found his work by accident on Instagram - you know, when someone 'likes' your post and the curiosity leads you to check their profile. Let's just say, I constantly check out his work. I wanted to set a time to have a conversation on Skype, but I understand he's a guy who's always moving and travelling all the time.
From the responses he gave from the list of questions I sent to him, he has a higher purpose than just shooting beautiful subjects. He's also cool enough to send 20 photos for the site!
Let’s start by introducing yourself?
I'm Seanloui (first name, cool huh?) and my birthday is on November 13th. I enjoy wine and France!
What’s happening lately?
Life in general - I'm at a weird point where I'm still in my twenties and just finished everything on my to-do list in this life. so I'm in limbo! All the while, this photography thing is taking off.
What draws you into photography?
My ability to be able to transfer my feelings in an artistic way. It's the cheapest and most effective kind of therapy for me at the moment.
What attracts you into shooting portraits?
I love the human interaction between the model and the camera guy. It's as though they are in a weird end of a relationship - only being able to court each other in a 1-hour marriage. The end results? Hopefully, a photo capturing this awkward chaos. It's not logical to think two people who don't know each other can share emotions and hidden feelings for a short time and make something timeless.
What was your first shoot like?
Oh, man! I just broke up with my ex-girlfriend after coming off from a tour (I'm a musician by trade) and was afraid to drink my sorrows away. Luckily, my friend came over and I used a camera. I had to take this photo. I had no idea what I was doing! I sat her on a random chair in the middle of the street and snapped like 90 photos. I only kept three! But, people liked it and wanted me to take their pictures. A year and a half later, here I am!
How does the environment influence the way you shoot?
It really doesn't, to be honest. I travel so much now that I have to rely on spiritual and musical things for inspiration. It's weird, I know
What is the photography scene like over there? Is it welcoming, competitive or intimidating?
I'm kind of an outsider when it comes to the photography community. I don't consider myself a photographer - just a musician that stumbled upon it. But I would say there's a false sense of community. There is a class system that Instagram has only fuelled, where likes and followers are the currency. Many of us are poor in this sense. A lot of us like this form of poverty and glorify it. This too is a bad thing.
How do you prepare before doing a shoot?
Drake. Pure and simple .
Do you have specifics for models or subjects?
I actually like shooting as natural as possible. So I allow models to have their hair wild and makeup to a minimum .
Go through the process of doing the actual shoot
I talk a lot! My shoots are only about a hour or so and I talk to the model more than half the time. I like to know people before I work with them. Plus, I love hearing their life stories.
Any works of other photographers that you follow?
I follow a ton of European and South American photographers. I feel they are up to something .
Do gears or camera apps matter to you in creating images?
Uhm, yes ? But not really. I've created some amazing things with some awful apps or lenses!
Are you earning enough as a photographer?
Yes and no. Can I still eat and pay rent? Yes. Can I go on a trip back to England? Probably not. I'm a marketing consultant for some startups in the Bay Area so that helps!
How much you think people will value your work?
I don't know! I've been thinking about that a lot. Probably not a lot to be honest. But I try not to pay attention to what people think. Compliments make me feel full and satisfied as though I've "made it" and this only hinders growth.
Do you still enjoy shooting like before?
Yes. I work with a stellar team in LA and one in NYC. I love the people I've been meeting.
How do you deal with the attention you get as a photographer?
I don't think I get a lot of attention. Sometimes, maybe. I've had some weird things happening to me in the last 3 months. But I think it has to do with the fact I hang out with other musicians with large followings and they tag me in photos (on Instagram). I had one guy (I think it was a guy) said that he would find me the next time I'll be in Malibu shooting - which puts me on notice. I try not to give too many details where I shoot now.
What do you want out of photography?
Freedom from religion and culture with the ultimate purpose of helping those in poverty.
Any good music you listen to? Books that you read and movies that you dig?
This is where I give shout outs right? My friends are in a band called Bears and Company. They have been pumping out some killer stuff as well as my friend, Ian and his band - Visitor Their music helps with my mood. I'm also a Lord of the Rings fanatic. I'm hoping to teach my future kids some elvish. As for books - the foreword for "A Clockwork Orange" is just inspiring. Read it!
If you’re not shooting, what do you do to wind down or relax?
Watch The West Wing. Hang with friends. Tour with bands and play shows. I'm finishing up my book at the moment called "Ghost People. It's about those in poverty and their hopes, dreams and ambitions. This alone gives me more purpose regarding photography than any magazine shoot can give me. It will be honest and beautiful - coming this winter.
Do you enjoy the process of shooting or just the end results?
I think both - the shooting part for the human contact. The end results because I then get to take that same interaction and hopefully make something beautiful out of it. I've failed more times than I succeeded in this.
Any last words?
"Woe be unto to us that don't use our fame and talents to help those in need "
Here are more photos from Seanloui. Thanks, buddy!