Upon meeting Sean, it’s very easy to get a sense of the amount of passion he has for skateboarding; not just through his documentation of skating, but even more so through his appreciation for all of the opportunities and benefits that skateboarding has provided for him as well as others. Although we’re both from Massachusetts, we only had a handful of mutual friends while living back east. I hadn’t met Sean until we were both living out in Los Angeles, when a friend had organized a session that included a bunch of people from back east. Since then, I have considered him as a genuine friend who gets me hyped to skate whenever I’m with him. On the days he has off from work, and even the days that he still has to work, Sean is down to go out and shoot. He’ll always want to try and make something happen. I think that’s why we got along so well within just a few days of skating and shooting with each other. I just admired his determination to keep excelling with whatever he chooses to do. Sean is just a solid dude, who works his ass off in order to be able to capture skateboarding at its finest moments, and I’m excited to see more of his work.—Nate Greenwood
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
Since my junior year in high school, late 2007. A few years before that, I’d always take out mama-duke’s hi-8 video camera, film all of my friends and just push around town. Maybe try to get a trick or two myself now and again. Those were the good ol’ days. My mom also had this Canon T2i that I started borrowing a lot eventually, shot a bunch of rolls of film on it with the friends and I just got hooked on shooting photos.
Where are you from and where are you living now?
I was born in Southern Colorado, and I moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts when I was eight, that’s when I started skating. I moved to Boston a little after high school and stayed there for a year which was lots of fun, I now reside in Los Angeles.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
Anthony Acosta’s work has always been a huge inspiration to me, Oliver Barton and Zander Taketomo as well. Zander’s photo of Ishod Wair switch flipping the Love gap got me really hyped. Almost everything emerging from the Northeast in general was inspiring, that’s where I lived and that’s what I looked at most of the time.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
I just forget about the bad advice, nothing specific really comes to mind. Good advice however? Shoot as much as you can!
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
That’s a tough one, I think I’d have to go with the photo of Tom Rohrer doing a back 180 fakie five-0 on a picnic table! Shooting guys doing the more mellow tricks, but so nicely like that is lots of fun. We shot that on the first day of the new year (2015). Aside from that however, he’s a huge inspiration to a lot of people and I feel pretty lucky to have ever crossed paths with him. He’s one of the funniest, most caring and open-minded guys that I, and many other people know. It rubs off on you, plus he’s always tons of fun to skate and shoot with, always down for anything, and that style of his is magical.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
I haven’t really had a lot of crazy stuff happen to us while out skating a spot besides the norm, but there is a black and white photo that I shot a long time ago of my friend Leland Taylor doing a slash grind in the deep end of the infamous C-Bowl in Cambridge, Mass. The sessions there are always good times, but the story behind why this legendary pool’s deep end got filled in is what’s most interesting. A body was found in one of the nearby public pools. Turns out that the body had been in the bottom of the twelve foot deep end for three days before anyone even noticed. Locals were basically going swimming with a dead body in the pool, which in turn lead to authorities demanding that those pools be filled in. The day we shot that was just a week or so before we saw a tractor in there waiting to fill it in. That pool has decades of skateboarding history lingering in there.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
Do your best at all times. One thing you will for sure regret is not trying harder, or being afraid to speak up and make something happen when you had the chance. If you have a vision, make it real.
How is shooting in LA different from anywhere else?
The people here are beyond motivated, focused and goal oriented, which in turn motivates you that much more. It’s super laid back, and it’s beautiful outside 99-percent of the time. Back in the Northeast, you’re competing with the weather a lot, even in the summer. Got a day off work? It might rain. Next day off? Rains again. You have to get lucky a lot it seems back home, I got over it.
Do you prefer digital or film?
It really depends, but for the most part I love seeing a good black and white photo shot on film. The anticipation of waiting to develop a roll with some goods is pretty cool as well when all you have to remember that moment is the snap shot in your mind of what you saw through the viewfinder when you hit the shutter.
What’s in your camera bag?
At the moment I have a little Olympus Stylus Epic, Nikon D300 with the grip, a 70-200, 17-50, 50mm 1.8, and fisheye lens. Two Alien Bee 800 flashes, three Vivitar 285HVs, a bunch of extra batteries, and various light stands and accessories that help tweak the finer details of your work flow. It’s always changing.
Your photography website if you have one: