Seth has been a landscape photographer since 2007, when he first asked a friend if he could try out their camera. He took to it quickly, and was shooting professionally within months. His passion has always been nature, driven by the love of adventure and finding beauty in landscape. Alongside this, he was also trained in sculpture. His interest in landscapes developed independently for years before they finally merged in his constructed landscapes.
Working on his BFA, he primarily focused on sculpture, and wasn't until grad school that he started to apply a further conceptual element to his photographs. He started combining his skillsets, building ephemeral landscapes within nature and photographing them under the natural sky. This process has led to his series' Wasteland (2014 - ) and Terra Nullius (2017 - )
Both series are meant to depict new material worlds, driven by their subject matter. Wasteland evolved during his late 20's, where he worked as a machinist before going to grad school. Having limited outlets for his creative drive, he started taking pictures with his cell phone around the shop. He found himself obsessed with the waste materials, both taken by it's aesthetic and horrified by how much gets thrown into landfills. He started imagining a world completely overtaken with this stuff. Beautiful but barren. A literal wasteland.
Terra Nullius started to develop in 2016, shortly after finding out that he was to become a father. The cynical world portrayed in Wasteland was not the world he wanted for the future, so his thoughts changed from creating a warning, to creating a hopeful world of comfort. While reading on child development, he came across an article on Donald Winnicott's "Transitional Object", or comfort object, which is an item used to provide psychological comfort, especially in unusual or unique situations. This often comes in the form of a blanket. He wrote of the anxiety faced be children needing deal with separation anxiety from their mother, who to him, was their entire world. This was a universal symbol, that he felt could create a sense of unity in a time where everything seemed to be polarized. A reversal of time before motivations could become political or financial, but a time of innocence. This was a world that everyone could relate to and hopefully feel safe in.
Seth currently teaches photography at William Paterson University.
Photo: Kate Ferraro Photography