We wanted to make a few focus on photographers that are helping us at Landing. Sean Kerrick Sullivan is one of them. He's really talented and takes amazing photos. We wanted to know more about him so we decided to ask him a few questions!
Here is the interview.
Sean, pretty usual question but how did you get into photography? How did you start and when?
My mom worked for United Airlines basically from before i was born, till i was 21 years old. I was really fortunate to have parents who loved the outdoors and traveling, so as far back as i can remember it was always shredding, fishing, hiking, camping, diving, surfing, boats, airplanes, mountains, lakes, rivers, and islands. When i was a young buck i guess i just had polaroid cameras and disposables, but for some reason instead of buying candy and baseball cards, i spent my first two paychecks on a SLR at age 13. I guess that i just knew I was lucky to travel so much, and I wanted to share all the stuff I did with my friends who werent there. I just snapped casually while traveling, skating, surfing and snowboarding as much as possible, and by senior year of highschool i had cut so many classes to go shred and surf and skate with the boys that the school put my photo in with the juniors. I busted my ass all senior year, still got to shred a ton, and enrolled in some photography classes at the local community college to make up credit. I enjoyed everything about it, but still always saw myself becoming a pilot or lawyer or something. After highschool in Cali I went to Colorado Moutnain College in Steamboat Springs, shot a few photos, and just focused on snowboarding all winter. That first year I blew out my knee, and me and the film camera hung out alot more. 9 months later I blew my knee out again during an urban session in Boulder, and right after the sugery I came up on a DSLR. I think digital is better than film in many ways, at least for budding photographers with an understanding of film. With a DSLR you get all your film and "development" expense taken out of the equation and you can just shoot a ton. Which is exactly what I did. I’m not sure what the ratio is, but I think for every photo I like, I take about 200 that I dont. Its getting better though. I just try to stay strapped and shoot as much as possible.
John Jackson fishin time.
Any people influenced you in your work?
Every person I shoot with. Everybody is different, and they all have good ideas that come out way better or work well with what im trying to do. As far as artists go..theres so many. Ansel Adams forsure, that man killed it. His knowledge of film went deep, and he loved nature, and his game was just immaculate. Tons of patience, always bringing home bangers. Ian Ruther - amazing, just blows me away. Andy Wright's images almost always stop me in my tracks. He's like a National Geographic photog working in snowboarding. Everything with his photos seems to be precise, technically perfect, well lit; like the Michael Phelps of snowboard photography or something. Bob Plumb is the man too, he puts in so much work, and never will you see anybody more pumped than Bob. He's shot a ton of skateboarding, and he's taken that to snow and has been destroying it ever since. Girls too, weather they are breaking my heart of making me feel like the motherf*$king champ, there always seems to be a lil bit of them in some of my photos.
What was your memorable day when you were out there shooting?
Every day. I try to surround myself with good people so whenever im shooting its usually a good time. One of my most memorable snowboard shoots was one years in the making. Erik Van Assche and I had been scoping this Colorado ranch house to jump over, and the first year nobody was ready to step to. The next year there was never enough snow, the year after that travel kept us from hitting it. The fourth year everything lined up, the snow was deep, and I made a major late night mission from SLC to Colorado, leaving at 11pm about 15 min after getting the call. We build the spot, and waited for the weather to break for three days. After three days of waiting and planning trick selection, the sun came out and on the first hit I shot my first cover. On the second hit I shot horizontally and that photo ended up winning the University of Utah Student Art Show.
Another good one was this last spring. A feature I built with Stevie Bell, Louie Vito, MFM, and Kareem El Rafie, took a few days to build and the evening it was finished. They hit it a few times and we decided to wait for morning light to shoot it. The next morning we rolled up there, perfect weather, got the shot, drove home, took a super fast shower, and then graduated from college. Skated straight home from the ceremony and cracked a keg of Blue Moon with all my friends. Gotta love SLC...........
Where is the most extraordinary place you had the chance to go and shot some photos?
The slot canyons of Southern Utah are super high on my list right now......mindblowing is the only word. I want to go back. Chile is sick, Australia is on point, Ireland has great atmosphere, photos from there always turn out sick. I cant even pick a favorite......Montana is pretty extraordinary.
You are taking a lot of snowboard photos. Who are the riders you’re working with and which mags already published your work?
My go to guy has always been Eric Van Assche. The kid destroys everything he touches, rides strictly for fun, and is hands down better than half of the established pros in the snowboard community. He and I dont shoot as much as we used to though, i think he is a little scared of the Mormons in Utah. I worked with the F.O.D.T / MFM Inc crew this past winter as they filmed HARD TO EARN and that was crazy, all those guys are pushing snowboarding so hard right now..........Dylan Thompson, Jonah Owen, MFM, Derek Dennison, WORM, Johnny Paxon, the birdman Cory Cronk, Yan Dofin, Vito, Stevie Bell etc....that crew has deep talent, and a Texan named Matt who is hands down one of the funniest guys Ive ever met. I try to get out and shoot with Cameron Pierce as much as possible but our schedules didnt line up too much last winter. Marius Otterstad is another favorite, although im not sure if he and I have partied more or snowboarded more, its prolly 50/50 with that dude. I also like to shoot with this ski crew im friends with in Salt Lake, 4bi9. They keep it really, really, real, and are definately the most talented ski crew in the country. Ive had stuff up on TWS's website and SnowboarderMag.com, and Im working with Huggy @ Snowboarder on a few shots so you should see some of my stuff in there later this winter. The guys from Snowboard Canada are rad, and there should be a few more shots running up there. Allus (RIP) and Arkade are both smaller mags that have been good to me as well.
Cole Taylor & Matt Luke FODT/HARD 2EARN
Erik Van Assche
Sean Himself on the box!
Any shoot out?
My family. My brothers. All the 970 kids...you know who you are. The boys up in North Lake Tahoe, always holding it down. Everyone in SLC who rides at Brighton, Snowbird, and the Canyons. My X girlfriend who literally saved my life and nursed me back to health. My fishing and camping crews, all gangsters. All the doctors who have put my broken body back together at one time or another. Dave Brewer, Ian Matteson, Chris Swainston, Ian Ramsrud.....all these guys are coming up in the photo game in SLC. Snowboarder Magazine. Jonah Owen. The stoopid crew. Cole Taylor. Dylan Thompson. Erik Van Assche, IZZY. OG$. COLORADO, CALI, UTAH.........I am nothing without the WEST!
To see more about Sean's work, go to his website seansullivan.com and check out his blog tanhands.blogspot.com