Photographer Spotlight: Seth Hancock
|Seth Hancock, Self portrait|
February 18, 2014 /Photography News/ TBM Photography Network is very pleased to announce its popular segment: "Photographer Spotlight.” In this part of their newsletter they will be interviewing various fellow photographers and learning more about what motivates them, what their goals are and what direction they wish to take with their art.
TBMPN is very pleased to announce this week's interview is with the very talented photographer Seth Hancock.
TBMPN: Was photography always your first choice as a profession?
S.H: Actually, photography was not my first choice. I took the advice of my parents and went to college to get another degree besides photography. After graduating I began working for the McCann-Erickson Advertising agency. I worked on accounts for Coca-Cola, Kmart, Sega and Buick. I then began working for the Doe-Anderson Advertising agency on the account for Valvoline. Soon after, Valvoline invited me to work for them. I became one of the youngest brand managers in their history. Though I was making “great” money, I wasn’t completely satisfied. I wanted something more. So, on February 9, 2004 I threw away every necktie I ever owned and walked away from a successful career to pursue my dream of being a photographer.
|Joey Z., by Seth Hancock|
(Click image to enlarge)
TBMPN: From where do you draw your inspiration for your works?
S.H: I admire the works of many of the current portrait photographers. Though I have a tremendous amount of respect for the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paul Strand and Edward Weston, I now receive inspiration from artists like Gregory Heisler, Brian Smith and Dan Winters.
The images created by both Brian Smith and Dan Winters make me smile. When I “grow up” I want to be just like them! (Not a bad thing to hear from a guy in his late 30’s, right?) Seriously, though, their work is amazing. I hope to be able to compete on the same level as Heisler, Smith and Winters someday very soon.
TBMPN: How would you classify or categorize your style?
S.H: There is no question that I am a “portrait photographer.” When I first started out I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I photographed everything from landscapes to seniors to boudoir scenes to families. As time passed and my skills progressed, I realized that more than anything else I am a portrait photographer. I enjoy getting to know people and capturing their images. It intrigues me, motivates me and inspires me.
|Christina, by Seth Hancock|
(Click image to enlarge)
TBMPN: “10 Minutes with a Stranger” is an amazing piece. From where did this idea arise?
S.H: Thank you so much for saying that. The idea came from my belief that everyone has a story, and we just don’t take the time to talk with one another anymore. I had always wanted to drive across America and do a project like this. When my wife and I decided to move to New York City from Los Angeles I knew that this was my opportunity. I wanted to see if I could travel across the States and meet as many people as possible and create something special. When I first started out on this journey I had no idea who I would meet or what would happen. I just knew I had to do my best and to not “suck” at what I was attempting. I only hoped that something great would come from this project.
TBMPN: Why 10 minutes? What is the significance with that particular amount of time?
S.H: The idea of “10 Minutes with a Stranger” is something that evolved over the course of 47 days on the road. Though I liked the idea of not giving myself any limitations while on this journey, I did find that ten minutes seemed to be the right amount of time that it took to get to know someone or to connect with them before I asked them their personal question. In all one hundred and fifty people were photographed, interviewed, and each one was asked a completely different question.
|Arlene, by Seth Hancock|
(Click image to enlarge)
TBMPN: Your video documentary, “Leftovers,” deals with the hunger issue in older Americans. How did you become interested in this problem?
S.H: That’s a really long story, but one I still find interesting. While working in the Midwest in television and commercial video production I came in contact with a couple of people who were heavily involved in the “Meals on Wheels” program in America. They were interested in making an authentic documentary and not a publicity piece. They wanted this film to be from the perspective of someone who never thought about or cared about the hunger in the senior citizens in America.
When I first started working on “Leftovers” I was thinking that this project was pointless and boring and not going to mean anything. After a couple of weeks of filming my attitude completely changed, and I started realizing that this documentary can really change the way we look at seniors and hunger. What prompted the change was when I said to myself, “If this can happen to these people then this can happen to me!” I then realized that we had a chance to make a great documentary and to show that what’s happening to our senior citizens can happen to any one of us in America.
TBMPN: What does the future hold for you? What other projects are on the horizon?
S.H: I am planning to do another version of “10 Minutes with a Stranger”. This time I would be going from New York City back to Los Angeles and taking the southern route. I truly believe this is such a great project and gets people talking with one another regardless of race, religion, political views, or orientations. It allows us to connect, once again, as human beings and I relish the idea of being able to do it again. I am excited about it because I can show people the previous series with the hopes they open up much easier than the people did the first time around. This project has so much potential, and I cannot wait until this spring to get back out on the road and work on part 2 of this great series!
We invite you to visit Mr. Hancock’s website for more on his story and to also visit the FaceBook page dedicated to “10 Minutes with a Stranger.”
Wish to be considered for the next Spotlight interview?
Please contact TBMPN's staff: firstname.lastname@example.org