Last week, I visited New York City, my second trip of the year to the Big Apple solely to shoot—a self-guided, three-day street photography vacation essentially. Having connected with some of the members of NYCSPC during my trip in the spring, I joined them for their monthly meeting held in Manhattan.
There, shooters shared their latest work (via a projector onto the wall) for critique and conversation from the group, each receiving a maximum of 10 photos or 10 minutes for their session, whichever came first. The most concentrated room of street photography talent in which I’ve had the pleasure of being! And, as you can imagine with a group of that caliber, there was a correspondingly high-level discussion, one that specifically addressed the merits of the photos shared, as well as using them as a springboard toward more general topics of the genre.
So it comes as no surprise that at the meeting I discovered another street photographer to follow on Instagram, Sean Colello, who goes by @my_stage_name on the app. With the point of my ongoing series to highlight shooters sharing high-quality work with a relatively low-count following, Sean surely fits the bill: he currently has less than 800 followers, but is sharing 800-pound gorilla photos—ones which solicited perhaps the strongest reaction from the room in NYC.
According to his LensCulture profile, Sean lives in Queens and works in Manhattan, with a process that “consists of walking around, getting lost and learning what intrigues me everyday,” while attempting to pay attention to human behavior. And, apparently, capturing photos hasn’t been the only thing Sean’s been up to on the street … this guy can shred!
On his walks, what seems to intrigue Sean is discovering extraordinary situations in everyday scenarios, placing him squarely in what seems to be the “I can’t believe you saw that” zeitgeist of contemporary street photography and its most heralded practitioners. However, what sets Sean apart is not simply his adroit eye for noticing the remarkable, but his skill in composing these situations with clever juxtapositions that artfully reveal and heighten their absurdity.
A guy holding a snake on the street? A couple kissing against a storefront? Each potential photo opportunities, for sure. But a guy kissing a girl against a storefront window, a snake around his neck also seemingly craning for affection? Now that’s a Sean Colello photo. Likewise for an urban fire watched by a concerned passerby … whose t-shirt back happens to boldly proclaim “Safety First.” Laaawwwwdddddd.
Sean obviously has access to a parallel universe that’s wonderfully weirder, one through which his anthropological lens shows New Yorkers as stage actors in their own real-life tragicomedy. Microwave some popcorn, it’s well worth watching via his Instagram.
Photos courtesy of Sean Colello via his Instagram, all rights reserved by him.