INSPIRED BY THE CITY AROUND US, WE’RE ALWAYS ON THE HUNT FOR TALENTED PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO SEEM TO CAPTURE WHAT NEWCASTLE IS REALLY ABOUT. ONE YOUNG MAN DOING JUST THAT IS SEAN FOX, SOMETIMES KNOWN BY HIS INSTAGRAM HANDLE @A_TROTTING_FOX. HE IS DOING SOME INCREDIBLE WORK.
Interview with Sean Fox
By Kian West
I sat down with Sean one Sunday morning for a quick chat about his photography, collaborators, and what he wants to do with it all.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Well, I'm twenty years old and I've been taking photos for about five years now. I got my first DSLR on my seventeenth birthday. My parents were pretty much like, ‘Well, you need something and we've seen that you absolutely love landscapes and that kind of stuff.’ My friend, Bree, initially started taking photos and I absolutely loved it. I was taking some shots of the beach and whatnot and I was just like, ‘Oh, shit, the way that I can see this through the lens is incredible. I don't want to stop doing it.’
You’ve already been doing it for a fair while. Was there kind of a moment when you can recall first getting into photography?
Hmm, not as such. There wasn't really a particular moment. I don't know. This time last year, I went to Tasmania and I think that was the real turning point that made me want to pursue a career or some form of lifestyle within photography.
I went over there and just the landscape, the way that I saw it, it was incredible. I had not seen anything like Tasmania and I absolutely loved it. Just being able to run around and take photos of whatever I wanted and have that memory thereof being able to capture it and then share it when I see the photos again, and just to be able to explain exactly how I felt when I was at Cradle Mountain or something like that.
Yeah, I think that experience really did shine a light on it for me, because I'd always wanted to do some form of travel photography or something like that and I really wanted to incorporate it into it. Being able to do that and being able to freelance myself on taking photos of whatever I wanted – I just loved it.
Are you purely landscape/outdoor photography?
I don't know. I mean, what I passionately love is landscapes and nature and that kind of stuff. Anything that can encapsulate the beauty of – even sunrise, sunset, anything like that. I really do like those golden hours, in particular sunset, because you can start to understand how the sunset is going to pan out if you understand what happens throughout the day.
If I compensate for that and then take a photo according to how the clouds are going to end up… That's what I've been incorporating into my photos more recently, letting the landscape, I guess, kind of tell me what the photos are going to be like. And then let the clouds be how they are and choose the subject around that, as opposed to just being out there and going, ‘Oh, I'm going to take a photo of this.’
There's so many different things that I enjoy taking photos of, especially around Newcastle. And specific scenes – if there's a particular sunset coming up and I can coordinate what it's going to be like, then I'll go and take that shot particularly for that day because of the sunset or because of the cloud formation.
And do you think that's part of what you do differently to a lot of photographers in the same space – read what's happening rather than project what you want to do?
Yeah, I guess so. I haven't really thought about that, but I guess not many other people would have that understanding of it because I have done it for so long. I don't even think about it. It's just my mindset, thinking of what's next.
What's in the pipeline for you at the moment?
Well, at the moment I'm studying a Diploma of Photography at TAFE, so I'm getting a qualification. I've always been actually really against studying photography because I'd always been like, ‘Nah, you can't teach someone how to take a pretty photo.’ I was just like, ‘I'm going to do what I'm going to do. You can't teach me how to do that.’
But once I started, I absolutely loved it. I absolutely loved every kind of aspect of photography. Even if it is commercial or different lighting settings or anything like that, the way you can create a scene specifically for a shot – it's incredible.
I'd love to end up doing some form of travel photography but, at the moment, I'm trying to just promote myself as a photographer. If there's a challenge – I take everything as a challenge, pretty much – and I’m behind the lens, I feel like I can comfortably take decent photos of whatever the challenge is. It's just having that challenge there and then being able to pursue it.
I'd love to do some form of real estate photography. Probably next year or something. And I think mainly I'd like to do that to try to incorporate the whole sunset aspect in, so I could try to just really get the most out of a photo.
What do you do when you're not shooting?
I haven't been doing much other than photography for the past four years!
If you're not studying, photographing or shooting or anything...
I'm thinking of ideas. I mean, I'm always skating around, walking around town, shooting hoops, doing something. I'm always around and about, I guess actively watching – watching the scenes and seeing how they are.
Even throughout the day, I'll go and shoot a shot that I want to get through at sunset. I'll go and scope out a place and get a shot that I want to be perfect with the right clouds except I'll just go there so I can have that image in my head and know what it is. So, I spend a lot of time running around for locations and just doing stuff like that to be honest. It's a bit stupid.
No, no, definitely not. I like the process. Do you listen to music?
Oh yeah. I listen to a lot of music, a lot of music. I guess inspirationally music-wise, I haven't had any in particular… But I really do love progressive kind of metal or anything to do with that.
Favourite bands would probably be Make Them Suffer, In God's Wake, Parkway Drive, Amity Affliction, those kinds of things. It's that classic kind of scene. I guess I can emotively relate to it and I guess it comes into that aspect of just finding another release of emotion.
Music really can be a lot of that. I'll just sit and listen to music for hours while I'm editing and it will give me that boost to know what I want to do.
Are you listening to music when you take a shot?
Not too often, to be honest. I mean, I've tried it a couple of times and I thought, ‘Yeah, I'll give it a go and see if it complements the photos,’ but I've honestly found it more so takes away from the experience, because I'll be there and I'll just be more focussed on the music or the beat. I won't be within the moment fully and just taking in what is around me. It takes away from the experience a little bit.
Where in Newcastle do you go the most often?
Most often? I don't know. Probably it would have to be one of the baths, either Merewether Baths or Newcastle Baths. Throughout summer, I'll just be going for swims constantly.
What do you want Novocastrians to know about you?
To know about me? You're making my life hard! I don't know.
Look, I've got to throw a few spanners at you. Got to make you work for it.
I don't know. I take pretty photos – often. I'm always looking for collaborators.
What sort of collaborators should be hitting you up?
Oh, anything. Anyone who wants any photos taken of anything, pretty much.
It's pretty broad.
I mean, the challenge is whatever someone throws at me, you know? If someone's keen to work with me and the way that I see things, and someone wants to collaborate with that idea, then I'm absolutely happy to just get in contact with them – talk to them, talk about some ideas, whatever it is.
Slightly shy but with an incredible eye for a photo. Look up @A_Trotting_Fox on Instagram and get a copy of our 2018 calendar to secure a few photos of Sean’s that are bound to inspire your year. Available via our website shop while stocks last.
You can get a copy of our 2018 Calendar, featuring Sean's work as well as 3 other amazing local photographers, while stocks last in our Online Store HERE Supporting us to support Newcastle.