Info
Seb Agnew is an award-winning photo artist based in Hamburg, Germany. Within staged images, he creates hyperrealistic sceneries which explore the human psyche and our modern society. Here you can find more information about Seb's images and how he creates them.
Seb Agnew, staged photography, narrative photography, conceptual photography, cinematic, hyperrealistic, surreal, mysterious, magical realism, photo artist, photographer, Hamburg, award-winning, fine art, photo art, miniatures, post production, set design, compositing, prints, large-format prints
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Artist Statement

Seb Agnew: Portrait
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
(William Shakespeare)

Within staged images, I create hyperrealistic sceneries which explore the human psyche and our modern society. Set design, lighting and composition play a major role in my photographic work. I love cinematic and mysterious settings as well as moments of disorientation and lonesome reflection. Every person is a microcosm, and every microcosm has a story to tell.

 

During my studies of “Audiovisual Media” (B.Eng.) in Stuttgart, Germany, I specialised in photography and post production to lay the foundations of my future work. In order to pass on my skills professionally, I later studied “Vocational Education” (M.Ed., B.Sc.) at the university of Hamburg, Germany.

 

Today, I am excited to be able to work independently as a photo artist and to teach aspiring photographers at the “Vocational School for Media and Communication” in Hamburg, Germany.

How I Work

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Concept

Initial Idea and Planning

Every photo I create starts with an initial idea. I take my time to thoroughly plan a whole series of pictures which share the same concept but are individual motives at the same time. After intensive brainstorming and note-taking, I usually spend a couple of weeks planning each photo shoot. This involves the location, set design, lighting, props, models and technical aspects which need to be considered.

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Set Design

Set Design

Set design is the basis of my work. Depending on the image, this can be as simple as redecorating an existing location, but it can also mean transforming a room into a completely new scenery. Some ideas require locations that either don't exist or would be too difficult, time-consuming or expensive to construct as life-size sets. In this case, I make use of miniature sets which I completely design and build by myself.

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Miniatures

Miniatures

Miniature sets allow me to realise my visions without any contraints. Rooms can be exactly as I imagine them to be – including furniture and props. Integrating “real” people into my miniature sceneries requires careful planning ahead – I am always striving for perfection in matching perspective, lighting and atmosphere.

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Props

Props

Similar to film sets, my photos make use of selected props which add to the mood and meaning of the situation. I enjoy covering ordinary rooms in ordinary objects, creating hyperrealistic sceneries which reflect a person's psyche. This can, sometimes, lead to inflating hundreds of balloons or labelling thousands of sticky notes. For some people this might seem crazy, I consider it relaxing. 😉

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Lighting

Lighting

I deeply believe in the power of lighting when it comes to telling a story and creating atmosphere. My images are typically lit by five to ten strobes. Since normal rooms are often restricted in size, I mostly work with speedlights which can easily be modified to my needs. When working with miniatures, I make sure to have the same look and feel as my “normal-sized” photo sets. For this, I work with equally small, custom-built light sources.

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Lighting

Shooting

Shooting life-size sets is rather a quick step in my workflow – compared to all the preplanning and lighting that goes into each picture. When shooting miniatures, this is, of course, a bit different since the model needs to be captured separately. Matching perspective and lighting realistically means that the light sources and colours from the miniature set have to be recreated in the studio. For the best results, some parts of the miniature sets are rebuilt in life-size scale.

In order to capture the fine details of my sceneries, but also to be flexible when shooting on location, I currently work with a Canon 5DSR body and typically a Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2,8L II USM lens. The 50 Megapixels of the 5DSR also ensure beautiful large-format fine art prints.

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Post Production

Post Production

My goal is always to capture as much as possible in camera, instead of relying too much on post processing (even though my “earlier works” might suggest something different). Still, post production is an indispensable step when finishing my images. Apart from precise colour corrections and selective adjustments, I often create invisible photo composites with the help of Adobe Photoshop.

Seb Agnew: How I Work – Fine Art Prints

Fine Art Prints

Nothing is more impressive than a carefully crafted fine art print. Since my images contain lots of details, they are not meant to be viewed solely on screens. It is a totally different experience to see my photographs printed, especially in large format on beautiful cotton paper. For more information, make sure to visit my “Prints”-section.

Awards

2019

  • One Eyeland World’s Top 10 Fine Art Photographers: Finalist (Category “Conceptual”)

2018

  • Trierenberg Super Circuit: Gold (Category “Gamble-Win-Luck”)
  • One Eyeland Awards: Bronze (Category “Fine Art”)
  • Chromatic Photo Awards: 3rd Place (Category “Conceptual”)
  • International Photography Awards: Honorable Mention (Category “Fine Art”)
  • ND Awards: Honorable Mention (Category “Fine Art: Conceptual”)
  • Chromatic Photo Awards: Honorable Mention (Category “Conceptual”)
  • Fine Art Photo Awards: Nominee (Category “Conceptual – Professionals”)

2017

  • Trierenberg Super Circuit: Gold (Category “Converting Ideas”)
  • Trierenberg Super Circuit: Gold (Category “Doors to the World”)
  • Chromatic Photo Awards: 1st Place (Category “Conceptual”)
  • Moscow International Foto Awards: Bronze (Category “Personal”)
  • TeraBella Media Award: 2nd Place (Category “The Open Portfolio”)
  • ND Awards: Honorable Mention (Category “Fine Art: Conceptual”)
  • Chromatic Photo Awards: Honorable Mention (Category “Conceptual”)
  • Tokyo International Foto Awards: Honorable Mention (Category “Fine Art”)
  • London International Creative Competition: Honorable Mention
  • Fine Art Photo Awards: Nominee (Category “Conceptual – Professionals”)
  • Shoot & Share Photo Contest: Finalist (Category “Personal”)

2014

  • Trierenberg Super Circuit: Silver (Category “Experimental Photography”)
  • Trierenberg Super Circuit: Bronze (Category “Experimental Photography”)
  • Docma Award: 4th (Category “Master”)
  • CGI at Photokina Award: Nominated (Category “Professionals”)

2013

  • International Photography Awards: Honorable Mention (Category “Fashion” & “Digitally Enhanced”)

Publications

2019

  • Chromatic Awards Annual Book 2018

2018

  • Trierenberg Special Themes Circuit 2018
  • Trierenberg Super Circuit 2018 – Luxury Edition
  • Chromatic Awards Annual Book 2017

2017

  • Trierenberg Special Themes Circuit 2017
  • Trierenberg Super Circuit 2017 – Luxury Edition

2014

  • Docma, issue No 60
  • Trierenberg Special Themes Circuit 2014
  • Trierenberg Super Circuit 2014 – Luxury Edition

Exhibitions

2017

  • Hartlauer Foto-Galerie (Linz, 06/10 – 26/11)

2014

  • Photokina (Cologne, 16/09 – 21/09)
  • Museum of Communication (Frankfurt, 24/07 – 27/08)
  • fotolia LAB (Berlin, 26/09 – 28/11)
  • Pirmasenser Fototage (Pirmasens, 25/10)