I’m SO excited today to launch a very special exhibition, with a long time friend and collaborator whose work I have admired for so long.
Though he does’t shoot for us as much these days, Sean Fennessy was the first professional photographer we ever commissioned for The Design Files. He and I worked together for around 5 years, shooting homes, interiors, food and architecture… we flew all over the country capturing some of The Design Files earliest stories. There’s no doubt Sean’s crisp, intuitive photographic style was pivotal in the early development of The Design Files’ editorial ‘look’.
In recent years, I’ve often found myself in awe of Sean’s impressive career trajectory – and the enviable locations he finds himself in, from private islands in Fiji, to a breathtaking marble quarry in Italy, and everywhere in-between! Over the past ten years, his distinctive photographic style has been sought after by clients including QANTAS, British Airways, Monocle, Travel + Leisure, The National Gallery of Victoria, Vogue Living, Winkreative and many more.
Time & Space is a diverse survey of work from Sean’s extensive travel archive, re-contextualised as a single body of work.
This incredible show demonstrates Sean’s unique sense of observation, presenting vibrant landscapes alongside small details and quirky observations. The photographs are drawn from a decade of personal projects and assignment work, and it’s the first time they’ve been made available to purchase commercially as a body of work. Each work is released in an edition of 20, and is available in 3 different sizes, expertly printed and framed locally by the brilliant team at Format Framing.
Below we share a brief Q&A with the man himself…!
Did you always intend to become a travel photographer? What drew you to this career path?
I didn’t intend to become a travel photographer as such (and to be honest it’s only a small percentage of my overall practice) but in hindsight it was a logical extension of my early career as a newspaper photographer, a job all about being able to quickly adapt to a location, find the best shots and get it all done with minimal gear and tight deadlines. It was also in line with my personal projects, which are always shot as a series as opposed to one-off images. Narrative is more important to me than ‘nailing’ any particular shot.
What is a common misconception about travel photography?
That it’s a constant holiday! I have been fortunate to see some amazing places but it’s not all cocktails and palm trees. The more exotic the location, the more pressure there is to get good shots. No one seems to believe me, but there is a constant sense of pressure on travel assignments.
What’s one of the most memorable places you’ve been on assignment?
Being sent to Madagascar was pretty overwhelming in itself, but then to get an email from my editor warning me about an outbreak of The Plague (yep!) certainly took things up a notch. Before leaving, I had to ask my doctor for some specific antibiotics which she had never prescribed before. I was hyper aware of every sniff and cough I had while on the ground but I think I got out unscathed.
How did you go about filtering through your huge archive to distill down to 23 works for this show? What was the selection process?
Mostly I wanted there to be a cohesion in style and tone. The locations and subjects are very broad so I worked hard to choose a selection that has a visual harmony.
How would you describe your approach or unique style of photography?
I always try to look for the small moments, avoid obvious tourist attractions and remember to shoot the journey as well as the destination. Based on this approach, Launceston should be just as visually interesting as Los Angeles (both of which feature in the exhibition!) Just because something is new or exotic to the photographer, doesn’t mean that it will be to the viewer.
I also enjoy the challenge of shooting with available light, and building a series out of a combination of landscapes, details and the occasional portrait.
What’s next for Sean Fennessy?
I’m actually planning on staying closer to home next year. Our first child is due in a few weeks so I definitely want to be home for that!
I’m also excited to be working on a self-published book. The photos have been taken, it’s just a matter of finishing off the design and getting it printed.
Please join us, and Sean, for the opening of Time & Space next Saturday, October 20th!
All the works in this show are now pictured on the TDF Collect website, and are available to purchase via email from today – enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time & Space by Sean Fennessy.
October 20th – 25th
14 Little Oxford Street
Saturday 20th, 10:00am – 5:00pm, with opening drinks from 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday 21st, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Monday 22nd, CLOSED
Tuesday 23rd, 10:00 – 4:00pm
Wednesday 24th, 10:00 – 4:00pm
Thursday 25th, 10:00 – 4:00pm
This exhibition is generously supported by Format Framing, Dulux, Magnum and Queens Wine, and CAPI.