"I have never been able to think about the individual separate from society. The individual is always living some larger narrative, whether he or she likes it or not."
Stuart Hall (interview, The Observer)
Biography: Sean Bulson is a London based photographer, with a background in sociology and political philosophy. Graduating with a Masters degree in Social & Political Thought from Warwick University, his latest work combines modernism with a documentary perspective. Sean learnt the art of photography from assisting and from taking a series of photographic courses - all passed with distinction - at Kensington & Chelsea College.
Sean's work has been published in the British Journal of Photography (Endframe portfolio), the journal of the RPS and The Observer (New Review). His work "Commuters" was exhibited at Galerie Huit's Open Salon in Arles, France and Penang, Malaysia. He has also exhibited at several college photography shows and other group exhibitions. His latest projects concern the impact of the financial crises, with 'Many in High Water' featured in the RPS and Analogue journals.
Statement: Sean uses varying degrees of abstraction to achieve a strong formal and graphic image. Responding to modernist photographers (Bernd & Hilla Becher, Lewis Baltz, Andreas Gursky) and artists (Piet Mondrian, Dan Flavin) his photography combines sociological references, with a coherent and often idealistic approach.
"I'm no more a classical documentarist than landscape or architectural photographer, but I'm fascinated by the structures that influence, and to varying degrees shape, human behaviour. Those that reject the importance of social and economic factors tend to emphasise the 'sovereignty of the individual': 'man' as a free agent, responsible for his own actions. This position ignores important determinants however, such as law, ethics, education, economy; and more transparently, the physical infrastructure that governs our movement, and the nature of the public spaces within which much interaction takes place."
The structuralist method that Sean adopts takes reciprocal relations as its object of investigation, rather than particular factors considered in isolation. His photography depicts (or at least reflects) these structures that, while they may not determine human behaviour, often provide the context within which it takes place.
"To focus only on the aesthetic can lead to an unreflective perspective (and a form of escapism via an idealised image). While there's a place for this, there's also a place for a more critical approach, connecting to philosophical ideas that add insight and understanding, taking you beyond aesthetics, and into the realm of meaning."
[Note: The statement includes quotes from an article in the RPS Journal.]