Sean Hemmerle is a New York based photographer whose work ranges from international conflict zones to deserted industrial towns in the United States. His conflict images span over 10 years, beginning with the World Trade Center collapse, and continuing with sites such as Kabul, Baghdad, Gaza, Juarez and Beirut.
Closer to home, Hemmerle has created award-winning photographs that reflect the pathos and poetry of U.S. Rust Belt areas in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Gary, and Albany. He collaborated with the Columbia Journalism Review while working on the “Media Nodes” project, where newsrooms across the country were photographed as production facilities. In addition to thematically driven subjects, Hemmerle is drawn to architecture as a formal and symbolic element in much of his work. This has led to numerous commercial collaborations with international architecture and design firms.
Since receiving his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, Hemmerle has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work can be found in public and private collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center for Photography, Martin Margulies and Brooks Brothers.
His images have been featured in major publications, including Metropolis, Time and The New York Times Magazine.
Since becoming a father, my motivation to do most things revolves around my family. I am much more conscious about making the world a better place for the next generation than ever before. If my work survives in the future, it will be the result of the work being useful and necessary. Art changes the world. We are all contributors. We are all affected. I am more conscious and respectful of creativity than ever before.
My first camera was purchased with my Army enlistment bonus. I didn't actually consider myself a photographer until after I had spent some time in a darkroom.
Photography is unique in that it is both a record of history, and that it is a manipulation of light with time.
While asking him questions about his photography, I brought up Chernobyl and asked him if he would ever go there to take photographs.
He sat down, turned on his computer and typed "Robert Polidori, Chernobyl". He said that he wouldn't go just because nobody can do it better then him.
I snapped the picture while he was looking at Robert's photographs with a smile of respect on his face.