Art

Moody Mundy

In a sea of artistic self-portraiture that seems to be the trend now among young women, 23 year old Canadian Sean Mundy stands out as a male voice who tries to make his moody, scary, dark pictures more about the idea than the subject.

Interview by Lora Wiley - lora@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Sean Mundy

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Citizen Brooklyn: Do you see yourself differently after a shooting a certain amount of self-portraits?
Not really, I used myself as something to practice on more than anything, to better understand how to use my equipment, lighting and direction in general. Directing people is obviously different than using myself as the model in a photo since I have to explain what I am looking for in people, but it’s a nice change of pace. I don’t see myself shooting self-portraits in the future very much, but when I do odds are you won’t be able to tell it’s me. Those are my favorite kinds of self-portraits to do!

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CBK: Many of your models are blindfolded in some way (or heads are hidden or cut off). What are you trying to say?
I like ambiguity and anonymity in photos. I find it important to convey something in a photograph without showing someone’s face or emotion. It also forces me at the same time to create a scene that is intriguing enough that human emotion is not needed to further the “concept” or idea, it all boils down to if the idea or execution of the idea is good, not the model.

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CBK: How would you describe your style?
I would say my style is somewhat dark, and probably will always be. I’m drawn more to dark imagery rather than happy or uplifting things in photography or art, and always have been since I can remember. I try to involve clever or bizarre elements in my work, while keeping the image not too over the top. Also, my images are more on the conceptual/narrative side than any other style of photography.

Photo © Sean Mundy

Photo © Sean Mundy

CBK: You haven’t been shooting that long. How did your interest in photography develop?
I received a small digital Polaroid camera as a present from my parents when I was younger and it pretty much took off from there. I had seen a lot of different kinds of photography online and while I was shooting photos primarily to document moments in time, I slowly started shooting ideas that I had, and that has led me to where I am today where ironically, I rarely shoot photos to document moments, and shoot almost exclusively ideas/concepts.

Sigil Photo © Sean Mundy

Sigil Photo © Sean Mundy

CBK: At age twenty-two now, where do you see yourself as a photographer in five years from now? Ten?
Ideally, I’d like to continue to create work at a somewhat consistent rate, while possibly having some kind of representation by an agency or gallery of some kind. I have a lot of ideas to shoot and I just really want to build a large body of work that I’m proud of. If I can sell prints along the way and make a name for myself in the photography world in any form along the way, then I would consider myself very lucky.

Untitled suit & rope Photo © Sean Mundy

Untitled suit & rope Photo © Sean Mundy

CBK: A lot of your friends show up in your photos as models. How’s that going?
It works out pretty well, considering most of my ideas don’t require models with prior experience. I do plan on working with “real” models in the future, friends are just much easier to get a hold of and it’s usually pretty fun to get friends together to shoot a photo.

WOWC Photo © Sean Mundy

WOWC Photo © Sean Mundy

CBK: For one photo, you had a friend paint your body black (with non toxic paint). Is that the craziest preparation you have ever done to pull off a photo? What is?
I wouldn’t say it’s the craziest, but it’s up there. I’ve put together a small set to set a painting on fire to give the impression that the photo was taken indoors. That was pretty interesting. I plan on doing some things with fire and water in the future that are pretty crazy in comparison, so those will probably be the craziest things I’ve done once I do them!

Untitled forest Photo © Sean Mundy

Untitled forest Photo © Sean Mundy

CBK: There a some very talented young self portraitists out there now on social media. It seems most are female. Why do you think that is?
It’s very easy to look/appreciate photos of pretty girls, really. The majority of self-portrait artists that are popular are pretty/handsome, or at the very least good looking, and almost always include their faces in their photos. I don’t doubt that most of them don’t go out of their way to do this for more possible success or attention, but this is one of the reasons why I attempt to not make my photos about the people in them, and more about the idea.

Untitled bandage Photo © Sean Mundy

Untitled bandage Photo © Sean Mundy

CBK: For one of your most popular photos “Kings Upon the Main”, you created a YouTube video and showed how you edited the photo step by step. Are you every regretful you’ve “demystified” the process?
I wouldn’t say I regret doing things like that, but it is somewhat bittersweet. People can have a look into some of the things that I do for a photo, but at the same time, like you said, it takes away some of the “magic” from the process. I definitely won’t do things like that with photos I’m really proud of and would rather be more secretive about; I have limits in that sense as to what I’m willing to let people know about how I shoot some of my photos.

Untitled hanging Photo © Sean Mundy

Untitled hanging Photo © Sean Mundy

CBK: Tell us what’s exciting about “Hollow”, the new series you are shooting?
“Elude” is the first photo I shot for it. I’m excited to shoot some of the ideas because I have little to no idea how I will set the photos up/finish them, so it’s going to be a serious challenge for myself to finish the series before the winter. The photos will be somewhat of a social commentary from myself in a sense as well, some more obvious than others. I’ve gone out of my way to make the photos visually appealing and also have meaning behind them, so I’m just really excited to finish them and see what people think, and to move onto new work since I’ve had some of these ideas for months.

Cryogenics Photo © Sean Mundy

Cryogenics Photo © Sean Mundy

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