Feature: Sen M. Floyd
Interview by Kevin Sun
Sen M. Floyd is a young artist, born in 1995. He has exhibited his art work in the Studio Museum of Harlem and The Jewish Museum at the age of fifteen. Currently, he is working on a series of musician's portraits.
You started photography at an early age, what inspired you when you first developed this interest?
S: I began working in galleries by default. I was exploring art, but I didn't have an interest in photography at all. It’s a really funny story, I actually got in trouble for doing some graphydium at my school. In order to stay in this school, I have to be in an art program, so I started to contribute all my energy and time into photography.
It seems like you got into photography by accident, but you love it now?
S: I really love photography. Photography is my passion, my hobby, my career. It’s a life-long hobby, it’s something I really love and enjoy doing.
You studied in Tisch Schools of the Arts, are there any interesting things you want to share?
S: I had my first fashion exhibit at Tisch Schools of the Arts. They picked one of my photographs. It’s kind of funny how they found me. I would never expected my work could be in the Jewish Museum. One of my professors submitted my work without me knowing it, and it’s now an official piece there.
I see your work “Faceless”, did you remove the face deliberately, or you just record as what it is?
S: I recorded it as what it is. I guess temper with my subject, or temper with whatever around photography, I take it as what it comes.
You did your work “Faceless” when you were nineteen years old. It’s awesome. What kind of emotion or context do you want to convey through faceless?
S: I want people to look at my work, take a second, to reflect to my art work, reflect on life. I want they to take what it is. I don’t want to give away what this art work means, I want to leave it open-ended. Whether it brings joys, or sadness, reminds them of a bad memory, or something they laugh at. I want my art work to speak to people’s emotions.
It seems that you prefer portraits, why do you have such preference?
S: I feel good when I catch people’s facial expression. Being behind the camera, it’s a responsibility, and a shield for me, because sometimes I’m shy. When I am behind the camera, photograph my subject, it gives me this light. I’m capturing the moment in time that probably would never come again. Capturing that moment makes it last forever. Time is a resource that we are always losing. It doesn’t come back. When you capture that moment, it’s a special mark. It’s my mark in history. That’s why I enjoy taking portraits.
You studied documentary filmmaking as well, which one do you prefer, photography or filmmaking?
S: To be honest, I’m not sure. I enjoyed them both. I feel that they are like brother and sister. They have different principles, one is just emotions, and another is stills. I have exactly the same feeling when I work on films and photography. They are like twins, they coincide with each other.
Are you currently working on any series?
S: Yeah, I’m working on the music portraits series. Basically, it documents musicians from different places. I’m in LA now because I’m following a few artists out here. This series combines fine art, photography and music to tell the connection of art, history and music artists.
How can you use photography to convey music to the audience and let them feel the music?
S: Most of the people don’t actually see the artists for a long time. They’ll just listen to the audio. I guess it’s the intense moment, that I can bring to my audience.
You are a young artist, can you tell me your attitude toward your future career?
S: My attitude towards my career is hope. Your twenties is definitely the age to do it. It’s the age when you have the most energy, you are really exploring. The time is now. We are losing time right now, every single second, every breath. Everything that goes toward my career is important, because one day, I want to be known as one of the top photographers in the world. That’s the real responsibility. A lot of people are photographers, a lot of people in my field are really competitive. I have to understand that there are thousands of artists who are talented, just as talented as me. To be honest, there are only a few slots open. I feel like time is now, as long as I fully commit, I will make my mark.