Seb Xavier ‘Between harsh reality & utopian beauty (NSFW)’
For his debut feature & to cap off our incredible Halloween content (my favourite time of the year on here), London creative genius Seb Xavier brings us a stunning collection of work & I am already begging for more!
“Ever since a young age, I’ve wanted to tell stories & let my imagination run wild. There was a point in my career where I felt that I had hit a wall & felt stagnated, I was really doubting myself & struggling to understand why I wasn’t loving the photos I was taking; & then I sat down & started to reassess my goals & objectives. I started retracing my steps to when I was drawing on napkins as a kid, writing stories about heroes & villains, & doing youtube videos of action vignettes… I am a storyteller & my photos didn’t have meaning anymore, they didn’t have a story behind them. So I started writing again, I started drawing again, going to museums & galleries more often & slowly but surely this series came to fruition.
Inspired by classical art & narratives of the Renaissance & Romantic period, I wanted to use beautiful & allegorical imagery to tell stories & to encapsulate some of the issues our world faces, I see art as a powerful tool to open people’s eyes to see the internal tensions that challenge us every day. It has been customary for society, & for art, to sublimate reality, to present its more favourable aspects. I wanted this collection of work to be the opposite, yet still, somewhat adhere to the beauteous & glamorised facade that society presents itself with. Instead of portraying the victory of light over darkness, I wanted to give expression to mankind’s sense of insecurity & vulnerability in the modern world & to show how we are in a perennial juncture between the ugliness of truth & the beauty of deception, a permanent oxymoron.
My process involves a lot of pre-production, in which I sketch out the idea first to serve as a mock-up for the models or anyone involved. I would then write out backstories & character biographies that I send to the models to help get them into character. As a filmmaker with a background of theatre production as well, I treat each photograph like a film or a play, where the models are more akin to actors that I then give direction & anything I can to help them become the person I envision in my sketch & mind. I try & do as much as I can before the shoot so that when the day comes, we can start & finish as quickly and as hassle-free as possible.”