Aaron Sehmar Photography: Conceptual and Narrative Self-portraits

Aaron Sehmar

Aaron Sehmar

Aaron Sehmar is a Fine Art photographer. He often shoots conceptual and narrative self-portraits as well as experimenting with some beauty and fashion photography. It has been a great pleasure for us to take an interview with Aaron Sehmar and learn some interesting facts of his biography. We wish you a pleasant reading and viewing of Aaron Sehmar photography.

AP: Hi Aaron, nice to meet you and we hope you will enjoy our interview questions. So let us get started. Could you please let us know what made you get involved in photography?

Aaron: I first started taking photographs when studying photography for my A Levels a few years ago and I didn’t really think much about it as I had chose to do photography alongside art. I wanted to be an art teacher, so I thought it would be good to learn both art and photography together.

It wasn’t until the end of my A levels that I came across works by photographers such as Brooke Shaden and Tim Walker, that I considered photography was a much more interesting media for me to use to express myself.

Aaron Sehmar Photography

‘de novo’

AP: What a nice start! Do you have any formal education in photography or were you self-taught?

Aaron: I did an A Level in photography and I am now in my second year of a photography degree in the UK.

Although, I’ve had some formal education in photography, I can’t help feel that I am somewhat self-taught in the way that I generate ideas, shoot and edit images, as these are things that I have taught myself how to do, mostly though trial and error.

AP: What genre are your photos?

Aaron: I normally class my images as ‘fine art photography’, but I don’t really pay much attention to categorising photography. My work fits any category people see it as.

I sometimes feel that categorising yourself can be harmful to your work rather than help as it can become tricky to shift your work in a different direction once you have so many people following you as a certain kind of photographer.

Lately, I’ve been shooting a lot of beauty and fashion based photographs, which has been a really interesting learning curve for me as it is so different from the way I normally work. Although, I think fashion and beauty images are interesting, I prefer to shoot them more occasionally.

Aaron Sehmar Photography

AP: How would you describe your work?

Aaron: Describing my work is the hardest thing for me to do as I prefer other people to find their own meaning in it, but here it goes:

I would describe my work as conceptual, fine art photographs that encompass themes of isolation, pensiveness & identity. I tend to create narrative images in which there are ‘characters’ that are placed in various strange and ambiguous settings that allow the viewer to make up their own minds about what is happening.

AP: Thank you so much for such detailed description. Are you currently working on some projects?

Aaron: I have quite a few collaborations with some friends that I am super excited about at the moment. They’re all scheduled for the new year, so I’m just taking some time to shoot some more fine art self portraits.

AP: Great, look forward to seeing some of your new photographs. What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to take such pictures?

Aaron: I always shoot using digital cameras. I have used film cameras in the past, and I plan on using some in the future, but digital cameras suit my current work. If I’m shooting outdoors I use a Canon 60D with a standard 18-55mm lens and when I shoot in the studio I use a Canon 5D Mark II.

Aaron Sehmar Photography

Greatness and Glory

On a typical self-portrait shoot, I normally create a small sketch of the image that I want to take and write a few lines about the image, such as costuming, the idea, and how I plan to edit the image afterwards. I’ll then shoot around 10 images per final image, most of which are for frame expansion.

I mostly use the Brenizer Method to expand the background of my images and in Photoshop I mainly just work on adjusting the colours of the image to suit the mood and atmosphere I want to convey. Here is a link to a speed edit of ‘Bearing The Burden’ that I posted a while ago.

AP: What a fantastic photo processing! I especially like type of colour pallets you select. What is the formula for success in your activity?

Aaron: I think that there is no specific formula for success in photography as the definition of success is different for everyone, regardless of his or her career. The only thing you can really do is to keep creating work, whether you choose to show to anyone or not.

At this particular moment, I am really trying to get my work “out there”, which is something I’m not very good at, so I really want to participate in some competitions and get my work published in magazines.

My main goals are to be able to sell my photography as prints, have gallery shows and teach workshops to people as well as shoot images for clients. Some people may think that these are far-fetched goals, but I feel that they can be achieved with determination, perseverance and the right attitude.

Aaron Sehmar Photography

“Bearing The Burden”

AP: We wish best of luck to you in reaching your goals. Who is one person you would like to see interviewed on AstrumPeople?

Aaron: One person? That’s hard but I’d have to say Mercedes Helnwein. Although she is not a photographer, her drawings have been super inspirational to me and I feel that people will get a great sense of mystery, storytelling and drama out of her work.

AP: Thank you Aaron, we will definitely contact her. Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?

Aaron: Both my mother and brother are super-supportive of what I do and it’s thanks to them that I am as “creative” as I am. I can ask them about any image idea I have and know that they’ll be truthful about whether it is good or not. They are always suggesting and finding props for me to buy to enhance my images.

I also have loads of cool friends, (a lot of which don’t do photography and many that do), who support what I do. I have decided that I really want to do a lot of collaborations with them as I have a set way of working and think that by collaborating with as many people as I can, I will be able to learn things that I would not know by doing photography by myself.

Aaron Sehmar Photography

“No Way Back”

AP: Tell us three lessons you believe are really important for every photographer?


  • Do not procrastinate with creating images.
  • Be honest with people about their work and they will be honest with you about yours.
  • Do what makes you happy, so shoot images for yourself. Everyone else can come second.

Aaron, thank you so much for sharing such great story. Your images are beautiful and you are a very creative person! We wish you a brilliant success, amazing ideas and, of course, continued success. To learn more about Aaron Sehmar photography please visit his Facebook page.

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