We are so pleased to give the YYC Artist spotlight this month to the very talented photographer, Allison Seto. Allison was born and raised Calgarian. She picked up a camera when she was a kid and has been obsessed with photography ever since. Her sister describes her work as "melancholic".
Allison has traveled the world, taking gorgeous pictures of her travels, and has photographed many concerts and musicians including 'Oh Hello', 'Bon Iver', 'Said the Whale', 'Mitski', and 'Beyonce'.
Allison's "about me" section of her website was so perfect, we just had to share it;
"I love seeing what's going on behind the scenes, whether it's for a movie, a live concert, or just somebody's normal everyday life. I used to buy DVDs of my favourite movies and TV shows so I could listen to the director's commentary and watch all of the featured b-roll footage. These days, it's my absolute favourite thing to photograph.
Some fun facts about me:
1) I use exclamation points very liberally. 2) Photography is on my mind about 99% of the time. 3) On my 25th birthday I attempted to eat 25 tacos ... I only made it to 16. 4) In my youth I competed in piano competitions and golf tournaments. 5) Nothing makes me feel more satisfied than a hearty, delicious bowl of soup noodles."
What made you decide to pursue photography?
When I was fifteen, my family went on vacation to San Francisco. I happened to snap a photo of my siblings across the street and something about the composition and the houses in the background made photography click for me - it made me go from just haphazardly snapping photos to taking it seriously. My dad bought me a camera for Christmas a couple years later with more manual settings and I taught myself how to be a better photographer through the internet.
Who or what have been your biggest inspirations so far to date through your creative journey?
Brittany Staddon (@brittanyesther) is the best photographer I know and a really kind person. When I was starting to get serious about photography she was kind enough to meet up with me for a coffee and a chat after I cold-contacted her through her website. Her work has inspired me ever since I first came across it.
Do you have any favourite locations you use for a photo shoot?
I'm drawn to spaces with interesting light - it could be a sliver of direct sunlight on a blank wall and I would be obsessed.
What is your favourite kind of photo shoot to do?
My favourite kind of shoot is when I get to just observe someone live a day in their life. It's always such an honour to be allowed to see somebody be vulnerable and to capture them exactly as they are.
Do you have any local favourite artists that you love? Who are they, and why?
Heather Buchanan is awesome - her work is super fun and I love how it's not that serious. I also think that Jae Sterling has been doing some really cool stuff in the city!
All following photos are by Allison --
What is your all time favourite musical artist?
Wow this is a tough one .... I'm going to have to go with Mitski!
I know that you've done a bunch of work with photographing musicians - what was your favourite gig to work and why?
Back in 2017 my sister and I bought passes for Primavera Sound in Barcelona. Mitski was performing at the festival, so I thought I'd shoot my shot and send her a tweet asking if she needed a photographer. She responded within two minutes.
This is my favourite gig because it feels like such a peak in my career. It just felt so surreal to be face to face with my favourite musician, knowing that she liked my work enough to have me there!
How has COVID affected your art? Have you done anything creative during this time that you otherwise wouldn’t have done?
It really allowed me to slow down, since at the beginning there weren't any events or concerts to shoot. I got into walking around my neighbourhood and taking pictures of anything that caught my eye.
If you could pick just ONE food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sushi, hands down! I crave sushi pretty much every single day of my life.
What is your coffee order?
Cappuccino with oat milk!
Do you make coffee at home? IF so, how?
Ben Put got me a pour over kit back in 2016 and it changed my life! I love drinking a black coffee in the morning with some sort of chocolate. The other day I had it with a DQ ice cream sandwich, and let me tell you that is absolute bliss.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up? If so, can you tell us about them?
I think I do my best work when I'm on vacation and I have the freedom to shoot whatever I want however I want, so I'm excited to go to Paris at the end of April.
Where can we find you?
Hopefully now that it's warmer, you'll find me at a skatepark trying to get better at skateboarding!
Summer or Winter?
Sweet or savoury?
Music or podcast?
Hot coffee or cold coffee?
Chips or popcorn?
Digital or Analog?
Beach or mountains?
You can find Allison's work at allisonseto.com or @allisonseto on Instagram.