Camille Seaman was born in 1969 to a Native American (Shinnecock tribe) father and African American mother. She graduated in 1992 from the State University of New York at Purchase, where she studied photography with Jan Groover and has since taken master workshops with Steve McCurry, Sebastiao Salgado, and Paul Fusco. Her photographs have been published in National Geographic Magazine, Italian Geo, The New York Times Sunday magazine, Newsweek, Outside, Zeit Wissen, Men’s Journal, Camera Arts, Issues, PDN, and American Photo among many others, She frequently leads photographic and self-publishing workshops.
Her photographs have received many awards including: a National Geographic Award, 2006; and the Critical Mass Top Monograph Award, 2007. In 2008 she was honored with a one-person exhibition, “The Last Iceberg” at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC.
Camille Seaman lives in Emeryville, California, and takes photographs all over the world using digital and film cameras in multiple formats. She works in a documentary/fine art tradition and since 2003 has concentrated on the fragile environment of the Polar Regions.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Soulful, courageous, authentic.
What is your life motto? Go Big or Go Home!
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? Age 32, it took me 4 years to achieve acclaim globally.
How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? My entire life experience has come to aid me in being who I am now. How many hours is that?
Describe how difficult the business really is? Business is as difficult as you want it to be.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? Mistakes? What mistakes? All mistakes teach valuable lessons. I learned that not trusting your gut will always lead you to feel pain. Whether its emotional, financial etc; I learned to trust your gut.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? Be true to yourself. If you have no integrity who will you look at in the mirror?
In your mind, is formal training essential? No – but discipline is!
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? Mentors can help depending on how you particularly learn something. I just reached out to those who I knew to be masters, and was willing to share their knowledge.
What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career? Stop talking about it and DO IT! Steve McCurry said it best when a young photographer asked him how he could become a great photographer… Steve said, “Take photographs.”
What kept you going when you felt like giving up? I never felt like giving up. But that is because I chose to do something I love, something that is fun to do. Why would I give up something like that?
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? Maybe… but it has more to do with chance favouring the prepared.
For more of Camille’s beautiful photographs, go to camilleseaman.com