Seagram Pearce was born in Cape Town, South Africa. At an early age, he travelled abroad with his mom, armed with a Pentax SLR provided by his uncle Jon, for whom Seagram still holds special regard. While attempting a photo in a busy London street, the realisation dawned on him that he can control when a photograph was taken, and that decision would result in the quality of the picture. Until he matriculated, photography remained a part-time hobby. He then received one of the first digital cameras and his future was mapped out by that gift.
His obsession with light means Seagram’s constantly “light watching” and that is what he believes gives his work form and essence. Lighting is the main priority in every frame he takes. Dramatic lighting that allows him to create mood and atmosphere and lets him capture the soul of his subject has become his signature style.
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To be truly fulfilled, Seagram combines a love for automotive photography with portraits and human subjects. Add a remote location and he’ll be “all over that project like Peter Griffin in a flashback montage”. Getting to travel and see some of the most spectacularly beautiful places on earth is what truly unleashes a new level of creativity for him – a grand adventure.
Seagram’s storytelling lies in his personal work with people. Over the decade of shooting, he’s started a portrait series of a range of people. He’ll share a fraction of this series, but believes the full story will only be revealed after his passing through curation of his personal collection of faces. He concedes that this is a poetic tragedy of photographers.
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When describing the “perfect” portrait, Seagram believes it’s all about emotion and soul. He explains how Annie Leibovitz used to exhaust her portrait subjects until she got the emotion she wanted from them. Then again, other photographers believe the first three frames they take of someone is their truest form. As far as he’s concerned, both methods work.
He’s had the privilege of taking some incredible human being’s portraits and spent time with some of the greatest cars on earth. One of the highlights of his career was photographing two Pagani supercars together: the Pagani Huayra from the Transformers movie and a Zonda S. He was fascinated by the design changes Pagani had made in a short period. With the Huayra back in the official Pagani Museum, this was an incredibly rare opportunity.
In this vein of unusual subjects, Seagram would love to do a portrait series with entrepreneur Elon Musk. He imagines something extravagant, like Elon in a spacesuit in the middle of the desert, or standing inside one of his Falcon Heavy rockets. Another face on Seagram’s bucket list is Morgan Freeman. He has such an incredibly interesting face and Seagram would love to sculpt it with light.