Art Star: Sean Fader

At the start of the 20th century, philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote the seminal essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" about the way our relationship to art changes once canonical images could be reproduced via photography. Benjamin argued that an original work of art was imbued with a special aura since it is, after all, the one genuine object. Now, at the start of the 21st century, the rise of new media technology presents artists with ever growing opportunities for expression and at the same time challenges the academically driven notions regarding craft and the artistic process. In digital photography there is no original, just pixels and binary code composing an endless stream of copies.

This deconstruction of the notion of the "sacred object" and the relationship between photography and performance are particularly evident in digital photographer Sean Fader's developing body of work. Utilizing his background in performance, Fader's Human Subjects series captures decontexualized characters from some anonymous narrative. His subjects are obviously posed and certainly cognizant of Fader's presence and gaze through the camera lens. We are given just enough information for these faces to become human, familiar even, although the situations they find themselves in are sexy and ambiguous. With an obvious flare for theatricality, Fader's work is perfectly suited to the digital medium as it lacks the "preciousness" of painting and even traditional photography.

The importance of the digital medium is even more apparent in his series of Travel photographs largely executed in South Asia and Europe. These photos are utterly spontaneous, a second in time in a foreign culture captured in pixels. This is significant because the immediacy of the work is only supported by the fact that there is no "original" photograph. If there is an original, it only exists in the moment the image was captured, far away from home. The parallel between these digital images and theatre continues in so much as a theatrical performance exists in time, each performance independent and unique, a singular moment. So too, Fader places characters and events in a digital vacuum that challenges our ideas about the boundaries of performance and fine art.

Sean Fader will be receiving a Master's Degree from the prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art in Digital Arts. He has mounted three solo exhibitions on New York City in the past two years in leading vanguard venues. He is currently accepting commissions and his prints may be purchased through