10 questions for photographer Andrew Semansco

Photo by Andrew Semansco

Not long ago I posted about photographer Andrew ‘Sonny’ Semansco. Now I interviewed him about his work.

Asian-Sirens: What kind of photography do you like?
Andrew: I love photographs. If I am not taking them I am looking at them or imagining them. My wife is already used to me stopping Netflix DVD movies every few minutes to examine a scene. I like all kinds of photography. I am sick about it.

Asian-Sirens: When did you decide to become a photographer?
Andrew: I can’t remember. I am not sure I ever made the decision. It was made for me through my desire to hold, capture images, moments in time and share them with others. I have been taking photographs with that in mind for 20 years.Asian-Sirens: Which photographers do you admire and why?
Andrew: I know this may seem tired to you but I really admire Nobuyoshi Araki. I love that he has somehow gotten away with creating honest erotic imagery and be paid handsomely for it. I lived and worked in Japan for two years and I simply cannot imagine how he did it. I also like Richard Kern, new and old. If I wasn’t such a wimp I would beg him to carry his camera bag.

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good photo?
Andrew: It takes my breath away immediately.

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good model?
Andrew: Innate sexuality, the ability to communicate and show up on time (!) A model that can remember and forget everything they know whenever I ask. An art background is sometimes helpful. An individual that understands we are on the same team.

Asian-Sirens: Is there an Asian model you really would like to work with?
Andrew: Straight up? I don’t play the game that way. If you want to shoot in my style then come to me. Otherwise, I find most of my models on the street. I think the girl next door has more to offer than most professional models. I am sure of it in fact. There are some Japanese models that I could name that yes, I would die to shoot. There was a girl that I met on the street here in Hawaii named Masa Sato that went on to some success in the gravure world. OK, I’d like to shoot her and yes, Yoko Kumada if she would pose nude.

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever screw up an assignment?
Andrew: Never, I always get the shot. I spend too much time dreaming and scheming to screw things up. I have shot bitchy blonde playboy models and got what I needed. Of course, doing a great job will sometimes not please an editor but I never look at it as “screwing up”. You live, you learn.

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever get intimate with a model you worked with?
Andrew: Are you paying me for this interview? Do models sometimes sleep with photographers, yes they do.

Asian-Sirens: What kind of camera and lighting equipment do you use?
Andrew: I have bounced around a lot over the years. I use the camera or lighting system that strikes me as being correct at the moment. I like my Hasselblad 500 CM but don’t use it often. I have two Nikon f5s that I like and that are reliable. I use an outdated Nikon D100 that works well for me. Natural light normally works fine for my type of work. I have a bunch of lights that I will pull out if I have someone to help me. Cameras are actually quite simple.

Asian-Sirens: What are your future ambitions as a photographer?
Andrew: I want the world to look through my eyes. It looks great!

Asian-Sirens: Thank You Andrew, and all the best to you. I am sure we will be seeing more of you here on Asian Sirens!

In the meantime, check out his work at Flickr.com.

Sai, Photo by Andrew Semansco

Iris, Photo by Andrew Semansco


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0 thoughts on “10 questions for photographer Andrew Semansco”

  1. I have to say it – I really don’t like this photo at all (and I’m guessing everybody else is implying this from their comments above). Everybody has their own taste of course, but Andrew’s ‘post-modern’ style of photography really is not to my taste. He is free to criticise my photography (at Sachiko’s site) as much as he wants!

  2. Wow! Dr. Lee, you sound like an ass.

    The story:

    I met this model in Bangkok a year ago in the middle of the day as she was having lunch. She was very shy and hesitant to do a nude shoot. I talked with her for awhile more, shared some of her meal and took some shots of her there in the restaurant. I was fairly pleased with the way one of them came out and added it to my “walk around” portfolio.

    I was in Bangkok again a few weeks ago and saw this same girl walking along. Honestly, I didn’t even recognize her from our past meeting or the portfolio. As it turns out she totally forgot me as well. I was able to sit her down and explain that I thought she was perfect for my type of photography. I showed her my portfolio and she just jumped out of her seat when she saw the photo of her I had taken of her a year ago. Nice!

    The photograph that I submitted of my work was of her taken later that day. The photo was taken with slide film and converted to B&W with the soft focus added afterwards.

    Robin, thank you for profiling my work on asian-sirens.

  3. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for shedding some light on this photo 🙂 Personally I think it has a very nice atmosphere, but I don’t think the girl is very pretty though…
    But I allready guessed this photo had a special meaning to you, so I placed it without hesitation. And never mind the Doc, he is always very critical! 😉

  4. Sonny, I for one like your photography! The photo you submitted is quite interesting from a photographic perspective. I noticed you on flickr before Robin posted this and added you as a friend several months ago.

  5. Welcome to Asian Sirens Sonny! I should point out that while constructive criticism is welcome, I usually delete any personal attacks on other contributors. However, so far I’ve let people attack me as much as they want. 🙂

    Haven’t heard from you for a while badboy. It seems the only reason you post these days is to agree with someone who disagrees with me (or simply to state your own disagreement with me). 😉

  6. Well, name calling comes under personal attacks I think. 🙂

    I probably should clarify what it is that I don’t like about this style of photography. I find it too stark – even harsh – and it looks as though the photographer is trying too hard to come up with ‘interesting’ and ‘creative’ angles and crops, to the point where I think it just ends up looking awkward.

    Robin says he doesn’t think the girl in this photo is very pretty, but if she was shot in the usual glamour style she might be. The photos of Kumi in Sonny’s profile make her look a lot less pretty than any of her other photos I’ve seen. I think glamour photography should always make the model look attractive, no matter what else you want to do!

    Once again though, this is just my opinion – you are free to have your own. As a glamour photographer myself I put my money where my mouth is! 🙂

  7. Lee, I think you are the next in line in our 10 Questions for… series! 😉

    Will you take the above questions and send the answers to me by e-mail and put in your favourite photo? Then you will be featured next! 🙂

  8. Will do – as soon as I have time! Definitely next month – I know I said ‘probably next month’ last month, but that was probably, not definitely. 😉

  9. Ah Lee, don’t take it so “personally”! 😉

    I have been quite busy lately but thought it would be appropriate in this situation to register my “positive” opinion of Andrew’s photography. I encourage others to visit Andrew’s flickr page and judge for yourself whether you like his photos. If you do, I am sure he would love to hear some more positive comments. I tend to believe that constructive criticism is best offered in private although I didn’t really see much constructive in Lee’s comments just criticism.

  10. Well badboy, if you review your most recent comments a definite pattern emerges. 😉 I agree that people should go to Andrew’s page and judge for themselves – indeed, my comments have probably encouraged more of our readers to do so.

  11. Doc, I really don’t get you…

    Andrew takes very good photo’s and if I compare them to the shots you take of Sachiko, they are a 100 times more ‘glamourus’…

    (This is of course just my opinion and everybody is free to have their own ;-))

  12. If by ‘glamorous’ you mean ‘stylised’, then I agree. However, I think glamour photography should make the model look attractive first and foremost, and IMHO Sonny’s photos usually don’t – they have that kind of ‘post modern’ style where the model often looks like she’s tired, sick or even on drugs. A very popular style these days, but I really dislike it, as do many other people. If nothing else, it promotes a very unhealthy look.

  13. I wasn’t quite sure, so I looked up Glamour and this is what it’s supposed to mean: An air of compelling charm, romance, and excitement, especially when delusively alluring.

    In my humble opinion most of Andrews photo’s have all this. I don’t think the models look sick or on drgus at all. (dude, you have some weird thoughts there! ;-)) They look natural and pure. I think it’s very hard to combine both this and glamour, and Andrew succeeds.

  14. Admitedly they don’t always look unhealthy, but they do a lot of the time. They also often look unhappy, even miserable – not very attractive to me.

    It’s telling that my favourite shots in Sonny’s profile by far are the casual out takes – at least the models look happy and healthy in these!

  15. I should point out that I’m not criticising Sonny so much as the style he works in – he is no worse than other photographers who use the same style (and possibly better than many of them). I just really don’t like this style of photography.

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