Interviewsand Articles


Portfolio: Stephen Seko

by Richard Whittaker, Apr 2, 2007



I met Stephen Seko at the Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City, "the oldest commercial gallery in the intermountain west" according to their web site. I’d met Bonnie Phillips in the Bay Area and on my way back from a trip to Boulder, I dropped in unannounced at her gallery. "Bonnie will be right back," I was assured. The gallery is beautiful with lots of room for exhibits. While looking at the art, I struck up conversations with several employees, one of whom was Stephen Seko. It wasn’t long before I learned that he was a photographer. Among a few photos that I’d particularly liked while browsing were two small prints in a downstairs room [reproduced above]. I don’t know how I intuited they might be Seko’s, but they were. They’re part of his series of photos "using normal, common objects"—in this case, found in his daughter’s collection of toys.

As Seko writes, "I am often captivated by the photographic possibilities I encounter; little snatches of light playing on objects, the random arrangement of cups at a cafe. Beauty is all around us and we often miss it in the course of our hectic lives." How true.

Looking at these two images, the phrase "the thing-in-itself" comes to mind, an old fashioned metaphysical notion, perhaps. But if metaphysics has gone the way of the Dodo bird, there’s still the possibility of coming to a moment of seeing in which I’m simply present to what I am looking at. I don’t know if light and shadow are always part of such moments, but perhaps so. But in such a moment, it’s clear that I spend most of my time in some lesser realm of living. Looking at these two photos, I’m reminded of my own moments of seeing this way, each one a renewal.

—Richard Whittaker


About the Author

Richard Whittaker is the founder of works & conversations magazine.


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720750 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 140481 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 8083 views

Say Grace I am deeply delighted to live on a planet that is so big and varied that I can ... Read More 4989 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 60495 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720750 views

Interview with Bill Douglass—Jimbo's Bop City and Other Tales At the time I'd first gotten to know the widely respected jazz musician Bill ... Read More 363193 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 293652 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 188901 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 150257 views