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Artist interview — Sean Deckert

Sean Deckert’s 2012 photograph, View of Israeli Military Base Through Jordanian Mural is exactly what it’s title says. The photograph views a military base through a hole in a wall painted with a map of villages located in the Jordanian mountains.

MG_60921View of Israeli Military Base Through Jordanian Mural
Archival inkjet print, 24” x 36”, 2012

As you look at the wall painted with an idyllic and serene village, it is a striking contrast with the sun-beaten military base in the distant desert. The large hole in the wall is a violent and disturbing connection to them both. Maybe made by a rocket, an explosion, or possibly made as a means of escape… the cause probably doesn’t matter to photographer, Sean Deckert. This blown-out passageway gives Deckert the opportunity to capture the light falling in from the other side of the wall onto the floor in the foreground. The circular light on the ground may be a ray of hope to the viewer, but for Deckert, it might be this James Turrel-like result that interested him in the first place.

Basically every photographer records light. That is what they do, but Sean Deckert’s work explores and breaks the boundaries of recorded light. With his still prints, and even with his lenticular pieces, Deckert enjoys capturing light just before it changes. When his camera is on, Deckert often plans for a moment to happen when light changes, and just as often his camera captures a moment that wasn’t planned. The moment is what he is seeking.

SeanDeckert_18HoursNorth-785x55518 Hours Facing North Timelapse
Composite Print 40” x 55”, 2013

At first glance, the photographs, Transition: Morning, Phoenix or 18 Hours Facing North Timelapse from his series titled, Fata Morgana (2013) may seem very different in style and theme from the Israeli Military Base photograph. The almost washed out color of the desert view is in stark contrast from the beautiful, watery brilliant and soothing colors of Fata Morgana. These Fata Morgana photos were captured by time-lapsed composite and single photographs to “harness time, color and space”. But, Deckert’s goal is the same for all of his work. Light changes in an instant, and he would like to capture a moment before it disappears.

For Deckert, Phoenix is not only home, but has been a place to explore his ideas and experiment with the ever-changing light of the desert. It may seem to the non-observant that Phoenix’s mostly cloudless days are all the same. But, Deckert sees more, and documents the air and sky to show us how much it actually changes.

plate_08Palette 3: Sunset, Dust Storm, Sturgeon Moon
Archival Inkjet Prints 17” x 22”, 2013

The monsoons of late summer, rolling dust storms, and pollution change the colors of the Phoenix sky constantly, and Deckert waits patiently to note the ever-changing sky. His exciting series of eight photographs, Palette 3: Sunset, Dust Storm, Sturgeon Moon (also from his Fata Morgana series) documents how the hazy sky changed in a one-hour span over the Phoenix skyline. The changes are startling, and a thrilling story is told in these photos. His work captures the beauty in the sky, but warns us that these fast changes in the atmosphere are caused by a mixture of natural and man-made environmental events.

To see more, his work can be seen at the Lodge Art Studio (July 2014), at the Focus PhotoBid 2014 Auction at the Phoenix Art Museum in October. Go to for more information on Sean Deckert’s work.

All photographs courtesy ©Sean Deckert, 2014


  1. Mimi Jardine (Reply) on Saturday 21, 2014

    Thank you to Culture Seen for featuring artists in our “desert” of art criticism. Phoenix needs more of this. !!!

  2. Kate Timmerman (Reply) on Saturday 21, 2014

    Wonderful look at a thinking and talented artist. Thank you