Sean Metelerkamp was born in 1984 in Knysna, South Africa.
The darkroom, at boarding school, was a revelation and became the space where Sean began experimenting with photography. Once home, on weekends and school-holidays, he escaped into the music videos of MTV’s golden age.
These two interests led to photographing and directing music videos for independent South African musicians, most notably Die Antwoord, peaking in the video Zef Side which was exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 2010, as well as the Guggenheim Museums in Bilboa, Berlin and Venice.
New York Times – “The Home Video rises to Museum Grade”
Zef-Side won the D&AD Yellow Pencil for Best Music Video in 2011 and was subsequently exhibited at the Museum of the Moving Image, in New York in 2013, as part of ‘Spectacle’, which explored the music video as an important and influential art form in contemporary culture featuring directors such as Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham – Sean’s influences as a kid.
A six-month residency ensued at Residency Unlimited. During this time Sean connected with Death Grips and together they made Black Google in 2010, followed a few years later with Eh and Interview 2016.
Returning home, Sean set out to discover what had motivated him to leave his homeland; travelling throughout South Africa with an Afrikaner and Xhosa photographer in a kickstarter-funded project called Twenty Journey. The project culminated in Sean’s debut feature documentary, which opened the Durban International Film Festival and won the award for Best South African Documentary.
Variety – “Durban: Fest Opener ‘Journeymen’ Explores Authentic South Africa”
Following the Twenty Journey, Sean has been capturing the rebranding of South Africa since Rhodes Must Fall. A work in progress.
Click to initiate full-screen still image.
Amidst his career shift, Sean’s older brother John-Michael was losing himself in a chemical haze of lunacy. In an attempt to understand substance abuse and recovery Sean entered the Drug Education Council Ministries (Christian Life Skills Program), in Noupoort in 2010, where his brother was completing the final month of an eight month program.
“Eleven years since first entering Noupoort, upon the blessing of my brother, the photographs and interviews of himself and the other willing participants is presented as a self-published book. Three months spent in the Ministry between 2010 and 2013 sharing time with over a hundred residents. I am in the process of creating a website so that the information around substance abuse and recovery can be shared”.
Sean is online every new and full moon in a series of episodes: