Myths and Legends - Sean MacLeod

We can enter through the door of photography to the world of fantasy, thanks to Sean MacLeod, a Canadian photographer, and his collection of Myths and Legends. In his words, as he loves drawing, moving pixels to fit his personal visual style seems only natural. And it’s with his ability of moving them that he creates this world full of magic characters, every one of them with a story behind them that you should discover by looking at their eyes. MacLeod, interested in creating things as long as he can remember, describes this series as an adventure inside his head, and you can follow his journey through the legends he has created.


What is the story behind “Myths and Legends”?

Well, in fact there are a number of stories. Each image contains it’s own independent narrative. I wanted to create images that are rich enough in visual symbolism that they could be read in a number of different ways. I have my own interpretation that fits quite well, but I am open to any other.


Who are these mysterious characters mixed with nature, fauna and stylized bodies?

They inhabit a world where I would certainly like to live. I read a lot of comics growing up and I think the fantasy side of things influenced me greatly. I start with a form in my head as I’m pretty visual. It usually comes all at once or sometimes takes shape over time. I want everything to have a backstory as it makes me want to keep looking at it. So, the characters come from my youth and imagination and everything I have acquired along the way. 

From a form point of view. I draw everything before I create the photo. I sketch in a stylized way and as a result, I put that into the photo. If you look at any illustration, comic or painting, it is deformed. I do the same, but using photography as a basis. 


How do you create your powerful images regarding post-processing and camera equipment.

If I can be honest, most of the pictures were made with a 10 megapixel 400 D Canon. No, really. You can buy it on eBay for 200 dollars. I have just bought a Sony A7rii but have only done landscapes with it. I will be shooting a picture very soon. I don’t need a super high megapixel camera because I take about 25 images per photo and put them all together using photoshop. Everything is shot separately, head, neck body. That way I have control to make things as I want. I shoot the backgrounds with many images as I travel in Europe or Canada. Photoshop takes me forever and with all the layers the photos end up being 6GB which makes my computer smoke a bit.


Did the characters exist already, or did you create them?

As I mentioned, the characters are of my making but I think they have a touch of something universal in them. Most legends are familiar in some way, it’s what makes them human. I’ve been told I should write stories for them, but they are the stories.


Where do you find inspiration for your work? 

I am a bit of a consumer of images and the stories that they tell. I absorb a lot, mix it all together and when I have a shower, brush my teeth or garden, an image often comes bing. It is a form, not a story; that comes after. I’m inspired by painting, photography and everyday life equally.


What do you do when you are not creating your fine art projects?

I do have a job, I teach English. I have a family, two girls and my wife. They keep me pretty busy. The rest of the time, I’m thinking about pictures; even if I’m gardening.


From all your pictures, which is your favorite and why?

Waiting for the Birds” is one that I never get bored looking at. It is in my living room above my shoulder at this very moment. It’s the one with the big hair. One of the main themes in my photos is a longing for something that you don’t have. The original concept was from a lady in a park that wanted to feed the birds and there weren’t any. Visually, I find large hair compelling. In this case it is a nest of sorts that is in need of flying creatures. I like the want in her eyes, and the bread in her hands.


Photographer: Sean MacLeod  |  Website