“Photography is nothing—it’s life that interests me.”
Born near Detroit, Michigan, Semetko graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication. A self-taught photographer, he uses a small Leica rangefinder to capture candid moments from everyday life--the unobtrusive size of the Leica makes it less intimidating and allows him to be a participant in the action as well as an observer. Virtually all his pictures are taken spontaneously - some with the subject’s knowledge, many without. He tries to capture a strong sense of geometry and emotion in his pictures, releasing the shutter at the “decisive moment” when the action in the frame reaches its peak. The results are a kind of visual diary that can conjure any number of stories in a single frame.
“I get very excited when a picture unfolds in front of me. I try not to think. If I think too much, I miss the shot. I see something - I laugh, I’m sad, I’m curious - I wait for the moment and press the shutter. Only later, while looking at the contact sheet, do I realize what I was trying to do. The joy comes out in the street, seeing something that moves me, and reacting with the quiet “click” of the shutter. If everything comes together in the print - that’s icing on the cake.”
His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Amsterdam, and appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, the Turkish daily “Zaman,” The Netherlands’ weekly “Folio,” and Scotland’s “Time Out: Edinburgh,” among others.
Semetko currently resides in Los Angeles, California.