Sean Kobi Sandoval
Keywords: Valleys, Identity, Mediumformat
Sean Kobi Sandoval (14 July 1995) graduated from the photography department at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in July 2021. He is an autobiographical documentary analogue photographer and filmmaker. Sean focuses on visualizing the intricacies of the human experience, the spaces in between belonging and growth, aspiring to motivate others on their journey through life and to connect to nature as both a spiritual and healing experience.
In 2019, Sean’s work What the Tide Still Carries was exhibited at Les Rencontres d’Arles (France) for their BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer) 50th Anniversary opening night, and again in Les Rencontres d’Arles for the Fotobus Society’s screening, at the Eye Filmmuseum (Amsterdam) and the Huntington Beach Film Festival (California). He had other works exhibited in 2019 at Galéria Médium (Bratislava) and he is published in Baobab Magazine. In 2020, his work was published in Fisheye Magazine (online), exhibited at the Grey Space in the Middle (The Hague), and he published his first book Stories for the Seas in collaboration with SurfEars to help clean the world’s oceans by giving 100% profit back to the seas. Sean works for and is part-owner of D’BRIS: a shoe made form ocean plastic and car tires. His project, This is Home. This is Gold. was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art 2021 graduation show. This project is made possible with the support from Kodak Alaris.
“Nostalgia is like a death: you can get stuck mourning while life moves on without you. Maybe because we don’t know how to be adults yet it’s easier to fantasize about a time when life was easier.”
In 2017, I left to pursue my Photography Bachelor in Europe for 4-years. With the fresh perspective of a European outsider and homesickness as my driving force, the following three summer breaks I returned home to reflect on my identity and the decision to break away from my community. For how long is one able to hold on to nostalgia and still move forward? Growing up meant realizing my hometown is a suburban wasteland; it's known as Huntington Beach, California.
This is a story about growing up, the desire for change and my journey to reconnect with my home, and thus, my belonging. Embedded beneath my nostalgic paradise are old friends existing along a spectrum ranging between stagnation and movement. During my second summer's return, I scheduled reunions to get fucked up one last time with them in hopes to try and understand why they never left and to offer them a mirror; to be fair, it’s easy to get comfortable living here. This city was once our playground but at some point, even I made the subconscious decision to leave. In my final summer's return, I made the choice to once again leave my hometown, this time to explore my state in search of what is golden.
This is Home. This is Gold. in its final form is presented as a 212 page publication consisting of three chapters. These three chapters are accompanied by three respective slide show videos. If interested in purchasing a limited edition of the publication or a limited edition A3 print, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.