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Landscape photographer Scott Seiler finds inspiration in community and volunteering

The Arts Partnership profiles the well-known Fargo artist.

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A photo of grain bins by Scott Seiler.
Contributed / Scott Seiler
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FARGO — Fargo-based photographer Scott Seiler is well-known in the local arts scene for his sweeping landscape images of North Dakota and Minnesota. His use of lines and geometry are surprisingly emotional and helps to showcase the personality of the spaces he captures with his camera.

An artist whose work often requires long stints outdoors by himself, Seiler’s other side is a bit more social. Whether he’s promoting art at his day job in Sanford Health's marketing department or volunteering his time with the Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists , serving on the board of The Arts Partnership and acting as president of Gallery 4 , art, promoting art and being in community are at the heart of his endeavors.

As an artist who thrives on getting to know the community, we wanted to take a moment to get to know a little more about the artist himself. Meet Scott Seiler.

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Dandelions at sunset by Scott Seiler.
Contributed / Scott Seiler

Q: Are there any particular artists who inspire you?

A: Ansel Adams, a photographer who took great black-and-white photographs. As a little kid, it was probably his work that got me excited about photography and what you can do. It just amazes me about the equipment they had back then. Photographers would talk more about the concept of the dimensions of the piece: the ratios and the composition. The rules of composition haven’t changed, but the equipment has.

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I think some of the earlier photographers had to go through a lot more to get that great picture than we do today. I also think a lot of people sometimes forget about composition, about the rules of thirds and other rules that really help people’s eyes draw to the subject.

Maya Angelou has been a later inspiration for me. I think delivery of the writing is critical. I love to hear her recite her own poetry. There are inflections, pauses, etc., that has a great impact, and the message gets delivered better and more succinctly.

Q: Who are some local artists you admire?

A: I think they all inspire me. With the more established artists, I just love seeing what they’ve done throughout the years and how they’ve grown. With newer artists, what intrigues me is the different concepts they are coming up with. They always have a story to tell about their art. I love that. I am not a painter — I can’t paint for the life of me — so I am intrigued by people who do. How they can paint freehand, what their concept is, how they add layers and it grows. It’s just amazing to me, so I try to absorb as much as I can. Every day I try to learn something new about art. I just try to keep my eyes open.

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Christmas Day frost as photographed in 2019 by Scott Seiler.
Contributed / Scott Seiler

Q: What is a favorite way to find creative inspiration?

A: It’s dangerous for me to take a drive. It’s my time alone and I process so much information and it’s so visually appealing. I probably become more creative when I am on a drive, because it's clear, open roads, clear space, and I can think better. I come up with a lot of concepts, so when I get to a location to shoot, I try to think, “How can I do this differently? How can I showcase this landscape in a different way than other photographers have done before? How can I really show the beauty of that landscape?”

Q: What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?

A: A martini? Just kidding! Especially today, people are inundated with messaging, and the brain has been taxed so much that sometimes we just need to have some downtime. I think it’s OK to do nothing. Or I might take a walk, or go for bike rides, or take a drive in my car. Those are some of the things where I just don’t have to think. I am constantly going, and that downtime allows me to recuperate, rest and then come back to work again.

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Q: Is there anything you wish people knew about your art?

A: The biggest thing to know is that each one of my photos has a story to tell, whether it’s a personal story to me, or a geographical location in the state, or something I came across by accident. When I talk to people about my pieces, they love to engage in conversation about them. It’s, “Why did you do that?” or, “What inspired you?” And more often than not, they have a similar experience that they will tell on their end. It’s not just a conversation-starter, it’s an interaction, almost a bonding experience of shared stories.

Discover local artist Scott Seiler on Facebook or his website, http://www.scottseiler.net/ .

TAP partner and community content contributor Brandi Malarkey is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, administrator and occasional hot mess. She is a collector of dead bugs and good books, and a believer that ordinary miracles and small kindnesses have the power to change the world. Learn more about Brandi on her website:  www.itsallmalarkey.com .

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