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Sean Openshaw

My name is Sean Openshaw and I'm an editorial, portrait, event photographer living in Flagstaff, Arizona.

My name is Sean Openshaw and I work full-time at Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Flagstaff Medical Center as the Senior Visual Communication Specialist. In simple terms, that means that I take or coordinate all the photos and video used by NAH.

I started taking photos in high school in the early 1980’s. I graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism as a photojournalist and was a full-time photographer at newspapers starting in 1990.

My five highest values when it comes to photography are:

  1. Capturing the important moments in someone’s life.
  2. Making every person I photograph look as amazing as possible.
  3. Validate all the work put into producing an event by capturing the moments the event creates.
  4. Help others capture, organize and save moments in their own life.
  5. Share my experience and knowledge with others.

A few things that not everyone knows about me:

  1. I used to weigh 260 pounds, smoked 2 packs a day, and lived a very unhealthy life. I turned that around in 1995 and average 170 pounds, zero cigarettes and am quite active.
  2. I am a Veteran and spent 13 years in the U.S. Army and Arizona National Guard, first as a howitzer mechanic/recovery specialist and then a photographer/videographer. I left the service as a Staff Sergeant.
  3. I was deployed to Operation Joint Guard (Bosnia mission), where I spent nine months in Germany, away from my wife I had just married the day before being deployed.
  4. I grew up milking cows in Montana and have been getting up at 3:30 a.m., 7 days-a-week, ever since.
  5. I’ve raced three Ironman-distance races, almost qualified for the Boston Marathon, and have done more 5K, 10K and multi-distance triathlons than I can count.

I’ve been taking photos professionally for more than 30 years and now that I’m telling stories and producing video – learning more about the power of interviews and story – I now know that there is more to a moment than what can be captured in a photo.

It’s my goal, starting in 2020, to go beyond the photo. I want to use photos, video, audio and words to truly capture a moment. Capture who a person is. And not just the moment, but what’s led up the moment. What does the moment mean. And what can be learned from what just happened.

That means that the events and portraits that I shoot will have elements of each of those components. It will mean that I’ll probably have fewer clients, but that means that the clients I do have, will see the value and importance of going beyond the photo to capture the story.