Craig Semetko is an American photographer focusing on authentic human experience. Born and raised near Detroit, Michigan, Semetko became a professional comedy writer and performer after college and years later discovered photography as another means of storytelling. His comedic background has given him a highly developed sense of the absurd and ironic, resulting in a strong theme of humor throughout his work. In his foreword for Semetko’s book “UNPOSED,” Magnum Photos photographer Elliott Erwitt writes, “Good photographs are tough enough to shoot. Really funny ones are even harder. Good and funny photographs observed in nature not arranged or manipulated but simply observed in real time with amazing consistency, constitute a minor miracle now presented in Mr. Semetko’s book…In my book he is the essential photographer. That is, the one who sees what others could not have seen.”
“None of the images in UNPOSED were staged,” states Semetko. “They were all taken spontaneously–some with the subjects’ knowledge, most without. When I see something that amuses me or moves me, I just ‘click.’ I’m trying to provide the elements of an interesting story in a single well-composed frame, but of course I’m not consciously thinking of that when I take the picture. In fact, I try not to think at all. Thinking constipates things.”
Semetko is inspired by the humor that crosses cultural boundaries, and he travels the world to find them.
He spent much of 2011 and 2012 working on a long term project on the United States. The project was partially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and Semetko is continuing work on the series.
Semetko traveled throughout India in the fall of 2014, shooting for a major exhibition celebrating Leica Camera’s 100th year anniversary. The show will coincide with the opening of the new Leica facility known as Leitz Park in Wetzlar, Germany in May, 2014. Semetko’s travels in India have resulted in his new book INDIA UNPOSED, due out in April, 2014.
A graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Semetko currently resides in Los Angeles. His photographs have appeared in international publications and can be found in private collections in Europe, Asia and the United States.