After a decade attempting to balance bartending at New Brookland Tavern and a part time adventure in photography I have decided to juggle no more. March of 2014 will be my first full month as a full time professional photographer. I've even signed my first agreement with ESPN Images, possibly handing over my soul to Disney in the process, but that's a different can of worms. I'm going to be a freelancer in every sense, piecemealing a living through the multiple clients I've gathered over the years. I'll be publishing more books, producing more shows and I'll continue creating physical zines. And I'll be able to dedicate much more time to my photography blog, The Angry Whale.


Auburn Tigers / South Carolina Gamecocks - February 5, 2014Auburn Tigers / South Carolina Gamecocks - February 5, 2014Columbia, SC - February 5, 2014 - Colonial Life Arena: Auburn University Tigers vs. University of South Carolina Gamecocks during a regular season game.
(Photo by Sean Rayford / ESPN Images)


I'm extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity to devote my attention to my passions that I've pursued for over 15 years. I've observed as the business and photo community have undergone huge changes during that time. Newspapers across the country have purged their photo departments and I've had to watch an exodus of friends and colleagues as the State Newspaper did the same in the Soda City. The ones remaining found themselves in a frustrating and crumbling industry. It's a confusing time to work as a visual journalist.

Several years ago I started seriously asking myself, “Where does photojournalism go from here? Will it crawl in a hole and disappear or is there still a future in documentary work? And specifically, where does it go in Columbia, SC?” Feeling limited by my options at the time I started my own brand of online publishing in February of 2012. This past spring, after shooting the USC spring football game I came to the conclusion that current local outlets were not good environments to challenge myself as a photographer and that I would have to create my own path.

Without the distractions of working at a live music venue I can now address the question that I once had no answer for. "So, Where does photojournalism in the capital of South Carolina go from here?"

ANSWER: Right here at The Angry Whale. I'll be pooling my experiences from The State Newspaper, Columbia City Paper, The Gamecock Newspaper, Carolina Spectator, countless freelance assignments and my off and on relationship publishing zines to create what I foresee being one of the city's strongest footprints on the web. I'll also be taking advantage of working in the music scene for more than a decade. My first big project will take me halfway across the US to the country's greatest music festival, South by Southwest. I'll be traveling with local bands that comprise 30-some musicians from the area traveling to perform in "The Live Music Capital of the World" - Austin, Texas.





I'll be introducing several regular series on the blog including two portrait/interview style pieces titled, "Soda Citizen" and "Dear Traveler" and a weekend wrap-up called “Can't Remember the Weekend.” Most importantly, I'd like to develop more in depth, socially aware and long term documentary projects that wouldn't see the light of day without this vehicle. I'd also like to photograph more toys, work on portrait projects with local artists and keep the city in tune with the music scene. I've been thinking about this for awhile.

I'll be using the sidebar on the blog page to allow for underwriting from both individuals and businesses and I'd love to discuss how you can be a part of my experiment. I look forward to hearing from you. Or if you would like - check out the underwriting options

Two days after compiling this data and it snowed in Columbia and I photographed some college kids sledding. That post received over 18,000 visits in one day and completely skews all of the previous results. I think it speaks volumes of what I have in store.


Thanks for taking the time to read this.



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Underwriting Options for The Angry Whale



Henderson Brothers Burlesque Show at Trustus Theatre in Columbia, SC - Feb 16, 2014 by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford.

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Henderson Brothers Burlesque Show at Trustus Theatre in Columbia, SC - Feb 16, 2014 by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford.

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Henderson Brothers Burlesque Show at Trustus Theatre in Columbia, SC - Feb 16, 2014 by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford. Band Square