Elmont Senior Loses His Mom on ‘9/11,’ Remembers Her Through Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words and a lifetime full of memories.

Just ask Elmont Memorial High School senior and aspiring photographer, Sebastian Bass, whose passion for photography connects him to a bittersweet past but also to a promising future.

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Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

“I love seeing growth,” Sebastian told us in an exclusive email interview. The 17-year-old Brooklyn native has not only grown with each frame as a photographer but as a young man through real-life adversity as well.

“I can’t remember anything about her,” Sebastian said when speaking of his late mother numbered among those thousands who tragically passed away in the wake of terror attacks on September 11th, 2001. He was only a year-old.

Sixteen years later and now preparing for college, Sebastian’s growth has been evident.

Sony camera, lenses, editing software, and a limitless imagination are his tools of choice as Sebastian builds purposefully toward his dream of becoming a professional photographer. “I’m extremely excited,” he says about his next chapter.

Without further ado, please enjoy our interview:

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

Full Name: Sebastian Alexander Bass

Age: 17

Year of Graduation: 2017

Schools Attended: Alden Terrace Elementary School, Elmont Memorial High School

What is your life like as a high school senior at Elmont Memorial High? 

Life as a high school senior at Elmont Memorial High School is stressful at the moment. The only reason that it’s stressful is because college is right around the corner. Even though this is my last year of high school, as a senior you have to apply to all your colleges of choice and make sure that all the paperwork is in order.

On top of that, since I will be majoring in photography, I have to send in my portfolio which is nerve racking because I want to show what I can do while giving the college what they are looking for.

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

When did your passion for photography begin?

I’ve had a passion for photography ever since I can remember. I have seen pictures of me when I was younger with a camera in my hand. But, I didn’t take my photography seriously until a little more than a year ago.

Describe the difference between someone who takes pictures vs. a photographer?

Everybody can take a picture. Everybody says they’re a photographer. Not everybody is a photographer.

Technology has made it extremely easy for people to take good-looking pictures without knowing anything about photography. A photographer knows how to take a picture without using all this technology to do all the work for them.

A photographer also recognizes everything that is around them. They incorporate everything around them to create the best work that they can. Photography isn’t about just taking a picture. There is so much more that goes along with it.

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography
Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography
Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

What role does social media play in your photography plans? How, if at all, does it help or work against you?

Social media plays a huge role in my photography plans. Since everything is now on the internet, I use social media to grow my brand and show my work to others. I also use it to interact with other creatives and see what they are creating. It helps fuel my creativity.

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

How would you describe your photography style?  What inspires you creatively?

My imagination is a big part of my creative process. I’m always thinking of shots that I can take and how I can take them. Social media also inspires me creatively. When I’m scrolling through my feed, certain shots peek my interest and I start to think of how I can use that photographer’s shot and put my own spin on it.

Your favorite thing about Elmont:

So a little fun fact about me. I’m actually from Brooklyn. Nonetheless, my favorite thing about Elmont is that it is such a connected community. I’ll be walking home from school or walking in general and I can guarantee that I’m going to see someone that I know. Another thing that I like is that everybody is so connected. It is very easy to find out what’s going on in Elmont and I really like that.

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

Besides photography, what are some of your other interests?

Besides photography, one of my other interests is sports. I love to stay active and I will play any and every sport. My favorite sports to watch and play are baseball and basketball. Another interest of mine is playing video games.

My dad introduced me to video games when I was younger and I’ve loved them ever since. I play with my friends and every time we play we have so much fun together even though we’re very competitive.

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

One thing people would be surprised to learn about you:

One thing people would be surprised to learn about me is that I’m only seventeen. Yes, I know. Shocking. Most people think that I am way older because of my facial hair and my height but I am truly only seventeen.

shot by seb we are elmont mom.png

The most challenging life experience you’ve faced:

The most challenging life experience that I’ve faced would be getting over the death of my mother.

My mother was one of the many victims of the September 11th attacks. This is a challenging experience because I was so young when she passed that I can’t remember anything about her. I only know what I am told by people that knew her.

Name one milestone you are most proud of today:

Recently, I passed one year of being a photographer. This is huge for me because photography is something that I really love doing and I’ve stuck with it for a full year. I find joy in looking back at my pictures when I first started and looking at my pictures now. I love seeing growth.

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

Tell us what’s next for you:

My next step is college. If you didn’t already guess it, I’ll be majoring photography in college. I’m extremely excited to see what this new chapter of my life bring me. I’m also excited to meet new people that have the same passion photography as I do.

Sebastian Bass (@shotbyseb) Photography

We sincerely thank Sebastian for granting us this interview. Great things are in store for this young man so keep an eye out for him! For more of Sebastian’s work, visit his website: http://shotbyseb.wixsite.com/shotbyseb.


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