Soлomiya Magazinesince 2022
soлomiya is an independent magazine founded in April 2022 by Kyiv-based photographer Vsevolod Kazarin and Sebastian Wells in response to the Russian war against Ukraine. It aims to explore and showcase the young cultural and artistic scene in Ukraine, promoting it in both Ukrainian and European cities.
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Olympia2016 - 2024
Since 2016, Sebastian Wells covers Olympic Games in such a subjective way that it stands out from the mass medias’
thoroughly industrialized depiction of them. His photographs look beyond the spotlight, questioning the Games’ spectacular
monumentality. When something goes wrong in the stagings of the sports officials, when the curtain has fallen,
that’s when it becomes appealing for him. He is less interested in the beaming winners and furious scandals than in the marginal
figures caught in a game whose rules are constantly being challenged.
A Garden of Roots2023
The only tale of who Sebastian’s unknown grandfather had been proved to be as invented as his name: Walter Wells, an American stationed in Germany was in fact Walter Vogelhut, a Viennese Jew who fled to the United States in 1938 after Austria was annexed by the Third Reich. Sebastian critically examines the construction of identities with the help of genealogical narratives and uses the search for his grandfather for an intensive examination of genealogy and the boom that platforms like Ancestry are undergoing especially within the US. A Garden of Roots is fragemented by the dichotomous desire for sublime truth and perfect fiction innate to those in search for an identity perpetuated by genealogical narratives and studies.
“For people living in occupied territories, life is a matter of merely existing. However, moving away is no easy task.
Imagine your family, and generations preceding it, had lived in the Donbas all their life, and suddenly you’re forced to start your life from zero.” Encounters with young people from Kyiv who grew up in the now occupied territories in the south and east of Ukraine.
In collaboration with Vsevolod Kazarin
Portraits from Kyiv, Ukraine2022
When Vsevolod Kazarin, a fashion photographer, and Sebastian Wells, a documentary photographer, met in Kyiv, they decided to team up and combine their skills. Being both interested in the young generation of creatives in Kyiv, they started to work on a series of portraits that
focuses on young people that don’t stop selfexpressing their identities through their fashion. While using the means of documentary photography
and portraying the protagonists out of the situation and in their respective environment, are a witness of a historical moment.
In collaboration with Vsevolod Kazarin
Across the Great Wall2022
This title stems from the first e-mail ever sent from China. It said: “Across the Great Wall, we can reach every corner in the world" and was sent to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology on 20 September 1987. For this project, Sebastian produced a diary in real time together with writer Lars Spannagel during the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China. Read and support the Blog here:
Nation as Idea2021
In order to understand the young people’s will to support nationalism in Flanders, Sebastian started a visual research that aims to analyze the far-right’s identity construct and their way of imagining a community. He considers himself an archeologist and creates images that ponder upon a visual environment where the past is inextricably overlapped with the present. He also examines the effects of uniforms on individuals in portraits of a nationalistic student fraternity, deconstructs racist narratives in a book with portraits of flemish people by Erna-Lendvai Dircksen, and studies the collective memory of random pedestrians in terms of how they imagine the Flemish flag, the nationalists’ symbol.
The Corona vaccination campaign, which started in spring 2021, is one of the fastest arranged vaccination campaings to happen in histroy. In order to realise it, large vaccination centres were built all over Germany. For this purpose, places that were otherwise important spaces for cultural and economic life were converted: Airports, theatres, exhibition halls, concert halls and swimming pools. In this work, Sebastian focuses on the temporary, repetitive, and instant architecture of the vaccination centres.
La Rada di Augusta2019 - 2020
One oil refinery after another is lined up on a thirty-kilometer-long coastal strip in southeastern Sicily. The petrochemical industry has put its mark on this landscape, its inhabitants, and their lives for a good seventy years. The water, air, and soil are polluted. Corruption is as omnipresent as the distrust of authority.
La Rada di Augusta - the Bay of Augusta - emanates from the increasingly weathering remnants of turbo-capitalism merging with the ancient remains of a civilisation more than two thousand years old. Accompanying the people who live here throughout their daily lives, the series reflects upon the North-South divide and the price of rapid progress. In his images, Sebastian captures people and spaces like in a film still, as if in a moment that already anticipates the next one. In this state of limbo between the folding and unfolding of events, a space opens up for stories that have not yet been told.
This work contains a collection of observations on public life during the first lockdown imposed on Berlin in March 2020. Trying to bear witness to a state of emergency, and struggeling to confront an avalanche of news images, Sebastian's work simutanuously turned into a personal tool to combat his own loneliness.
Just Brexit2016 - 2020
In 2016, Sebastian travelled to Wigan, UK, on a scholarship, to photograph the town due to its highest Brexit approval rates in the region of Greater Manchester. Once in Wigan, he started following the footsteps of Orwell's social reportage "Road to Wigan Pier", that reported about the working conditions of the coal miners in England during the 30s. Followed by this trip, he returned to England several times until the final implementation of the Brexit on the 31st of January 2020, which was accompanied by a party of Brexiteers on Parliament Square.
Commissioned by arte.tv and director Paul Ouazan, Sebastian realised a series about the German Olympic and Paralympic Training Centre in Kienbaum and former cadre training centre of the GDR. In his search for the relationship between East and West in the post-reunification generation of young athletes, Sebastian questions how it feels to persue medals for Germany today, 30 years after the fall of the Wall. The photo film can be seen here.
Hong Kong Protest2019
Fascinated by the media staging and highly symbolic self-presentation of young protesters in Hong Kong, Sebastian photographed during the mass demonstrations against the Extradiction Bill in August 2019.
Utopia2017 - 2018
Embarking on a visual journey through the make-shift world of refugee camps, Sebastian explores the tension between impermanence and permanence that exists in these environments. Between 2017 and 2018, he travelled to 24 refugee camps in 7 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Focusing on the everyday life of the refugees living in these supposedly temporary camps, Sebastian's images depict and explore the limits and impossibilities they impose on spatial and social infrastructure.
Russia by Football2018
On assignment for the magazine 11Freunde, Sebastian travelled through Russia in 2018 during the World Cup. Unimpressed by the daily match results, he walked for hours through the host cities in search of the limits of staging at the threshold between everyday life and mass spectacle.