Tod Seelie is a prolific photographer who's spent the last decade documenting Brooklyn’s underground band and bike culture.
Tod's work is a reflection of his life, which is centered around people like the Black Label Bike Club, Japanther, Todd P, Matt & Kim, The Madagascar Institute and just about every other marginalized artist and event east of the East River.
In addition to running his hugely entertaining, Suckapants site, Tod Seelie has photographed in fifteen countries and on five different continents. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The NY Times, New York Magazine, Spin, Men's Journal, Marie Claire, Jane, Vice, i-D, Paper, XXL, Art Forum, Art In America, Flash Art, Parade Magazine, Adbusters, Death + Taxes, and Hamburger Eyes.
Music in this video by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Japanther - "I went to school at Pratt with Ian and Matt from Japanther. They put on one of the best live shows. They play in places like Brooklyn bodegas and in the back of Uhauls. Part of my job as a photographer is to make their shows look as crazy as they actually are."
Parts & Labor - "Parts & Labor is a band I've taken lots of photos of. They're good friends of mine and I think they do interesting stuff."
Matt & Kim - "I also know Matt & Kim from Pratt. I've toured a lot with them, they're really great people who play good music."
The Death Set - "The Death Set are a band from Baltimore. They put on a crazy spazzy show that you should definitely check out. They're really fun to photograph too."
Monotonix - "People kept telling me about this band Monotonix from Israel. They were like 'you have to see them, they're nuts live!' I’m like OK, I don’t know what that means, but I’ll check them out. And they were right. They're insane! They light their stuff on fire, the lead singer dumps garbarge on their drummer while he’s playing... they even lift up the entire drum kit into the crowd and the drummer plays while he crowd surfs. It’s nuts! I started photographing them because I heard about their live show and then I was able to go on tour with them. Now, I actually know them on a personal level but we met because I was drawn to the insanity of their show."
Swoon - "The artist Swoon is a good friend of mine and she's responsible for the Miss Rockaway Armada and other raft projects we've done together. She's just such an inspirational person. She's so full of energy and optimism and she's impossible to intimidate. As your talking to her, she just sort of starts rattling off all these crazy ideas she has and she's just great to be around because you can feel her energy too."
The Madagascar Institute - "The Madagascar Institute is a collective of these crazy people who make cool things and pull off all these ambitious and imaginative ideas. They had a team in the condiment war that happened in Dumbo. It happened years ago and basically a handful of collectives decided to have a grand scale condiment-food fight of sorts. The weapons were condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and hot sauce... which turned out to be particularly devastating because it really stings in your eyes and it was just wrecking people. One team had dough bombs, which also worked pretty well. Teams built catapults and one team even built a tank, which was basically a hot dog cart with people on top of it. Afterward we all went swimming in the East River to clean up, which was pretty much as gross as it sounds."
Black Label Bike Club - "The New York Black Label Bike Club gang are interesting folks. They're some of the most individualistic people that I've ever met. They just decide what they're going to do and they do it - without ever looking back or thinking twice about it. A lot of people I know are intimidated by them but I think they're really great people."
Bushwick - "I moved to Bushwick from Bed Stuy about 5 years ago. I'm originally from Cleveland, so I like the dismal, industrial look. It's one of my favorite neighborhoods in New York. I like it better than Bed Stuy, which I had to leave because I had too many bad experiences associated with it. I'm sure there's bad stuff happening here but it's not as bad and maybe not as prevalent. It's more low key and I like the aesthetics of the neighborhood. It just feels comfortable."
Battery Park - "Battery Park along the southern coast of Manhattan is under-appreciated. I mean it's manicured and everything but it's still pretty nice and strangely interesting."
The Staten Island Ferry - "I highly suggest that people take the Staten Island Ferry, especially at night because it gives you a very cool view of the city."
Ad Hoc Art - "One of the galleries I really like is Ad Hoc Art, which is out in Bushwick. They specialize in street art and they're just really good people. They show a lot of my friend's work and a lot of artists get their first show there. I really appreciate what they offer."
Cinders Gallery - "The Cinders Gallery is on Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg. They specialize in sort of hand-crafted folkish art with strong narratives. They were the first gallery to give me a solo show so I'm indebted to them."
The Arm - "The Arm is another Williamsburg gallery that shows a lot of artists that I really like. They're really open to giving a lot of artists who haven't had shows yet a chance, which I'm a big fan of."
The Powerhouse Arena - "The Powerhouse Space in Dumbo is a great place to go if you want to look at photography. They usually have photography up on the walls but they also have a great collection of photo books out on display for you to go through, so you can spend a couple of hours there easily. "
Dashwood Books - "I haven't even begun to go through this store yet, but Dashwood Books in Manhattan is a photo book store with great collectibles, limited editions, signed prints and lots of one-of-a-kind type stuff. I have to admit that when I want to look at photography, I usually go to photo book stores."
Todd P - "To see the New York that I photograph you should go to the events that I go to, and Todd P is an excellent start. Todd P is a promoter who puts on these great DIY shows in often semi-illegal spaces. He's a really good guy and he posts all his upcoming shows on his website toddpnyc.com."
Critical Mass - "I'm really into bike culture and finding and supporting non-gasoline modes of transportation. The Critical Mass ride takes place on the last Friday of every month and is usually a lot of fun as long as the cops aren't being dicks."
Bike Kill - "If you want to see some crazy bikes and other wild stuff, you should check out Bike Kill. It happens every last Saturday in October. It's the best bike event in the city and it's run by the guys in the Black Label Bike Club. You have to come to Brooklyn for it, but people come all the way from California, so it's worth it."
Rated X - "As far as naked parties go, Rated X is usually the best. It happens every Saturday. Sometimes at Don Hills but it changes. At around 2 a.m. they have a hot body contest and a lot of people get naked for money. It's a lot of fun"
The Secret Dinners - "I have a friend who does these things called the Secret Dinners, he does it just for the hell of it. He'll find an abandoned location and then orchestrate a trip for other people to get there. So you basically have to find the place, then sneak in, climb in or do whatever you have to do to get into this amazing space. Once you're there, he has a giant communal dinner and performances by artists that he's inspired by. It's a lot of work and he gains nothing from it. That's something great about New York - guys like him and the fact that there are people who are excited to go to things like this."