Introduction to self
I always have trouble and feel somewhat uncomfortable when I have to introduce myself by written words alone. Like I’m in the back room of an aged Christian community centre attending my first tri-weekly AA meeting. Engulfed in the smell of stale cigarette smoke, value coffee in one hand and the overly cliché doughnut in the other. But here is goes… My name is Sam and I’m a photographer. And like the majority of photographers that occupy this planet, I’m an amateur. This pursuit is foremost for my own pleasure, but if I’m able to elicit emotional responses in others and stimulate thought in a few minds, then I would consider than an achievement. We are social creatures after all, and we have to urge to communicate and share (through a variety of means) while also looking for that odd bit of acceptance, welcoming any recognition, that’s ultimately leads to a form of personal development, with open arms.
An innocent, but I feel blinkered, question I and I’m sure other photographers may receive during general social conversation is, ‘what kind of photography do you do?’ Innocuous enough, but frustrating in the way that it is mostly put to me in the same broad unarticulated sentence you see above. It’s like asking what one fruit I like. Why would I choose just one when there’s such a diversity of flavours, colours, textures, and shapes.
My answer has now become well rehearsed… ‘Anything I find beautiful. I capture whatever captures my eye.’ Whether I’m shooting in a studio, undertaking a project or just walking around with my camera in hand; I just look for the beauty out there. There are of course certain elements I look for, or more accurately, gravitate to, when shooting… but the end result is always the same. To produce an image of quality: beautiful, interesting, and provoking.
Shadows and Silhouettes
This short showcase focuses on shadows and silhouettes and I try to encompass a variety of ways in which I observe their behaviour in this world. When shooting people for example, we rely on facial expressions a vast amount of time to tell the story or set the mood. And when this isn’t apparent we turn to other parts of information that are visible, such as body language or the surrounding scene.
What interests me about shadows and silhouettes is that huge amounts of information can be discarded, hidden behind an almost black silk sheet. But sometimes that information is not needed for us to easily decipher the photo, the meaning, the story. While on other occasions we have to work a little harder to find meaning, or even create it, thus providing us with the opportunity to use our imagination.
Silhouettes can hide completely or ever so slightly in the darkness, and of course standout as sharp as a knife. While both shadows and silhouettes have the ability to combine and blend, blur and transform, they manipulate the image and often create illusions and sometimes the story. Shadows solely have the capability to change shape and elongate, cast, creep and caress, bending round objects with finesse, becoming abstract in their expression.
The relationship between the light and dark has always been an interesting one to explore, and I like to examine how they work together, sometimes with and sometimes against each other, contrasting and highlighting, while illustrating and moulding the photo.
This is my first set in my series of shadows and silhouettes. My aim was to create a set of images that are not only connected through the subject matter but also through the visual representation. The set runs almost like a linear narrative, but as in all of my work, I like my pieces to be able to stand alone as a single image. So by combining images that each have a different colour scheme, I am able to provide that slight division of separation in order to achieve this.