Interviews / Stories
Interview: Photographer Sam Geals (UK)
Tell us something about yourself
Apart from being a fashion and beauty photographer in the UK, I started out in a hardcore punk band, often going to concerts in my local area. Something which has subsequently shaped the way that I shoot now, and influenced some new and upcoming ideas.
How and when did you get into photography?
I was young when I first got into photography, I’d say about 12 years old when I first started thinking about photography and taking photos. I was surrounded by images of Henri Cartier-Bresson and films that were visually stunning to watch. I remember watching Blade Runner for the first time and being fascinated by the lighting techniques. To add to this I come from a very creative background. My mother is a typographer and graphic designer and my father has a keen interest in photography and technology.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is very much an escape, but it is also freedom to do what I want. Some people see travelling as freedom, and for some it’s snowboarding in the wilderness, and that’s what photography is to me.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I think my style is defined by what I’m looking for in my images. I often explore androgyny, power dressing and status through a melancholic viewing glass. I like to think my work is a comment on todays economy, society and the way our generation fits into this.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Most of my inspiration comes from photographers pushing the limits of whats possible. A big influence being Solve Sundsbo as well as the finesse of Mert and Marcus, Herring and Herring, Hunter and Gatti and the more artistic Formento and Formento. However, most of my ideas come from immersing myself in songs and films. Particularly at the moment I’m inspired by the cinematography in Dennis Villenueve films, including Sicario and Prisoners.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
I tend to have a general idea about what I want, especially for my personal work. I find that planning extensively can hinder my creativity and some of the best shoots in my portfolio often happen in spontaneous moments and under a lot of stress and pressure.
Studio, on location or both?
Definitely studio haha. It’s where I feel at home and have the most control. However, I have started to get out on locations more and just rely on natural light.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
A paid professional, although, I do sit in-between this at the moment. I work a retail job by day and shoot fashion and beauty by night.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
My most memorable session was working with my first agency model in the studio. The shoot was named Penumbra. It wasn’t only the amazing images we produced, it was the realisation that there is a lot more to a studio shoot than I originally thought. It latched me on to the idea that a model is a model, a make up artist is a make up artist and a photographer is a photographer. Each person has their own role, and when it all comes together, the contribution teams make to pull a shoot off is something so unique.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I think it has to be image based social media, like instagram and tumblr. I find more inspiration in the most random of projects, the unheard-of artists who are doing something completely off the wall. It comes down to people doing what they want with their art. I find that other mediums of art are my biggest source of inspiration.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I’m a Canon user through and through. I was taught on Canon at College and University. I still use a 5D MKII with the kit lens (24-105mm f/4). Everything you see in my portfolio has been shot with this camera and this lens. I’m a firm believer in working with what you have.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
The importance of networking and portfolio building could not be higher on the list for a photographic business. I built my portfolio and then started on the business side. But I guess thats down to how you approach it. You also need to work with the right people to achieve the best work. Once you start working with professional teams, thats when you produce professional work!
What do you think of our new magazine?
I think the most important thing here is that you’re positively exposing the work of creatives from all over the world, and it’s something which is often missed in the creative world. Creativity is a community and the magazine is becoming a community for people to show off their talents through the magazine and blog.