Sometimes I come home with nothing to show for my ventures but wholly fulfilled by the time I spent away.
Sam JohnsonPHOTO . November 8th, 2019
Who are you Sam?
I’m currently 20 years old and living on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. I was born in the UK but moved over here when i was younger.
Do you know what are you looking for with your camera?
I think just as we all have different tastes in fashion and music we all have different tastes with imagery. For that reason i’ve never really been confident answering that question; i’m just attracted to scenes which satisfy me personally, it’s hard to specify those things until they’re in front of you i guess.
Take those 2 references, a half-closed plane window and city road at night from the back of a car. In these pictures, we can see a black frame that sets the context. What do you try to convey by showing this ‘frame context’ instead of shooting the scene without it?
I do this to add depth to the images, to give a sense of near and far. It also acts as a visual guide to the focal point of the photographs.
Are you wandering around alone looking for the best shot or are these scenes just appearing in your life?
Both, i recently figured out i spend anywhere from 15-20 hours a week intentionally making photographs, and by intentionally i mean driving or walking with the sole purpose of making images. Aside from that i carry cameras with me every time I leave the house.
Is this constant research having negative impacts on your everyday life? Like you don’t fully live the present moment?
I like this question, but i feel it’s not such a simple one to answer. I find myself approaching photography in different ways day to day, some days i’m not so much interested in the photographs i make but more so the new places i go and just being present in the process of exploring.
These are days which are deeply cathartic and sometimes i come home with nothing to show for my ventures but wholly fulfilled by the time i have spent away. Other days i am more motivated by the opportunities that i come across and i get more satisfaction by the things i find and photographs i make.
What camera do you use? +What’s your post-prod process?
I predominantly use a fuji xpro2 and a mamiya RB67. I don’t shoot as much medium format film as i would like to currently. It’s just not really a viable option where i live in terms of developing and general cost, it’s definitely a medium that teaches me a lot about making photographs. I edit using adobe Lightroom.
Are you still living in the UK? If so, isn’t hard to find those amazing skies there?
At the moment i’m in Australia so thankfully blue skies are a dime a dozen. I will be back in the UK around February 2020 so ill have to do some adjusting to the conditions.
This curious wave picture looks a bit more like the unreal works/montages you were doing some time ago. Could you tell us how did you reach those colors?
In order to achieve the pink tones i use flash gels, hence the coloured illumination of the foreground.
You’re young but we can already see a deep evolution in your works through the years. It seems that nowadays you’re more into darkness mixed with pink/purple vidid tones. Did you reach your visual goal or do you think it’s more like a step that will lead to your true style?
Continual change is something i’m always trying to hold onto. The last thing i want to do is get stuck in a rut. I try to approach photography with an open mind, ultimately i want to be able to make photographs no matter where i am.
Could we say you’re a bit obsessed with what’s happening behind all these lighted windows you shoot at night?
Trying to imagine the lives of the people living inside those yellow frames is fascinating I guess :)
The suburbia project is something i’m very proud of, as i said prior adapting to new environments is something i value highly when making photographs. For me these windows each tell their own stories. I find that the obvious desire for privacy is what makes the windows so enigmatic. The ambiguous nature of the luminescent glow which is most commonly a single sheet of colour truly leaves the interpretation up to the viewer.
Where’s your skate? Why don’t we see it so often anymore in your recent posts?
I skate almost as much as i make photographs, posting it just doesn’t appeal to me so much anymore.
What’s next for you?
I just want to keep making images and evolving as a photographer. Im really only just getting started and there is so much i haven’t delved into yet. Portraiture is something i’ve been wanting to get into for a while now.
What are you doing to do just after having answered to this final question?
Leave my home and go for a swim in the ocean.
Sam Johnson is a British photographer living in Australia.
You can find his work on his website or on instagram.