Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet Sam Watson of Sam Watson Photography

Friday, June 21, 2013
His photography fits perfectly within the ScrantonMade ethos: celebrating the artists and landscape that make the place we call home so beloved to us. Meet Sam Watson of Sam Watson Photography...and definitely stop by and talk photography with him at Arts on the Square

Hi Sam!

Tell us a little about your company and what inspired you to start it.

I wish I could tell you I stole an invitation to a Grateful Dead press reception, grabbed my camera, and the rest is history, but that just isn't the case. I guess the story goes (so far)  is when I was in my teens my uncle Wes gave me a book of Linda Mccartney’s “sixties: portraits of an era.” Her photographs of many of the musical genius’s that defined that generation; Dylan, Hendrix, Joplin, the Stones, the Grateful Dead, and of course the Beatles, inspired me, even though, at the time, I didn't even own a camera. In time I acquired an old 35mm film camera and just started shooting, simple as that. No formal training, no workshops or classes, just a roll of film and my eyes. My parents grew up in the 60-70s so I think it’s only natural that I'm attracted to the music and certainly the organic and natural “free form” aesthetic of the time period. Very spontaneous and improvisational but with a clear direction. That organic foundation and essentially “learning how to learn” has made all the difference in my line of photography whether it be shooting landscapes or portraiture. It’s really been a grassroots experience, having mainly displayed and sold work at First Fridays and through social media. I've been in the business since the day I picked up a camera, and I don’t plan on putting it down anytime soon.

Have you always known you were an artist?  What led you to photography? 

I think the arts were something that just came natural to me as opposed to anything else.  My mum was always very creatively sound so I think that’s really where it originates. But what really lead me to photography specifically was the power of the still image, most notably the work of Robert Frank. His images are raw, gritty, off-kilter and simple, yet are also complex; full of truth, and beauty and emotion. My college professor at Ursinus College, Don Camp, really stressed the importance of the narrative or “the story” within the still image. Once you have a solid narrative of what you want to tell the viewer, everything else will fall into place. It doesn't matter if you have the greatest equipment, if there is no real ethos intertwined into the still image, it falls apart. Being inundated with so many more images than ever before, where everyone is a “photographer” it’s hard to distinguish yourself from all of the white noise. There’s a lot of really great stuff photographically out there, there’s also a ton of crap, and it’s harder now more than ever to break through and really get your work noticed.

Tell us a little about your photography aesthetic and areas of interest.

Robert Frank once said in an interview “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” The aesthetic I try to capture is one of truth and beauty and the organic relationship between the two. Establishing a visceral dialogue that pulls the audience into the photograph. Even if some of my images are not necessarily deemed “beautiful” like ducks on a pond, I still try and capture the truth, which in my mind in turn makes it beautiful. For example, I created a body of work in which the narrative was documenting abandon spaces. These were desolate man made spaces run down and forgotten about that were being transformed and overtaken by Mother Nature. To some the pictures are raw, gritty, and off kilter but with correct use of light, and space, and time the images are just as beautiful as the concept which completes the narrative.  In tandem with the more fine art documentary side of my work, music has also always been an area of interest that has shaped my aesthetic. I try to blend the two together. Having interned at music magazine Relix, gave me the firsthand experience of photographing the organic chemistry that musicians create on and off stage.

What will you be featuring at the Arts on the Square festival?

A mixed bag of my documentary fine art photography as well as images of local and national musicians at play including Coal TownRounders, Cabinet, Miz, A Fire With Friends, G. Love, Allman Brothers, Galactic, Lotus and many more.

How do you make your workplace an inspiring place to be?

We all know any artistic venture isn’t created in a vacuum so I try and surround my work space with as much different outlets for creativity as possible whether it be in literature, the sciences, music, or theology. I went to Ursinus College, a small liberal arts college, near Philadelphia as opposed to a strictly art school because I wanted to experience other avenues and platforms that I could bounce off of to find inspiration from. I’ve also collected a lot of vinyl records over the years and have a record player set up beside where I do most of my editing, so the turntable’s constantly spinning.

Is there any other information you would like us to share/highlight about you or your work?

I’m always interested in doing freelance work and commissions. Be sure to check out my facebook page and website If you see anything you like I’d be happy to make a print for a nominal fee. Cheers. Upward and onward.

Follow Sam Watson Photography:
Instagram: @therealgreysquirrel

Follow Arts on the Square & ScrantonMade:
Facebook:  Arts on the Square and ScrantonMade
Twitter:  ScrantonMade
Instagram: @scrantonmade_blog
Pinterest: ScrantonMade

No comments:

Post a Comment