Artist Spotlight: Photography From Sam Bowers

The_Father_of_the_BrideHow long have you been doing photography? How did you get into it?

 

I’ve always had a degree of interest in photography. Both my parents were booksellers and we always had samples of the next season’s art and photography books coming into our house. I had been flipping through them, just absorbing the images for as long as I can remember. I finally started pursuing photography almost five years ago and have just become more passionate about it since then.

  

I noticed you have two series in Weavver (210 N. Malden) this month. Your wedding series is very abstract. Is this because you want viewers to question how they typically view memorable events?

 

The wedding series was a continuation of a project I started back in 2008. It was an exploration of what makes a photograph generally accepted as “good,” an attempt to prove that compelling photos did not need to feature breathtaking landscapes or gorgeous models. It was more focused on everyday beauty – a brown palm tree with the sun shining behind it or an old man eating a burrito at a taco shop. In the process, it became something all its own, taking on an accidental, abstract, and impressionistic feel. I went about it in a very shooting-from-the-hip way, shooting with a 35mm Holga without using the viewfinder or focus. I saw this wedding as a chance to further the series since most wedding photos have a pretty distinct feel to them. I wanted something very different, if not completely opposite.

  

Was it actually shot a wedding?

 

Yes, this was the wedding of two of my friends from high school. It was in early May 2010.

 

Barbara_with_Father

Your other series, The Slow Departure, is something entirely different in that you’re showing a comparison between two or more photos per piece. However they all give insight to losing a loved one. Is there an inspiration behind this series?

 

This series is about people who have lost or are losing someone close to them to a mental illness. In fact, most of the subjects pictured in the photographs are people close to me – friends, or their immediate family. I have watched a family friend succumb to early onset Alzheimer’s, my best friend’s mother drift away as a result of schizophrenia, my father struggle with alcoholism, my uncle lose his battle with depression – it really is a personal subject for me.

 

The Slow Departure has this case study feel to it, but are you also trying to give viewers an insight to how these loved ones passed?

 

Not necessarily. The details in each photo are there to reflect the small things that the two people are no longer able to share. Grace can’t take a smoke break with her brother anymore, Marilyn can’t sit with her husband in bed and just enjoy being together, and Rachel can’t stroll on the beach with her mother. In my experience, it has been these small things that may seem insignificant that have driven home the loss much more than the bigger and more apparent vacancy that that person has created.

  

Are the two series at all related?

 

No. I arrived at the ideas for each completely separately.

 

Grace_with_Brother

How are you shooting your photos? Film or digital?

 

I mostly shoot on a DSLR, though occasionally (as in the wedding series) I will shoot with film. I do enjoy the quality of film, but digital is just much more time/cost effective for me at this point.

 

Do you do any work in post (Photoshop, filters, etc.)?

 

I do a little bit of work in Photoshop – mainly work with colors and contrast. I may also do a little dodging and burning, but nothing too complicated. I try to keep it pretty simple.

 

Are there any upcoming projects or events that you would like us to know about?

 

The Cypress College Student Show opens on April 25th with a reception and award presentation on May 5.

 

Check out more from Sam Bowers @ http://www.smbphoto.tumblr.com

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