Sam Irons interviewed by Contact Photography blog

Thursday, 4 June 2009

a conversation with sam irons

Landscape photographer Sam Irons was also recently selected to be taken on by LPA Futures. His images are those of quiet exploration and contemplation, in which landscapes are sparse and stripped of context, encouraging us to re-evaluate the space. I spoke to him briefly about his practice:

How have you found the journey of finishing university to being recruited by a commercial agent? Can you tell us how you’ve reached this point…
Since graduating from Brighton, I have worked freelance as a Location Scout. This has allowed me to continue with my own practice, relatively unimpeded by financial pressures, or the worry of how to ‘succeed’ as a photographer. Basically like a continuation of Art School. I’ve shown when I could, and continued to make work that I like, or tried. However, at some point it feels like you have to make a choice in what you aim for, and thereby how you are going to support yourself. I was very lucky in that the LPA Futures competition was my first go at it – although in itself it’s no guarantee that clients will want to commission me…

What do you feel are the main themes recurring in your work?
Basically landscape as an allegory for my experience of being in the world- and as there’s a lot of it that I don’t understand, I’m drawn to landscapes that are not so easily interpreted, that leave you asking how or why they are like that.

Your images are quite clean, and almost geometric in the composition, to the point that the places you photograph take on an element of the surreal- what are you searching for/considering when you take an image?
I think photographs are always surreal, but I also definitely encourage it – I think it’s about defamiliarising yourself, reconnecting with the oddness of being in the world. And again it comes down to not knowing – both photography and life hold this promise of knowledge that they never quite deliver on.

Do you have any advice that you can offer emerging photographers?

I can’t really offer that much at this stage of my career – only that it’s much less exhausting to stick to your own vision rather than trying to conform to others’.

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