Interview 06 - Sam Johnson

Minimal Zine interviews Sam Johnson about his eye-catchy and surrealistic photography. He is from Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia and his work is getting recognition among the instagrammers. You should follow him!

How you introduce yourself to a person you just met?

What’s up I’m Sam.

Were you born to be a photographer? Or is it just a hobbie, side job?

That’s a difficult one to answer, the problem is that I don't consider myself a photographer at all. I think as photos have become more and more commonplace on social media, a grey area has been created between the term photographer and instagrammer. My early interest in Kanghee Kim brought me to understand this grey area. To answer the question, everything I create is for personal satisfaction. 

What is it about photography that excites you?

Being in the right place at the right time and having everything come together as you had envisioned, is very satisfying.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I think just like having a taste in fashion or a taste in music it changes all the time. I used to really into making composites but I became weary that I was digging myself into a hole of being labelled an, ‘Instagram artist’. 

Can you describe the first photo you took that you were proud of?

The photo of the red socks poking out from the bed, has always been one of my favourites.

Do you want your images to be recognizable as yours? Like where someone could say, that’s definitely a Sam Johnson. Is that important to you?

It would be great if that were the case, it’s definitely not something I think about though. 

There is subject matter that you explore frequently in your work - clouds, mirrors and that female arm to name a few. You said once in a comment that your work is “purely for visual pleasure” but I’m curious why you are drawn to these kinds of elements and what they mean to you?

Clouds are just something I have always felt get overlooked by everyone. The way in which they hang above us moving around making all sorts of shapes and patterns is very prepossessing. All I meant by that comment is that there is not a lot of depth in my images. I think photography can be used as a medium for telling stories but personally if I were to focus on that side of it I believe it would take away from the visual elements. 

Escape, fantasy, and travel are other themes I notice that you address in your images. Did you arrive at these themes early in your artistic development or is this a new area of exploration?

I think the escape/fantasy themes came naturally with my interest in surrealism work. Like I said my direction is always changing, and right now I am really interested in working with models. 

Who is inspiring you on Instagram these days? Can you give me your top 5 right now?

That’s easy, @tamejawdin @levimandel @lesliezhang1992 @devinluns @davidbrandongeeting 

All images © Sam Johnson 

Find him on Instagram @samjsn

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