MEET PHOTOGRAPHER | DIRECTOR: SAM ROBINSON / by Conor Bettendorf

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Road Trip; two words, that when put together, are synonymous with Freedom, Adventure and Fun. It's not often that those two words would make you think of "Career".. but in the case of our friend Sam Robinson; that is exactly what one road trip led to. In 2004, Sam travelled across America seeking nothing more than some time to travel, explore and take photos. But what he came back with, catapulted his passion into a full blown vocation as a photographer. 

As a young lad growing up between London, England and Barcelona, Spain, Sam grew up with a deep fascination in people; their interactions and and their behavior. Much of this fascination is a result of his parents' heritage and differences in culture. Photography became the medium he would most enjoy to attempt capturing these cultural differences and experiences. This desire to always be capturing raw, human emotion is what launched Sam into the upper ranks of world-class photographers. 

We had the pleasure of shooting a 6-day campaign with Sam and his team, beyond his incredible talent, we saw a man that just likes to have fun. Sam is an excited, passionate dude who wants nothing more than to be around other people and have an experience worth talking about. In those short 6 days, it made so much sense to us why his team is so tight-knit and easy-going. Who wouldn't be, around a guy like him? It seems as though Sam's whole life has been much like a road trip... an adventure, with a dash of freedom, and a plethora of FUN!

Now, it's your turn to learn a little bit about one of our beloved photographers from across the pond: Sam Robinson!

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Tell us about your art and how you got involved with photography?

My dad is an amazing illustrator and can draw with the ease that most of us talk. I was not gifted this talent but he did give me a camera at an early age to help ease my frustrations of capturing the world. From that point, I have always kept a camera with me. I use it to watch the world, tell stories, capture moments, people and life.

What was a pivotal moment in your career?

In 2004 I decided it was time I went and got lost driving around my childhood dreamland; America. It was just me, a medium format film camera, a boot full of clothes and film. I saw over 30 states as I weaved around from east to west, south to north and back across the country again.  When I returned to London I yearned to go back to America; showing people this project I had shot of people on Main Street, USA. I won a commission to go back and do it all again, this time, shooting portraits for a small tech start up called Skype. It was then that I realized this really was what i wanted to do and if people wanted to pay me to do it then all the better…

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What has been your favorite set to work on? Why?

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This is a question I am asked A LOT - it is virtually an impossible question to answer. I have been lucky enough to travel to every continent in the world, from Siberia to Australia and everything in between. I also shoot a lot in London, Barcelona and New York. Those are the 3 cities I have spent most of my life in. I love shooting in these hometowns just as much as I love a new adventure.

For me, photography is all about the people; not just the subjects of my images, but the amazing people all over the world I get to work with on every project. I remember a friend, a person or a connection before a place or a job. There are just so many amazing experiences.

There was that time I met Mickey Mouse… that was definitely up there...

What is one of your proudest moments in your career?

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I think my mum and dad are probably the people I most wanted to please in life. From my school exams to the first exhibition I had I was always trying to make them proud. I remember someone purchased one of my prints from a group show I had in London years back. It was one of the first prints I sold and I was so excited I remember telling my mum and we both cried together (with happiness). The idea that a stranger wanted one of my photos so much that they bought it for their wall..!!  It was a very touching moment, however I found out YEARS later that it was my MUM that had actually bought that print. She wanted me to be happy and excited. To this day I still double check every time someone buys a print that it’s not still my mum buying them.

What are some other things you enjoy when you aren’t shooting?

  Billy dressed as the cutest little Dinosaur

Billy dressed as the cutest little Dinosaur

Hanging out with this little guy… this is Billy, my little boy. I am all about family and friends. The idea of a great day for me is being with as many friends and family as I can squeeze into a place, laughing, eating, drinking and arguing (we are half Catalan after all, everything sounds like an argument)

I am lucky enough to travel a lot with work but there is no place like home…

What is your favorite part about being on set?

THE PEOPLE. People make and break a shoot but if it’s 4am and you are all up to shoot a sunrise and people are happy and excited to be there despite the cold or the early hours, then that’s pretty special… The team makes the project. It’s all about working with great people and making good friends. Nobody wants to go to work and have a bad time, so I try not to let that happen… there is always challenges but a strong, fun team makes for great anecdotes that we share on the way to a destination.

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What does #createmoments or #ponyup mean to you?

Go out there and create.  

What is one thing your fans may not know about you?

That I had no idea I have fans..?  Also, I love penguins, I’m pretty good at darts, and I used to be a lifeguard (another job I loved). And I’m allergic to snails.

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What advice can you provide for aspiring Photographers?

Go out and shoot! People often talk about making pictures that can help you get work… I built my career by simply taking a camera everywhere and capturing my world. I had very little agenda other than to annoy my friends and family with a camera in their face as much as possible. Never stop shooting. Go out with a camera and just shoot.

The work I shot on that second road trip across America was entirely for me. It had no end game, and no client to please. It was entirely for pleasure and it was invaluable. Also - you never stop learning. I’ve NEVER been on a set where I know everything. Every day is a school day; it’s just a school I love going to and a class I love learning in.

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What current projects are you working on?

Ahhhh so many. I have a long list of things I am working on… it’s more of a LONG working goal, but the idea is to always be shooting.

I am working on an ongoing project about Jump Rope. I’m working with national teams, capturing the sport from young kids, to older seniors. I am working with the UK sprint team on a really exciting project. I am doing a weird project with Clowns. I am always photographing my family and my surroundings. I am trying to make my son the most photographed kid ever (sorry Billy) and I am also learning how to make things out of leather and Hot Foil embossing… I am also in the process of making the world’s most eco friendly brewery - but that’s a whole different story.

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Check out Sam in action:

Website: Sam Robinson

Instagram: @sam_photography

Email: sam@sam-robinson.com

For Booking: 

UK - We Folk   USA - Bernstein & Andriulli   ASIA - Amanacliq