Focus: Sam Livm
An interview and focus on the work of NYC based film director and photographer Sam Livm.
What prompted you to get into photography?
I wanted to document my life experiences with others and share it with the world. Inspire them truly.
What/Who inspires you? How has this affected the kind of work you produce?
Cinema really inspires me. I grew up through films when my parents weren't there to teach me about the world. Cinema influences me in the way that I have a burning desire to capture real, one-of-a-kind moments in photography. Tamara Lichtenstein's photography really moves me. I just want to live inside her head for a day like Being John Malkovich.
Which do you prefer, film or digital? And why?
Digital. I don't like the random surprises that film comes attached with. But that's because I'm a controlling person. I like to show the photographs to the model and team where we can improve on the image and make it even more special.
What is your favourite piece of equipment?
Besides my camera? My bluetooth speaker. It's tiny enough I can hold it in one hand and shoot with my Sony a7 on the other.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your work?
Real, raw, and with tender love.
Has photography lead to any unusual or exciting opportunities for you?
It's clichè, but photography has given me the chance to meet a wicked amount of different people I wouldn't otherwise had the opportunity to. It forced me to be more open minded when learning about other people and their way of going about life.
What is your view of photography as an art form?
I think photography is an art form. It's a form of self expression like anything else. I do believe each art medium has its own limitations and boundaries. So I encourage anyone to explore other genres of art that interest them. I think they'll find themselves discovering something they couldn't otherwise with just one art form.
Do you intend to represent any particular themes or ideas throughout your work?
The last year or two was about the nostalgia for youth through nature, nudity, and chasing sunsets. I'm slowly fading away from that and have been gravitated towards darkness and madness. But I think I'll go through various phases in my life. I think it's natural. I embrace evolution and I find the messiness of a changing life to be beautiful. I don't want to be twice my age (23) from now and still talking about the same shit.
Are there any essential tools of the trade you recommend for those starting out in photography?
Go out and shoot everyday. Don't care too much about the gear and throw yourself out of your comfort zone. Thrive in uncomfortably. You can study every photo book out there and imitate all the great photographers of the past but if you don't live your life, you will never have your own voice. And that, is the most important thing about being an artist.
Lastly, how would you summarise your philosophy and attitude towards photography?
So when I was 18, I took way too much shrooms once (about 6 grams) and I forgot everything; all my life experiences and memories just disappeared. I was in this black void in my head just drifting away for what felt like a really long time. It felt really fucking lonely and cold. I spent the next day thinking everything over and I made up my mind that my life should be about creating life experiences, shared with others. That carries over to my photography. Because in the end, nothing really matters when you're gone.