Q&A with Photographer Sam Carkin

Q&A with Photographer Sam Carkin

New Hampshire native Sam Carkin is a third year business administration major with a concentration in marketing and interactive media. Besides his passion for for photography, he enjoys skiing and travel.

According to Carkin, he has “a lot of pride for his home state of New Hampshire” and wanted to “show people all that the state has to offer.” You can view more of Carkin’s portfolio here or his Instagram account: @releasethecarkin

Artistry Magazine sat down with Carkin spoke with him further about his work.

ARTISTRY MAGAZINE (AM): How would you describe your work in general?

SAM CARKIN (SC): So it all started out in high school I thought I was going to be an architecture major. My advisor encouraged me to take a lot of art classes and be able to communicate what I had in my head visually to others in some manner. In high school it was mostly through oil painting, I did some spray painting, more traditional art mediums. Then I got into photography as I was graduating, coming into college as a new way to challenge myself. I feel that a lot of my work is communicating an idea that I have in my head through the photography. A lot of my photos I try to do either with longer exposure or different things like that. Some of it represents the scene I see before me. But some of it is representing how I see the scene in my head. If I do something like star trails where you have these streaks going across the sky, it creates something more of a surrealistic type of look. Really just coming up with unique ways to look at a location, unique angles to shoot it at. Trying to capture color that’s a really big thing that I go for, the colors of the location. Telling my own story, my own spin on the location that I’m shooting.

AM: Is photography your primary artistic focus now?

SC: Oil paints are expensive so college doesn’t really mix as well with that. I think the more time I’ve spent developing photography and my skills the more attractive it’s become to me. I initially got into it because it was a way with which I could instantly have a piece of art. Whereas oil painting you spend weeks and months perfecting something. With this you just push a button and it’s there. But since I’ve started I’ve learned so much about what goes into a photo and how much time goes into, which is way more than I’ve ever imagined. I feel like that’s also allowed me to get much more creative and put my own style on things. Realizing all that you can learn in photography. I feel like it’s something you can never master because there’s always a new technique or a new skill or a new location to shoot that presents a whole new set of challenges that you can overcome. That’s what I really enjoy about it.

AM: What is the significance of the specific scenery shown in the pictures?

SC: I think it was just trying to get a wide variety. Different seasons, different locations, different atmospheres. Showing a variety of everything the state has to offer. It’s unique in that you have the ocean, the mountains, and the city all within a one hour radius of you. It’s very, there’s just a lot variety you can experience there.

AM: How does your creative process look like?

SC: First would be scouting out locations. That would be either when I’m walking in Boston and I see something that I think “Oh I want to photograph that” I’d just make a mental note to come back there. Once I have a location down I want to shoot or if I’m traveling somewhere and I know where I’m going I’ll research that location try to figure out what the environment looks like. Before I went to Oregon for spring break I did a lot of googling. Trying to get pictures that other people had taken of the area to get a feel for it, what it really looked like. What type of landmarks and features I could expect to see. Once I’m actually on location the most important thing for me is the lighting. So waiting until super early morning, 7 or 8, or waiting until later in the afternoon, 3 or 4. To get that good lighting to get good shadows make the picture pop more make the colors look much better. Just learning to slow down. Compose each shot very intentionally. Have a purpose behind each shot. Know why it is set up how it is. I want a shot that just wouldn’t work if it was any different than it was. Taking the time to look around me and notice things whether they be big or small that would make a nice composition. And then bringing that all together in the shot. from that point it’s the editing process. Going through the camera raw, bring the white balance to where it should be. Going through editing contrast, editing color balance, editing most really aspects of the photo but not too heavily, I want it to be pretty close to the original. But shooting in raw you have to select which details of the photo you want to keep, which ones are not as important. Shooting in raw, getting it to my style and liking and then saving and then possibly printing it or keeping it on a digital file.

AM: Is there a particular piece of art, art style, artist, or culture that has inspired or influenced you?

SC: I don’t know if there’s necessarily any specific artist. Anybody who is doing anything creative with a camera is cool to me. Anyone who is experimenting with long exposure or different filters or different methods of taking photos. Those are really cool because they take you out of the routine and gives you new skills to try. It’s just a fun learning process to be able to create something. When you do get it to the level that’s acceptable to you and show it to people and they go “Wow, how did you do that?” Just creating pictures that make people think and question, “How did you do that how is that? Where is that?” Anything that makes people think and rewards taking a second look at the photo.

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