Fashion and Advertising photographer Sam Robinson is behind The Fableists’ Look Book shots. Sam is owner of The Shop Studios, a photography and film studio in North London and home to a collective of photographers and filmmakers, each with different skills and passions. At the end of August, Sam took us on a journey in London, shooting for The Fableists’ first look book. Here we get to know him a little bit better.
The Fableists > First of all – thanks so much for getting involved with The Fableists. You’ve really added a very slick and professional look to our clothes! What made you want to play with The Fableists?
Sam > Basically I am good friends with some of the people who set it up, so I was committed to it whether I wanted to or not!! Luckily the collection is awesome, the idea is something to be proud of and I loved the concept that Brothers and Sisters came up with for the shoot. So it was an easy choice to get involved.
The Fableists > You’ve said that, “My photography is about honesty. It’s about seeing: colours, characters, moments, people, personalities and stories. It’s about fun, friendship and feelings” – how perfect for our brand! Was this true of our shoot with a bunch of kids?
Sam > Absolutely. My passion in photography is trying to capture a moment between moments; something you’re not looking for but that just happens. With this shoot there was an almost chaotic freedom to the kids and what they did, so capturing these honest moments was easy. I like to put as few restrictions on my models as possible therefore allowing them to create something. This shoot was perfect for that.
The Fableists > On the day of our shoot, you said that people have told you the reason you’re great with kids is because you don’t have any of your own yet. Do you think there is truth to that?
Sam > Totally not at all! I hope we have some soon just so they can wear these clothes!! Sincerely though, I say this more as a joke than anything else. I love photographing kids because they leave everything at the door when they come in. No matter how much a kid wants to act, or be someone different – if you create a space for them to be free and be kids then they almost always can’t help themselves and this is when you get these magic moments of authenticity and character.
The Fableists > You’ve shot all over the world. Which brands have you shot for?
Sam > I am lucky enough to have a huge global client list. I shoot mainly advertising stills and films and I have clients ranging from Disney to Dell. Recently I have shot for Nike, Lufthansa, Nestle, Sony and, of course, The Fableists.
The Fableists > Is there a client that you would absolutely love to work with?
Sam > My father was in a Levis ad when he was a young and free hippy in the 70’s and I think for this reason I have always wanted to shoot a Levi’s campaign. But to be honest my passion is capturing people and capturing actions – I would look forward to working with any client that wants this.
The Fableists > Do you have a favourite shot from your shoot for The Fableists? Which one and why?
Sam > I particularly like the picture of the bubblegum
I like the way she looks really in control and content in this situation, they are jamming and it sounds pretty good. I also love the colours in this shot:
The Fableists > Looking at your career to date, which work are you most proud of?
Sam > Cue the cliché! I am proud of all the projects I work on, they all have their main challenges and rewards. I wouldn’t like to name a project but I am proud of anything I can work on that brings a team of talented people together where we can complete it as a collective to produce something beyond the original brief. Basically any project I feel we have delivered beyond the concept even thought it could reach.
The Fableists > You also work as a director. Is your approach to working in both mediums the same or different? And how so?
Sam >This is a relatively new process for me. I have been directing films and TVC (Television Commercials) for about 3 years now and I hugely enjoy this. The transition was incredibly easy for me and I have since discovered the way I shoot is actually more like directing than anything else, making the transition a pretty simple side step. Whether print or stills, for me it is about people, it is about emotions and it is about capturing something authentic and honest. The approach is pretty much the same; make people feel relaxed, give them the platform to create something with me and I am there to capture it.
The Fableists > None of the kids who appear in The Fableists’ shots had any modeling experience. Does that make a difference for the way you shoot?
Sam > This is a bonus. I very often work with street-cast people and actors or models with little experience. What I am looking for is real emotions. You don’t need to be an actor or a model to have an emotion and sometimes they come with a preconception of ‘who they want to be’. I then have to dig deeper to find something real. For me I see very little difference between actors or models and people with no experience. I try to create an environment that people feel comfortable enough in to share a performance regardless of what experience they have.
The Fableists > You work within the fashion world. Do you think it can embrace a move away from ‘Fast Fashion’?
Sam > My main business is advertising and fashion is a part of this certainly. Fast fashion is something our culture is obsessed with, we have a fixation with speed altogether. Ethically I don’t agree with fast fashion and would support anything we can do to remove this trend. Like most ethical problems we are driven by the financial reward and this is the hardest problem to overcome.
Projects like this remind you quality, morals and good ethical beliefs should be the real drive we use when we wake up in the morning. If we can leave greed, financial desires and quick fixes at the door we would be in a much happier place socially. Heavy ending to this interview, but in essence, if we can make people stop and think about what they are buying and why we have achieved something. If we can also make them smile and feel a positive emotion from this project then we are really achieving something to move forward with.
Thanks for inviting me to be a part of this project.
Check out some examples of Sam’s work.