Sam van Grinsven and magical Iceland

Features June 24, 2015

To celebrate Sam’s beautiful photographs in our very first zine, we had a cup of coffee with her and asked her some questions.

How and when did you start taking pictures?
I don’t really know how I started. It just happened. I started taking pictures with my fathers camera and I liked it. So after graduating I decided to go to an art academy to learn more about it.

Why is photography important to you?
Photography is just a medium to express my thoughts about the world. As a child I wanted to understand the world and I guess photography for me is a way to get hold of the big and never understandable world. I think not just photography but more the expressing of thoughts is important to me.

How do you describe your photographic style?
This is a really hard question. I think my work starts out with a theory on how we behave, think and feel. I try to expose those thoughts through my photo’s. It’s kind of a stream of consciousness. I think my pictures are not really beautiful but I hope they are interesting and raise some questions. Food for thoughts. As for how they look; I only work with daylight and that makes them soft but dark at the same time. The photo’s are posed and sometimes I alter the photo’s through cutting, crumbling or painting them.

Have you studied photography?
Yes I studied photography at the art academy in The Hague. I did not know anything about photography before. So I guess I learned a lot. I was young when I started the academy, an academy with teachers with strong opinions. I tried my best to keep my own style and opinion but they had a big influence on my photography. I hope I will lose that stamp some day. Good art in my opinion is really you in every way and has an strong original opinion. I think I lost my authenticity somewhere along the way at the academy.

What are your favourite subjects?
People. I find them fascinating. Especially the influence emotions have on everyday life. How we feel defines us. Lately I saw an documentary about people who are not able to feel anything any more. Those people where unable to live there life, they were shadows of what or better who they used to be. I try to show people the big influence of emotions on or life.

Do you have a favourite photograph?
No, I don’t have a favourite photograph. I almost never love a photo on itself. I love an body of work, a project or an artist.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My biggest hero is Andrej Tarkovsky. He is an filmmaker. The way he expresses his thoughts on life and the way he does it is wonderful. If I am ever just half as good as him I will be happy. He wrote a book about his work ‘Sculpting in Time’. I read this book every year just to know what and why I am doing it again. As for other photographers I would say Massao Yamamoto. The authenticity which I named earlier is present in his work.

Have you ever thought about giving up and why?
I don’t see it as giving up but yeah I often wonder if photography, or art as the bigger picture, is the right medium to express my thoughts and even worse that expressing my thoughts makes no difference at all. Why would my thoughts be more important then someone else’s?

Can you tell us a little about the latest project you were working on?
Hahaha, no not really. I find it difficult to talk about projects when working on it. I am still in the research phase and not really sure how to put it all in words.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
I read a lot and think a lot. That’s were my ideas come from. I start out with thoughts and end up with photo’s. I need a lot of time for my projects. When I try to visualize my thoughts I experiment a lot and there is always this point where I think I am not able to make anything. But in the end it always will come together in some way.

Where will you be in ten years from now in a perfect world?
I hope I can make a little difference in the world. I don’t know how yet. It really doesn’t matter as long as it makes me happy.

Sam’s work was a part of the featured photographers in issue #1


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