Beauty in Motion: interview with LA photographer Sam Spence.
Updated: Sep 9, 2021
Samantha Spence, known as Sam, is a fashion photographer based in Los Angeles, California. With a background in dance, she uses movement as the main inspiration in her photographs. She started her photography journey as a pastime to her dance career but only started pursuing it professionally in August 2019. Sam had the opportunity to shoot Coco Rocha as her first experience in fashion photography, and it ignited her passion and confidence in her craft. "Everything really kind of fell into place after that. I am continuing to play with merging my passion for fine art photography and fashion photography."
Being a woman is extremely rewarding. I feel most empowered when I am creating self portraits. This gives me the space to be completely within my own thoughts and identity. I often photograph myself in the nude, which I have been told is “unprofessional” by some people in the industry. I don’t believe this to be true.
I think the human body is beautiful, and learning to love ourselves in our rawest form is a fulfilling journey. My body and sexuality is only mine to judge, because while I put it out there for other’s to see, there is no other person in this world that can change the way I see myself; only I hold this power. Knowing this is electrifying.
Seeing other women empowered is a gift. I feel that we are entering a new era where woman can embrace their sexuality and claim it as their own. We don’t answer to how other people perceive us; our definition of love and beauty is defined only by ourselves. I love supporting women by letting them know they are not confined to any definition of what a woman should be. Women are valid just as they are.
Don’t let anyone tell you there is a right and wrong way to represent yourself. Be authentic to who you are and if that doesn’t align with someone else’s vision, don’t give into the pressure of altering yourself. I also urge creatives to put themselves out there more.
One of the consistent patterns I see in young artists is they play a waiting game; they don’t think to take initiative. You are absolutely capable of doing big things, right off the bat. All it takes is initiative and tenacity. If you wait for permission to dive in, you will only ever stay on the surface.
Photography is one big artistic experiment for me. It feels like a luxury just to be able to create as an occupation. The most difficult thing about this profession is continuing to stay grounded in the artistry; I sometimes feel pulled towards working on projects that I’m not really passionate about just because they are considered “good opportunities.” I have to constantly remind myself that I create for myself, not for an audience. It’s easy to lose sight of that in this industry, especially with the pressure of social media.
Everything I ask of the model comes from a female gaze, and I never push a model to do something they are uncomfortable with. A lot of the time on set I will physically position myself in what I want the model to do before asking them to do so. I think it makes them a bit more confident to see me give things a try first. And if it doesn’t work for me, then we eliminate the idea and move onto the next.
Art expands beyond my photography. Art influences most of my lifestyle, so wherever I land and whatever goals may form will be rooted in my innate love for creating.
Something I’m always working on is showing up authentically. I want to be remembered for my art, creativity, and most importantly being genuine.
Photography by @samspencework