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Photo essay Conceptual


Photographer Sam Warnaar started a photoproject with a simple conceptual premise. What if you're cut off social media for three weeks? For most of us 3 hours would be rather intense let alone three weeks. The result is an intimate , silent and self reflecting series of color and black & white pictures.

Tell us about your background – what path led you to becoming a photographer, and to doing what you’re doing today?

My name is Sam Warnaar and I am an autonomous photographer from the Netherlands. My passion for photography started when I was about 12 years old, as a hobby. When I heard about a course at the Fotovakschool, I was very excited right away. From that moment on I knew for sure: I wanted to turn my hobby into my work.

When I was 17 I started the four-year course in Rotterdam. After years of experimenting, I found out that I like to make autonomous work. I started to focus a lot on nude photography. Themes such as vulnerability, self-development and strength emerge in my work. Through my camera, I try to get closer to myself and to make subjects such as self-development discussable.

Can you tell us more about the project ‘Contact’?

My project ‘Contact’ is the ultimate form of my vulnerability. Nowadays we are exposed to many stimuli and we are constantly 'on'. A mobile phone creates a constant urge for human contact and confirmation.

I experience this daily, which resulted in my project 'Contact'. For my project, I went away from all social contact for three weeks: three weeks without human contact. Just me and my camera in a cottage in nature. In search of my most pure and vulnerable self, translated into photography and video. My project is about self-acceptance, without needing others. What remains when all the human contact around me falls away? What choices do I make then? What do I really think?

My weeks offline were very intense. I was constantly occupied with my own thoughts, there was no distraction. There was no music, television or books to distract me. It was real withdrawal from social contact. I had time to think about where I am now and where I want to go. I definitely bumped into myself during these weeks.

What would be your dream creative project?

I would love to go to the desert and photograph with several women. I would like to go on a journey full of self-development, in addition to photography. Looking for our inner strength and capture it with photography. The simplicity of a desert in combination with beautiful naked women, is an image that I have had in my head for years.

What defines a good picture for you? Or what are you looking for in a picture?

I think everyone has their own interpretation of a photograph. But if I have to say what I am looking for in a photograph, I will say vulnerability. I also really like it when an image has a certain simplicity in it, a kind of step out of reality.

Which other photographers, designers or creative people are you loving at the moment?

Photographers such as Bastiaan Woudt, Sarah Punt and Rutger ten Broeke are incredibly inspiring to me. The abstraction, minimalism and the use of nude bodies really appeal to me.

© Pictures by Sam Warnaar