Chicago-born, New York-based photographer Samantha Friend enjoys creating images that are “uncanny yet grounded in the undeniable reality from which they derive”. A portfolio rich with colour and intrigue, her most recent set of images focus on “the inherent excess we find in the modern recreational experience”. We see Samantha visit parks, wildlife sanctuaries and other tourist hotspots, capturing our interactions with these semi-artificial worlds.
“I love to photograph what I know and know well. As a proud participant in all activities I document, I am fulfilled in getting to be an active maker during the experience, then bring the work into a context that walks the line between celebratory and critical once complete,” explains Samantha.
Her nostalgic, documentary style fits the different notions of leisure explored in the images, adding a warm glow to the series. Throughout, there’s numerous shots of humans interacting with small animals like birds and squirrels, and it’s a fascination Samantha also shares. “I think our relationship with wild and captive birds will interest me until the end of time,” says the photographer. “Engaging in any space where one is holding an animal instead of a phone, remains incredibly rewarding for me both visually and mentally.”
In Samantha’s images she’s pushes the idea of recreation further by prolonging the activity a little longer: “For me, these isolated documentations are meant to give us a second chance at involvement, environmental appreciation or hopefully overall, perspective critical thought.”
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