Today we’d like to introduce you to Enrique Samson.
Enrique, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in Mexico City in a family that was as Mexican, as American and French. I think that influenced my way to see the world and my photo aesthetics. My dad is a Modernist architect and a hobbyist photographer, so a lot of our time together involved shooting architectural photos when I was a kid. He’s the one who taught me how to use a camera, and I grew up playing in his office with his books, models and sketching tools. I enrolled in SCAD’s MFA Photo program seeking to educate and mature my personal style. This lead to more commissions, representation and industry recognition for my portraiture, documentary and luxury architectural/interior design work; the last two being what I enjoy the most. I’m currently focused on wrapping up the year with a couple of solo exhibitions for “The Navel of the Moon” in the frame of Atlanta Celebrates Photography and developing my architectural and interior design portfolio. The show is the first chapter of my ongoing project photographing Mexico with the eyes of an expat, in mid-20th-Century documentary aesthetics. It’s all shot on film, so it’s very labor intensive, which I like. The work has received a couple of awards and parts of it have been published and exhibited in New York, Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil. You can catch it this quarter in Photoville-Brooklin, AI-AP NYC, the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta, and the Atlanta History Center.
Has it been a smooth road?
The artist statement of my current personal project is partly inspired by a T.S. Eliot quote: “the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” I feel it reflects my life experience. I was introduced to my current profession–and I think I chose it–at a very early age but I took a detour and my undergrad major is actually in business. I climbed the corporate ladder for a while working in marketing, advertising, and national television, on the client’s side. Work and school led me to alternate living in Amsterdam, Mexico City, Madrid, Rome, and Atlanta for a few years, which is in line with my interest in exploring international cultures, but I was in my comfort zone. I was responsible for managing brands like Coleman and MrCoffee to Disney Club and the NFL in Latin America. It was rewarding in its own way, but I was always feeling more “at home” with my creative peers and I always kept in the back of my head the idea of doing creative work full-time, not just strategizing it and purchasing it. Then a motorcycle accident set my priorities straight and pushed me out of my comfort zone. It leads me to leave the corporate world and going on to do missionary work in Europe and the US, as a visual media producer. This brought me to Atlanta, where this not-for-profit headquarters were, and engaged me in full-time camera work. When I was done, I took a job as Creative Director for Norsan Group, a regional hospitality, and multimedia corporation based in Atlanta. My favorite part of the job was doing all the camera work for their restaurant brands. I actually still shoot for them, freelance. There’s also the challenge of being away from “home,” but it all worked out: In a trip to New York, I met my wife, Caitlin, and she moved down to Atlanta with me. She misses NY, I miss Mexico City… but we both love the ATL because it’s a beautiful place where we’ve made great new friendships, where we’ve found rewarding business opportunities, and its very efficient airport happens to be right between Mexico City and New York. “Home” for me now is wherever she and I are together. So we each earned a new home and it all worked out.
Who, or what, deserves a lot of credit for where you are today?
It’s hard to pinpoint one. I think we are the sum of our life’s experiences and interactions; our careers are no exception. I often think about what I owe to my family, the schools I’ve gone to, the jobs I’ve had, my friends… I mean, I’m sure it’s the same for everybody. Also, faith plays a central role in my life and God, for sure would be my top pivotal “influencer” if we want to call Him that. That includes putting in my way the means to inspire me to see my work as a calling and an obligation to continuously seek beauty in the creation of photographs; put them at the service of my neighbor and humanity as a whole. Our world needs beauty which brings joy to the human heart, beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence—to paraphrase John Paul II in his letter to artists. Then there’s Caitlin: the inspiration, love, and support that I have found in my wife, Caitlin, are a combination of all of the above, including beauty. I have a long way to go and I couldn’t do it without her. Concretely in photography, I think going to SCAD for a Master of Fine Arts was a very fortunate decision. It opened my eyes in many ways on how to mature a personal style, connect with the industry while attaining recognition and a good network in the fine arts, commercial and academic worlds of photography. It’s opened many doors for me that I would have found more difficult to knock on by myself.
Do you have a favorite type of client or project?
Yes! I’m in a stage where I’ve learned to work with the clients that are the best fit and refer those that are not to the right photographer. So I enjoy my projects very much. I’ve been increasing my architectural and interior design clients, and we have some projects booked and in the process of booking in Atlanta for the end of the year that I very much look forward to shooting. Also, as soon as I’m done with my thesis projects I have a list of architectural landmarks and homes in different countries and cities that I’m photographing for portfolio and personal pleasure. We started getting in touch with them and we’re ready to start running for it. I also want to continue the evolution of “The Navel of the Moon” including more architecture. So I’m preparing new trips to Mexico to photograph some of its Colonial and Modernist monuments and buildings, this time with my large format film camera.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
That’s a good question. I’ve made some bad decisions in life; especially due to my lack of prudence, excessive risk taking or listening to the wrong advice. But then again, those things taught me how to have prudence, manage risk taking, or better select who do I listen to. I mean, things like my accident, which set my priorities straight. You know what I mean? I don’t want to let those learnings go. So I feel in a way I’m thankful for those things happening. Everything is a blessing in disguise. One thing I would change from my past, though, is taking loans. Not even for business or education: Plan ahead and live debt-free.
- Website: www.EnriqueSamson.com
- Phone: 530-746-8622
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @enriquesamson
- Facebook: @enriquesamsonphotographer
- Other: LinkedIn/in/EnriqueSamson and Twitter @enriquesamson