REBEL WITH A CAUSE : Sam Belden

–Interview with photographer Samantha Belden, curated by Carmen Henry.  
 

Introduce yourself:

I am Sam Belden and I am from Kalamazoo, Michigan. I am currently a student at Columbia College Chicago studying photography.
 

What inspired you to pursue photography?

My father lives in Washington State and the scenery inspired me to pursue photography. The landscape is so beautiful there and I wanted to capture the compositions and details I was seeing. My interest in photography started four years ago, but seriously three. I took a black and white photography class my junior year and half way through I knew photography was the career I wanted to pursue
 

What photo series of yours are you most fond of?

I am most fond of my photo series called The Edge. I have fallen in love with the landscape of the Chicago lakefront. I grew up on the other side of Lake Michigan, so it is interesting to compare the different landscapes.
 

In addition to shooting beautiful landscape pictures, you also take very interesting self-portraits. Do you have a preference between the two?

My preference is landscape photography, although I still do like taking self-portraits. I just like exploring and studying the landscape more. I feel I can express my views and opinions more through landscape photography at this point in my career.

One of Belden's self-portaits.

One of Belden's self-portaits.

Who or what inspires you the most?

Nature in general inspires me. In terms of photographers the New Topographic photographers and the movement inspire me. Specific photographers that inspire me are Lewis Baltz, Frank Gohlke, Robert Adams, Richard Misrach, Joel Sternfeld, and Victoria Sambunaris.
 

If you could take pictures anywhere in the world, where would you go?

That is a very difficult question. Of course I want to travel outside of the country later in life, but as of now I am still interested in the United States. So right now I would want to travel out West to start a series I've been thinking about for a while. If I had to go outside of the country I would go to Iceland.
 

How would your life be different without photography?

I can't even imagine how my life would be like without photography. I definitely would not be in Chicago. I would probably be studying something that I am not too interested in, even if it does provide a secure job. I honestly don't know and don't want to know how my life would be like without photography just because it is such a huge part of my life. If I'm not taking photos I'm thinking about my series and my ideas and observing my surroundings to gain insight in how I want to photograph.

Belden in Chicago, where she attends Columbia College. 

Belden in Chicago, where she attends Columbia College. 

Other than photography, what else are you passionate about?

I am pretty passionate about my schoolwork. I love learning and pushing myself in my courses.
 

Besides being a great photographer, you also have great style. Does fashion play a big role in your everyday life?

I like to say fashion plays a role in my life, but it is not something I think about every day. But it is important for me to dress nice or have a certain style because it is a way to express your personality.
 

Check out more of Belden's work in our gallery below or visit her Flickr.  

 

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