Samuel Bradley's photos cannot be neatly categorized. Wonderfully offbeat and somewhat quirky, they truly span the spectrum. As he tells us, "I'm battling with two different ways of working and I don't know which one I prefer. I think most people follow my work and blog for the more quirky, interestingly processed and sometimes a bit 'cliché vintage' photographs. They're accessible to a wider audience, they don't require a lot of explanation and invite people to make their own assumptions and construct their own meanings."
He continues, "Then there's the other side of my work that I think I've only really just begun to explore. The more fine art approach, with a lot of research and context behind it. The whole process is a lot slower, nearly always shot on film, and with an intended meaning behind it which I try to put into words and present as part of the work. Less people follow me for these photographs, but I've been getting more feedback from blogs and zines I admire, and even a few features. I prefer making these kinds of photographs, to me they feel more real, more valuable. But I know that you have to be versatile. I'd like to have a recognizable style, but I'd also like to be available for a variety of jobs. A big trap I think photographers fall into is to pigeon-hole themselves. It works for some people if their work is strong enough but I'm not ready to do that yet."
I asked Bradley to share the story behind the man and the wolf photo we featured a few days ago (see above). "I took the photograph as part of a project in the first year of my Photography degree," he says. "I was working with taxidermy trying to portray the gap between humans and animals. I was also looking at death, and the negative relationship between man and nature. This photo didn't actually get submitted as a final image, because it felt too commercial, too fashionable."
"In all honesty I wasn't happy with the project as a whole, but I got three of my strongest and most popular photographs out of it. The girl in the lake holding an owl, the suited man smoking a cigarette turned away from a stuffed fox, and of course the photograph you featured. I wish I could have created a more coherent series, but sometimes singular striking photographs are all you can hope for, and often end up defining you as an artist for a while."
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