Samara is a photographer, designer, and digital illustrator, though she is probably best known for her fine art photography & documentary street photography. She has photographed in 13 European countries and across the USA for over 20 years and is now a photographer in Akron, Ohio. As a master of visual storytelling, much of her work is composed of scenes that reach inward to awaken an emotional response from the viewer- be it through confronting the loneliness, struggle, intimacy, joy, humor or pain of a subject. She has an eye for unique compositions and a knack for elevating the everyday moments we often take for granted. Always searching for those hidden designs that are constantly shifting and transforming all around us- moments that perfectly align then are gone in the next breath.
I crave to travel and explore. I love memories and dreams and the feeling that surrounds each picture I've taken. I enjoy sinking into those moments and reflecting on the hidden inter-connections between each element, each person, each treasure, each life. Our differences and forgotten similarities. Choices and alignment and breath. Heartbeat earth and man-made design. The beauty of compositions that constantly form and re-form all around us. Soft lines draped against crisp edges, a curve of midday sun folding over dark arched doorways revealing shadows of a stranger's form floating through my camera frame. I get lost in it all. Trying to capture lightning in a bottle, tears from all the pain, joy of new things to come. A craving never satisfied, only propelling me forward to enfold closer a thousand more memories of shifting moments. Binding beauty around my heart. Are you a collector of unique photography or interesting artwork? Do you prefer never before seen angles of cities, streets, landscapes or people? I'm not your typical photographer and I love to find and create new perspectives from scenes we daily see and take for granted. I like creating art that draws you in and moves you- to laughter, to tears, maybe even emotionally conflicts and challenges you. One-of-a-kind photographs from cities across the USA to Europe. I have photographed many countries: France, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Czech. Republic, Hungary, and Switzerland. My photos are of black and white photography, the homeless, children, elderly, cemeteries, statues, nature, trains, pictures of doors and windows, birds, whales, butterflies, corners of buildings, shadows, even trash. I truly believe you can find design and beauty in everything we see. I am a digital artist as well and use photoshop and illustrator to create artwork from my photography or other inspirations in the form of illustrations, digital collage and digital composite art. Most of my favorite themes center around the homeless and outcast, race and political satire, BIPOC art, liberal vs conservative dichotomies, LGBT art, and gay christian art. I am a LGBTQ photographer and LGBTQ artist in Akron, OH / Cleveland, OH. I invite you to check out my work and I hope you enjoy it.
Look again. at first it’s not what you might consider beautiful– just trash and brokenness sadness the homeless begging for touch (not money) diagonally cutting across European faces streets, doors, statues and signs simple reflections of a tree, mountain, leaf protesting bombed out buildings and lonely trains at night the graffiti of a moment gone. Though somehow it strikes the gut cord of ambiguous emotion compassion and love ironic humor questioning societal norms of recognizable aesthetics those that dictate what and who exists on my walls and in my heart. Only pretty faces and pretty places. but not that– not them... they, are the outer-fringes of what was to be community fellowship unity now structured through only frames urns of memory fragile jars of clay. The root of my art speaks at the intersection of faith, politics, race, sexuality, gender and justice (see these more personal works under the menu tab "projects"). In these times of divisive rhetoric and division in the world, I hear a calling in the wilderness for something better. A desperate cry for hope. I believe we need to acknowledge the pain and atrocity that's a part of us. To look deeply, honestly and collectively lament. Only then can we bring a healing balm to try and begin again with everyone invited to the table. To really listen to each others experiences with a deep-seated level of listening. To set aside our pre-conceived opinions, our defense mechanisms, what we've heard about "those" people, or what we've been taught, and just sit and hold space for the struggles of other humans. To examine the nuances, the rawness we hear in our neighbors plea– in our forgotten selves. To cultivate a practice of true listening and vulnerability. Not the superficial listening of the masses, armored up and "listening" for a way to win the argument, justify a way out of the uncomfortable feelings, or exonerate ourselves from all accountability. Rather, love requires that we actually walk a mile in another's shoes. And perhaps in really hearing and coming to understand others experiences, we might just see more clearly the truth and be able to reclaim a more inclusive, expansive spirituality that looks more like the person of Jesus, instead of the white-washed tombs this "nation founded on christian values" has become.
The photographs I share with you aren't just typical shots the average jo takes. It takes time and training in the 'way of seeing'. From degrees in art, photography, and graphic design to hundreds of hours of extensive study in countless classes and on the streets- watching people and learning the nuances of interactions and behaviors. From training on old-school 35mm and medium-format cameras to other photographic equipment and dark-room printing techniques to high-end professional DSLR cameras and digital printing methods. From the months spent traveling to locations around the world, to countless hours of post-production work in editing and narrowing down to the best shots out of thousands, to precisely printing, matting and framing each piece by hand- I've invested a lifetime into these images. Sometimes these moments are captured with meticulous timing after hours of searching and waiting for the perfect symmetry of lines to fall into place. Other times it's the intuition and patience for finding a clever and unique angle and framed light, or knowing when a composition is balanced just right that it tickles the soul. Like the feeling of falling in love, you come to innately know when the decisive moment is upon you, and it's now or never. The years of experience I've gained in photography also informs my other artwork and visual designs. As a conversation between text and image, they seek to prompt, nudge, encourage, uplift and plant seeds of justice, love and hope. To reveal those connections between humanity, art, design, nature and God while pointing us back to the original Creator of everything. Hopefully opening-up new ways to relate and connect to people around you, down to the family member you might not even really know. Breathing life in your home and bringing a daily reminder, a change in perspective, a shift of the heart, a stirring toward something better– a moving from outward-in and inward-out. A full circle, with eyes fully opened. I endeavor to create images that make people stop and think. Something that tugs at your soul, brings back a forgotten memory, creates a space to release and cry, reflects your own struggles, or reminds you that you're not alone. I hope my art encourages others to remember that the earth still reverberates with hope and melodies of beauty around every corner.
Samara is a keen observer of humanity and the streets of life. She masterfully times, frames and captures the unfolding energy of unplanned moments through emotional stylistic compositions. She sees what many others don't– those fleeting yet defining subtleties of everyday existence. Interlaced with clever social commentary and a passion for finding raw authenticity, her photography is both gritty and captivating. Images that whisper of hidden stories and invite you to dive deeper and challenge your preconceived perceptions.
Samara's portfolio also intermingles graphic design illustrations that center on conceptual, social-critical, and religious themes. Samara uses her artistic voice to stand for LGBTQ+ rights, BIPOC, and the homeless. Rich in humor, irony, justice, freedom, joy, sadness and love– here you will find the full spectrum of the heart.