Photography / Rising Photographers

Love and loneliness through the lens of Sam Hellmann

"It’s all very personal and inspired by feelings I’m experiencing at this stage of my life."

Sam Hellmann’s photography career was completely accidental. “I actually studied cinema and not photography. I went to film school and started shooting behind the scene videos for a documentary. A producer then asked me if I could shoot set photography on her movie,” she tells me.

Recently, she released a series titled Love and Loneliness, a zine that explores how two opposite conditions can, sometimes, meet and coexist. “I had to do a selection of my personal pictures for an exhibit and was trying to find a link between them. I had been interested in showing different kinds of love for a while and at the same time always felt drawn to capture moments of loneliness…

“But there was a picture of my brother Liam that I couldn’t put in any category because it seemed to express both. He’s laying by a pool and the shadow of my hand caresses his cheek. As if someone was present and absent at the same time. The project grew from this photograph and I started selecting and taking photos that reflected love, loneliness, but mostly the intersection of both. It’s all very personal and inspired by feelings I’m experiencing at this stage of my life.”

Expressing truthful feelings through the images was, according to Sam, the most challenging thing about this series. “It’s a challenge because you want it to be personal but not too personal that people feel excluded from it. It’s about finding a way to translate an emotion that feels intimate and specific to your story so that the person looking sees in it her own.”

With a collection of candid shoots, portraits and landscapes, the inspiration behind her work comes from a mix of her own love stories and heartbreaks and her subjects are usually people she’s close to. “I started with my family, my friends, people who show vulnerability, strength, who move me and inspire me. The most important is the emotion within the person,” she explains.

Click through the gallery below to see more photos from Love and Loneliness and follow Sam Hellmann on Instagram here.

22 July 2019