Sam Hiscox

Sam Hiscox

My Life in Analogue — Stolen moments in the city with London-based photographer Sam Hiscox.

Beautiful women, sunrises, junk food and shopping trolleys pepper Sam Hiscox’s work like toppings on a pizza. His wish-you-were-there snapshots of wild youth and subcultural scrap have a sense of energy and urgency to them that makes it hard to look away.

As well as shooting huge icons like Kanye West, Julian Casablancas and Fatboy Slim, Sam looks to his immediate group of friends to capture intimate and revealing portraits that hint at wider stories beneath the surface.

We caught up with Sam to find out more.

When/why did you start shooting pictures?
I don’t know why I started shooting pictures, I was drawn to cameras from a very young age, before I can even remember. My parents told me I was always grabbing their camera and snapping from whenever I was able to hold things and press buttons without dropping them. It’s been a very natural path for me and I was always begging them for new, better cameras since forever. It’s still all I want to do, I love that you can really make someone’s day or inspire someone in an instant when they see your work.

What cameras do you use and what do you like about them?
I’ve used a bunch of different cameras in the past, at the moment I’m mainly shooting with my Contax T3, I needed a camera I could throw in my top pocket and take everywhere without it being in the way, it just happens to expose and focus beautifully well. The digital cameras I use commercially are relatively small also for what they are, the smaller and easier to carry without compromising quality the better

What things/subjects/locations are you drawn to in your photography?
Primarily I’m drawn to people, unique faces, expressions, odd behaviour, shapes, people doing things and not always directly or obviously for the camera. Every picture I take of another human I try my best to make sure that person’s character is a part of the picture. I like locations that are unfamiliar, it’s fun to explore new places and spend a few hours running around with someone seeing what you can make in a space you’ve never been in before from hotels to offices to forests, a new location is like a new adventure and I like to try and capture that spirit. I like to keep my subjects as broad as this too, different faces, different people doing different things. I’ve been working on a couple of documentary pieces which will be out soon. People doing things in their own little world is what intrigues me the most. I should have just said that at the start.

How would you describe your photography style?
Heartfelt. There’s a story behind every image

Who/what inspires your work?
When I first came to study photography and take a direction with my work all of the photographers whose work really spoke to me were female – Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Corinne Day to name a few. Larry Clark and his movies/photographs were also a huge inspiration when I started out along with the work of Weegee which may seem like a weird one but the aesthetic of his images is as raw as you can get – I mean, he photographed dead people. Since studying and being exposed to the world of photography this still rings predominantly true with the female influence. In recent times photographers that continue to inspire me are the likes of Cass Bird, Tyrone LeBon, Valerie Phillips, Ari Marcopoulos and Tim Barber. However my biggest inspirations are life itself and the work of those around me. My photographer friends have become a healthy drive and I look at their work more than anyone else’s – Matt Martin, Harry Mitchell, Eleni Mettyear, Milo Belgrove, Chad Moore, Pete Voelker and Francesca Allen, they are all superstars in my world.

What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
I’m blessed to be able to say I take pictures for a living. I feel bad sometimes, like I’ve got it easy, when in fact it’s completely eaten me alive and ruined my life

How do you share your work? Zines, books, exhibitions, blog etc?
The editing process can be torture, sometimes you just have to be brutal and scrap things you loved and try to forget about them – it’s quite a horrendous feeling. I’ve made a couple of zines and there are more on the way. I’ve had a blog since 2010 which I’ve used as a commercial and personal diary. I’ve exhibited in almost every Photocopy Club show since it was started in 2011 by Matt Martin – Matt’s a good friend and I helped him get it off the ground. It’s genius and the attitude so perfect I can’t NOT submit. Other than that I haven’t exhibited my work outside of projects with close friends. I’ll do something bigger one day, when the time is right.

Are your photos staged/posed or documentary?
My work is a mix of the two. It’s important for me to portray the character of my subjects whether it’s models, friends or complete strangers. I want people to feel life in my images and I like that sense to be created by the people in them. You don’t get this feeling if your subject is over directed. I always want my subjects to be themselves even if they are doing something they wouldn’t usually do. I use this approach with everything I shoot.

How do you hope viewers respond/engage with your photography?
I hope people see my work and feel inspired from it. Inspired to go have fun, inspired to be themselves, inspired to do something stupid and not care, inspired to go out and make their own original work. I also hope people remember my name and recognise my work, that’s the biggest compliment you can get.

What are your plans for the future?
Meet aliens, eat more, meet aliens, drink more, meet aliens, read more, meet aliens, make a mag, meet aliens, shoot more, meet aliens, open a pizza joint, share with aliens.

You can see more of Sam’s work on his website.