We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Riding and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
I have a book that was recommended to me by one of my professors that I read in one sitting, Feck Perfuction by James Victore. The author is also a professional artist and he includes a lot of images of his art in the book, which I love to see. Like most artists, I have truly felt the hand of “Imposter Syndrome” keeping me from doing the things that I love. It is very easy for me to get hung up on small details and spend way too much time comparing my work and my life to other artists, wondering what I need to change to be more like them. This book is a great reminder to just say “Fuck it” and embrace the things that make you unique and take risks with your art. I love the inspiration and reassurance the book gives me to continue doing what I love and to not sweat the small stuff.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My primary focus of photography is street and travel. My art tends to come from a place of observation. No matter if I am across the world or in my own backyard I try to slow down and take the lessons of still life drawing, to spend more time looking at the subject than my own work. That is to say that I try not to have a preconceived idea of the finished piece before I have taken the image. Life is unpredictable, and if I am focusing on what I want to happen for my image I will miss amazing shots. When I am able to get amazing images by being patient and observing my surroundings is when I get most excited. I would say that art is never truly easy for me, even when I have hit a stride I come out of it feeling like my work is becoming stagnant. That restlessness that I feel with my art is what pushes me to learn new things and has brought me as far as I am now. I am still learning how to be content with my own art and my own artistic processes, that is something I will have to learn for the rest of my career and it is never an easy lesson. I make art for myself, I love sharing it and getting constructive feedback but it is ultimately for me and I will always be proud of what I make even if it’s only used as a stepping stone to higher ground.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I like to spend lots of my time out in nature, I love taking it slow and people watching so a trip to the park and maybe the beach is a must, perhaps even a picnic. I also like to explore new areas and find small local places to eat, I would like the trip to be just as new and exciting for me as well. I also love reading so many trips to many book stores would be expected.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, I would like to make a shout-out to all my fellow students of the Photography/Visual Arts programs. Without those who pushed me to grow with a friendly sort of competition to do new and weird things in my art I truly would not be where I am today. I would also like to recognize all the terrible professors that I had in different programs that pushed me back to photography when I was still deciding on a major, without them I would not have chosen the photography program to call home for those few years.