Samantha Goss, a friend and once a beautiful muse to me. A muse to herself and one of the most wonderful and creatives souls I have ever met. Her soul and her passion are expressed through her art. Samantha is a storyteller but one like no other. Her work is dark, sophisticated, and romantic all at the same time. It expresses her most inner workings, her loves, her fears, her thoughts, and her wants. The cool tones and the seamlessness of fantasy in her pieces depict a sort of loneliness that could only be made this wondrous by her. Here at Conceptual Magazine, we invite you to keep looking at her work and hear more about her!
CONCEPTUAL MAGAZINE: Tell us about yourself. How old are you? Where are you from? Where do you live? What do you do exactly?
Samantha Goss: My name is Samantha Goss, I’m 24 and I am a conceptual portrait photographer from Charleston, SC.
CM: What made you begin doing photography? When did you first pick up a camera?
SG: I always thought my photographic journey began when I received my first DSLR, Sony Alpha 300, when I was 16 years old. Thinking back, I have always photographed everything. From disposable cameras, webcams, point and shoot, pinholes… just everything. I have been doing that my whole life. I would say my true passion began when I was 13. I only had a webcam and sometimes a point and shoot, but it was everything to me. I loved creating. Drawing was always one of my favorite hobbies, but with photography and editing, I was able to achieve my visions a lot easier and clearer.
CM: Tell us about your photographic style in more detail. How did you develop it? How has your style changed? What made it evolve?
SG: My style is very whimsical and romanticizes anything I want to say through my work. I have always been like this too. I look back to the images I used to create as a kid and they are honestly not far off from what I am doing now. I still have flowy dresses in my work; I still have that fairy tale vibe to my work. The most notable difference in my work over the years is easily quality and being able to tell a story clearly. I used to have such a hard time creating what I was feeling. I did not know how to freeze my thoughts into one solid image that told it all. That was during the time I was doing a lot of writing and poetry. It took a lot of practice and I did not have anyone to guide me. I could never afford things right off. I always had to work hard to have the things I have and I am so thankful every day for everything.
CM: Why did you choose to create fantasy work or conceptual photography?
SG: I have always been a storyteller. Whether I was writing songs, poetry, dancing, singing, just anything that could express my heart - I did it. This type of photography was no different. I want to always express myself and for me, photography has been the easiest way for me to do just that.
CM: Your images tell such beautiful and sad stories. You seem like you have so much to tell. How do you come up with your concepts or develop your ideas? What inspires you?
SG: I inspire myself. Nature inspires me, clouds, oceans, dreams, love, hate… all these things inspire me. I started telling stories that were make believe. Just my own little stories for the fun of it. Slowly over time, it started to always be about my life. The majority of my work is based on events that happened in some point in my life. I have images that talk about grief, my dreams, happiness, a childhood memory, or even a new memory. I do still have images that are just little stories I want to tell that have nothing to do with me exactly. I feel like the best way to find inspiration is to find it within yourself. With that, I am able to keep the fuel going.
CM: What is your workflow like?
SG: It is simple for me. I think of an idea, I draw or write it out, and I go photograph it. I am really good at knowing exactly what I want for an image. There are very few times when I just take a photo and go into Photoshop and just play around with it with no direction. My photoshoots only take five minutes, depending on the difficulty of the image.
CM: What other types of photography have you experimented with?
SG: I have done a wide variety. As far as what I used to photograph, I’ve used large and medium format cameras, along with 35mm, crop and full framed dslrs, pinhole cameras, and even photograms. I’ve developed in both black and white and color process along with color toning and I’ve used multiple paper types including fabric. Now, the type of photography itself, I’ve done fashion, fine art, conceptual, landscape, wedding, product, and all other forms of general photography for the public. My favorite by far is my conceptual works. That will always out rule anything else.
CM: Is your photography influenced by other artists? If so, which?
SG: Not really. I know my work is not 100% unlike other people’s, but I try my best to keep a clear mind and that generally comes with not looking at other people’s work too much. I have photographers I love, but my work is heavily influenced by mood. Whatever the mood of the image is supposed to be, that is how I tone it.
CM: Any other artists that you love?
SG: Sally Mann is a wonderful photographer and I’ve been looking at her work for a very long time now. I also really love Alexander McQueen’s designs. He always had something unique to say through his designs and I loved that about him. His shows were like no other and were always visually appealing.
CM: What projects have you done or accomplished that make you feel proud of yourself?
SG: Any time I complete an image, I feel proud. It says something about me, about my work, and about my heart during that time. I have always stood behind my work and sometimes I stand behind it so much so that I never ask for advice. I feel like art is such a personal thing and for someone else to tell you it is wrong in any way is to tell you that you are wrong for feeling a certain way.
CM: Are you working on any special projects at the moment?
SG: I am not working on anything that is super-secret. I have been working on various series for the last two years. My most recent one is all about finding beauty in loneliness, the mystery of that foggy feeling that comes from being lonely. Finding a point in loneliness that eventually makes you happy in a sad way.
CM: Have you exhibited your work? If so, tell us about those adventures?
SG: Yes, I’ve been very lucky to exhibit in various galleries across the country and even overseas. Every time I find out that my work has been accepted somewhere I am overjoyed. I never think people like my work or even pay attention to it. I do my work for myself because I love it and in hopes of connecting with someone else out there.
CM: What has your work brought to your life that you would have never experienced if it wasn’t for photography?
SG: A community. I am in a wonderful community with amazing artists full of support and love like I’ve never experienced before. I try to engulf myself in all of their beautiful souls every day because with them, I do not know what my life would be like.
CM: Is photography your business or do you do anything else?
SG: Photography is my passion. I’ve come to the point where I never ask people what they do, I ask what they’re passionate about. Go and meet people. Ask them what they do and once they start to tell you what they do as a day job, ask them what they’re passionate about. Their eyes will light up when they tell you about their love in life. I’ve been doing this and I can’t express the amount of happiness I see and experience with someone who talks about their passion.
CM: What are your plans for the future?
SG: My plans have always been to continue doing what I love, to continue connecting with others, and to continue to find ways to help other people through my photography.
CM: Anything else you would like to talk about or tell us?
SG: Thank you so much for being interested in my work. I can’t express enough how important it is to me that people are supporting me. When I first started out being super open with my photography, I had a lot of people stop talking to me for various reasons. I know it seems dumb and honestly, it is. Over time I’ve learned that my journey isn’t about people who hate me, it’s about me and my growth. It’s about meeting the people I’m supposed to meet and helping others out in any way I possibly can.