SAM DAMESHEK FOR ROWING BLAZERS
Fashion photographer Sam Dameshek — who, according to his website, “lives in the intimate details of his photographs” — is one of our favorites, which is why we tapped him for this past summer’s Warm & Wonderful shoot with Madelaine Petsch in Malibu. He’s been busy since, co-founding the luxury streetwear brand Wish Me Luck and launching The Sam Dameshek Academy, an online-based course for aspiring photographers of all skill levels. We recently caught up with Sam to learn more about what makes this talented courter of “light, color and energy” tick. (Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.)
Rowing Blazers: What about photography resonates the most with you?
Sam Dameshek: The ability to encapsulate people, places, things and feelings is something I couldn’t live without.
RB: How do you think photography and fashion relate?
SD: Photography and fashion’s relationship is an inevitable one. They relate because in many instances they need one another. Certain photographs are only as good as the clothing, and vice-versa.
RB: What elements of other people’s outfits do you find yourself noticing?
SD: Initially, for me, it’s always how things fit. Not in the obvious sense, but more about how much thought was put into (or not put into) everything — where the ankle of a pant sits, where someone’s t-shirt falls on their waistline, the length of the sleeves… You can tell when there’s thoughtful intention behind the way garments fit.
RB: Do you have a standard approach for a shoot?
SD: My standard approach is typically asking the question of “what do I want to achieve here?”; breaking down what will be needed on all fronts for that to happen; and then filling in the blanks.
RB: What do you consider a successful shoot?
SD: A successful shoot is simply a shoot where everybody — including myself — is happy and there’s no “in hindsight” comments.
RB: How do you get the most out of your subjects?
SD: In short, prioritizing their comfort and our connection. RB: What about Rowing Blazers resonates with you?
SD: I’m drawn to brands with a strong identity. A story. An overarching voice found in everything they do. [Rowing Blazers Creative Director and founder] Jack Carlson is a man of many interests and specific tastes. From my perspective, Rowing Blazers is an incubator, a canvas, and a home for Jack’s voice.
RB: Who are some of your personal style icons?
SD: At this point in time, I actually don’t think I have any “style icons.” I have a lot of things that influence my style, from what I'm consuming in music and media to who I'm hanging out with, where I am, how I'm feeling, my creative state, etc. For the first time ever, my style has been a product of specifically my taste, and as my taste develops, my style does as a byproduct.
RB: What are the three words that best describe you?
SD: Tall, dark and handsome.
RB: If you could live in any other era, what would it be?
SD: Damn, tough question. The turn of the century is a very intriguing time for me. Photography and fashion were in a place I’d love to experience.
RB: What’s your dream car?
SD: I just bought a ’91 Defender and that was my dream car, so I guess I need a new one. I’m gonna say something European, fast, and in the convertible family.
RB: You’re going to your favorite bar: what is it, and what are you drinking?
SD: Either Tower Bar for an espresso martini or the local dive for an old fashioned.
RB: How do you feel about the democratization of photography? Do you think Instagram, for instance, is a net positive or negative?
SD: I think Instagram is as helpful as it is hurtful. It’s hard to evaluate when it’s all you’ve known, but I personally find the same amount of fault as I do positive feelings.
RB: What are your hobbies outside of photography?
SD: Kicking rocks, complaining, watching paint dry… Oh, and sometimes surfing and skateboarding. To be honest, all of my hobbies have turned into different aspects of my profession, so the line between hobby and work is almost non-existent.
RB: If you weren’t a photographer, what other profession might you have?
SD: I would definitely be in the clothing or action sports business in some regard — or maybe an actor [laughs]. I was in a ton of plays as a kid.
RB: Do you have any advice for young photographers?
SD: Shoot as much as you can, trust your gut, stay inspired, keep learning, and keep trying new things.