Sam Irons: Disruptive with intention

Photographer Sam Irons, born in London 1978, studied Literature at Trinity College before moving on to Brighton University where he received a BA in his chosen field. The son of two actors, Irons harboured childhood fantasies of being a film cameraman or a mountaineer. Perhaps appropriately, neither occupation is all that far removed from globe-trotting photographer.
 
Having described his work as being based on the idea of disruption, this is a theme which is clear to see in most all of his works. From his Grid Reference series-a collection of photographs presented without distinguishable marks of time or place-to his hauntingly beautiful One Hundred Clearings.
 
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43º40’43.00″N 4º37’33.62″E, 2009, Archival C-Type Print, 98cm x 98cm Photo: Sam Irons.
 

One Hundred Clearings, which is presented as a landscape box-set, was shot in Dumfries and Galloway. A visual exploration of one of the largest forested conifer areas in Scotland, the photographs are a black and white series of various clearings in said woodlands. The initial intention was for the project to be small prints shot on digital, but Irons wasn’t happy with the way they turned out so he went back and shot again on film. A 9 hour drive to get there, he says it took four tries to get it right.
 
The series is calm and moody, but somehow strangely ominous as well. As lush as the meadowy grass looks in the various clearings (which Irons assures it was not), you can’t help but to get lost in the dreary horizons – which is a very real possibility in a huge forest in Scotland, one would imagine.
 

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100 Clearings, 2009, B+W Inkjet Print on Hahnemuhle Photorag 310g/m, 14.8cm x 10.5cm Photo: Sam Irons.
 
In his series I Don’t Want To Get Over You, which was shown most recently in a 2014 exhibition at Hus Gallery in London, Irons presents paired, contrasting images with the intention of encouraging the viewer to draw their own conclusions as to their parallels. Of this, Irons says he is interested in the resonance between two things that aren’t necessarily connected in the usual ways.
 

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Untitled (CR/OC), 2013, C-Type Prints, 113 x 85.5 cm, 48.5 x 37cm Photo: Sam Irons.
 
You can explore more of Sam Irons’ work, and find out about upcoming showings, at his website samirons.com
 
 

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