Sam Dow - The weather was ideal
NEW ZEALAND PHOTOGRAPHY CURATED BY
CHRISTINE MCFETRIDGE AND TALIA SMITH
The Situationist theory Dérive underpins much of Sam Dow’s artistic practice. Dérive literally means to drift. It is a technique of unplanned passage or journey through a landscape, with an awareness of psychogeographical effects; letting oneself be drawn by the lure of the land and the encounters one experiences there.
With this in mind, Sam became interested in studying a group of people constantly drifting. Initially unsure of what he would find, he came across Housetruckers. These are an eclectic collective of individuals and families who convert old trucks and buses into mobile shelter; 'people who prefer an unattached and transient lifestyle to more conventional living. These people and their road worthy homes started appearing in New Zealand in the mid-1970s, and their way of life is still strong today.'
The images themselves convey a sense of the relationship people have to each other and to place, and, seen particularly in his striking portraits, also suggest Sam’s own identification with Gypsy culture.
Sam's current project, The Lucky Country, explores these ideas further. After drifting to Melbourne, he is seeking to investigate whether it is possible to give Australia one specific cultural identity. By travelling around Australia, Sam hopes to meet people of different cultural backgrounds who call this place home. He also intends to document the landscape; turning his camera on the 'interaction between the people and the land on which they live', acknowledging the significant reliance of the former on the latter.
- Christine McFetridge