Behind the lens with Sam Robinson
Sam Robinson is a talented English photographer currently resident in North Vancouver. You can find him documenting a variety of action sports events along the Sea to Sky corridor. Sam is the resident photographer for Cypress Mountain where he leads the charge in documenting Vancouver’s next way of young athletes. Learn more about his path to becoming a visual storyteller and the obstacles he has faced along the way.
Final Throwdown | Cypress, Mountain
How did you end up living in British Columbia?
My partner and I had been travelling the globe for 9 years. Spending time living in Australia, travelling south-east Asia with spurts in Whistler in-between. I had always dreamed of living in the mountains something that was so foreign for me growing up. The opportunity to live and work in a destination world renown for action sports was the final selling point.
Where are you from?
I hail from Bexhill-On-Sea, a small, sleepy town on the south-east coast of England. Without much to do there, my friends and I would jump on our bikes and head off into the woodland countryside, it was there that my love of mountain biking was born. This love of mountain biking blended with my increasing interest in photography and technology, borrowing Dads 1-megapixel digital camera to take photos along the way.
In my late teens, I decided that teaching might be a good career, so I moved to London and went to University. Along the way I realised that to be a proper teacher I would need life experiences, not just what I learned in the lecture hall, and so I have spent the last 10 years or so gathering those experiences.
Why did you start taking photos?
In the South coast, I would escape to the backwoods with some friends. Mountain bikes in tow, I became the designated photographer for the group. When my friends were pretending to be Steve Peat, I was trying to capture my inner Dan Milner.
Whip Off World Championship | Whistler
What is your favorite thing about documenting events?
To me, it’s about documenting the moments that may go un-noticed. It is the reaction of the crowd, the focused determination of the athlete and the nervous anticipation of the spectators that can be picked up by my photos. I always remember an event not by what the athletes did but how the crowd engaged with the athletes and then take that inspiration home to dream big and shoot for the stars.
What led you to Cypress Mountain?
I had always dreamed of working on the mountain and being a part of a community bigger than myself. Cypress Mountain quickly became my home away from home. Over the years, I have found new ways to contribute to the Cypress team. Using photography and documenting the athletes honing their skills every day on our mountain has been my way of giving back and has made me really excited about the future of snowboarding and skiing in BC.
What is one of your favorite Cypress Mountains events?
I had the pleasure of documenting the Chill Foundation rail jam competition. It is an event that resonated with me because it started with clear skies but ended in adverse conditions. Seeing these young athletes push themselves and compete is truly inspiring.
Burton “Chill in the Park” Rail Jam | Cypress, Mountain
What has helped you succeed in the industry, beyond the talent?
We grow up being told, do something you love. I couldn’t agree more. When you mix talent with passion it results in something that means more than either. The show must go on and I want to be apart of the show!
What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
Connect with people and say yes to opportunities when they appear. Also, surround yourself with people who elevate your skills and support you in your journey. This has led to me respecting and admiring work of others in a positive light versus living in a space of negatively. I strongly believe that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Quoting my inner Roman philosopher Seneca.
Crankworx | Whistler
What is your take on social media?
I personally view social media as a tool to help spread my photography to people interested in similar fields as I am.
Instagram is a fantastic tool to display images. I use mine as a portfolio and documentary outlet for my current projects. I love how you can connect with the subject you have worked with and link together via hashtags. Instagram is also a sort of creative library, where I can get inspiration and travel tips, as well as seeing how others in similar fields to myself put out their content.
Rider Casey Brown | Whistler
Where have you travelled?
In the last 10 years I have lived and worked in both Canada and Australia, and have visited around 30 countries. I always take my camera with me, and find that hunting for photographic opportunities in foreign places is a great way to see and experience things that you would not have seen otherwise. I am fascinated by cultures other than my own, and try to capture that in my photography. Be it a busy marketplace in Morocco, or a quiet, peaceful temple in Cambodia, I travel, explore, and experience the essence of a countries culture through the lens of my camera.
Spinal Tap Park Jam | Cypress, Mountain
What’s next for Sam Robinson?
2016 for me was a busy year full of meeting people, making connections, and setting up plans for the future. Next year is hopefully when all that planning pays off. I will still be taking photographs for Cypress, and in addition will be lending my services to the great people of Chill Vancouver, who inspire youths working through adversity, teaching them snowboarding as a way to help build self-esteem, life skills & resiliency through every aspect of their lives.
I will continue to travel with my camera and plan to travel to Japan in April to see and capture more of that amazing country. But for now, I am happy having a lot of fun with my camera and capitalizing on the amazing opportunities that working in Vancouver is offering me.
Learn more about Sam Robinson HERE