Barbour International: #ForTheFreeSpirited – Sam Christmas

This week in our #ForTheFreeSpirited campaign, we met up with London-based photographer Sam Christmas.

September 4th 2017
In the Barbour International #ForTheFreeSpirited campaign we're giving you an insight into the lives of six creatives who embody the free spirited attitude and style of Barbour International...
We caught up with professional photographer Sam Christmas, to discuss what he enjoys most about his career in photography, and what advice he'd give his younger self. Find out what Sam had to say...
Please can you introduce yourself to us and tell us a little bit about what you do and why it’s so unique?
I’m a professional photographer based in London and I shoot mainly motorcycles, cars, custom culture and the people and lifestyles that are inspired by them.
What I’ve brought to automotive photography is, I hope, a level of authenticity and personality both in the people and the machines that I shoot. I’ve avoided the hyper real, overly Photoshopped imagery that is pervasive in the field and have gone for something that feels more authentic. And for me it is about the people and lifestyle around the machines, as much as the machines themselves.
Why did you make the decision to take this direction and not follow convention?
I don’t see my job as a photographer as particularly unconventional, but perhaps that is because I spend my time in East London! But if conventional means something like an office job, then for me that was just never an option. I never pictured myself in that scenario or assumed that was something I needed to do.
I think life should be approached as an adventure and I have tried to fill mine with as many places, people and experiences I can. Luckily I have realised quite early on, that for me a career in photography could enable a rich and creative life… not necessarily money rich, but experience rich!
If you could give your younger self advice on the following subjects, what would they be?
I’d tell myself to think about what inspires and excites me and then figure out what career paths could lead me into that world. I’d tell myself that I can get to wherever I want to go, as long as I stay focused on the goal and work hard each day to get a step closer to it.
Even if you’re doing something you enjoy, you still have to put in the work to become successful. Don’t do it because you think it’ll be easy. Do it because you enjoy it. I would also ask myself about whether it was really necessary to go to University. Nothing beats experience.
There’s a song lyric which goes ‘Fashion’s so ugly, it has to be changed every 15 minutes, but style is something versatile, like in the way you move, or the way you smile.’ And I totally agree with that, it’s about being confident in yourself, knowing who you are, and what suits you. Dress to please yourself not anyone else.
Sam wore our B.Intl Hasp Crew Neck Sweater paired with our B.Intl Regular Denim Jeans.
Some people are born confident, some people aren’t, but either way you can definitely build it. If you do things that challenge you, things that are hard and uncomfortable or even scare you, you will grow in confidence every time you come out the other side and you will be a bigger person.
If you do something you enjoy, you will feel free. You will only feel trapped if you are stuck in a place or career you don’t want to be in. But even if you are in that position, it’s never too late to make choices to free yourself. Freedom is simply a choice, so take advantage of that.
What is your essential everyday kit?
On shoots I’m often found lying on some grimy garage floor or pavement, so I like to keep my clothing functional and hard wearing. I’ve learnt the hard way that if I dress up on a shoot, the clothes will end up ruined.
I almost always wear jeans- my Barbour International Regular Jeans are perfect- hardy, comfortable and warm. On top I like to have layers as you can always take clothes off if you’re too hot, so I usually wear a T-shirt, a chunky jumper like my Barbour International Hasp Crew and a big coat.
Explore the campaign here and shop the Men’s and Women’s collections.