[Interview] Visualizing Tranquility: Serge Hamad x Samsung Art Store

on July 5, 2024
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Walking along the beach takes me back to my childhood, looking at reflections on the water and the way the horizon keeps changing”

— Serge Hamad, photographer

 

Serge Hamad is a visual storyteller whose multifaceted talents as a journalist, photographer and artist have informed the rich tapestry of his work. Having documented sociopolitical issues in war zones earlier in his career as a journalist, he now captures calm and serene seaside images as a photographer. Hamad’s work, including the highly acclaimed “Relax” series, captures tranquility in his signature style and also supports human rights groups with its impact.

 

Born in the Mediterranean, Hamad has been profoundly influenced by his lifelong fascination with the sea. His photography, characterized by comforting and reflective qualities, has gained widespread recognition from global audiences. Since joining Samsung Art Store in 2020, his work has gained an even wider following as people have interacted with his art in new ways.

 

This June, Samsung Art Store added two more of his notable pieces — “Beach #61” in the “Colors of Pride” collection and “Beach #64” in “Hello Summer.”

 

In an interview with Samsung Newsroom, Hamad shared his creative process and how his background and life experiences shape his art, as well as the profound impact his evocative images have had on viewers.

 

▲ Serge Hamad

 

 

An Artist’s Journey

Q: Please describe your journey into the world of visual arts. What inspired you to move in that direction?

 

Earlier in my career, I used photography and videography to document various sociopolitical issues as a war zone journalist. In 2011, I decided to shift my focus to capturing more sincere and lighthearted scenes with my lens.

 

With the “Relax” series,1 my first body of work in fine art, I wanted to share peaceful and placid images with human rights organizations and support them with the proceeds. The public response well surpassed my expectations, so I decided to continue on this path.

 

 

Q: Your “Relax series is well known. What inspired you to shoot a series on the beach?

 

I was born on the Mediterranean coast, and the sea has always fascinated me. Walking along the beach takes me back to my childhood. I used to love looking at reflections on the water and the way the horizon kept changing.

 

My multicultural background, being half North African and half Westerner, has profoundly influenced my artistic vision and the themes I explore in my work. This unique blend of cultures allows me to draw from a rich tapestry of traditions and aesthetics, especially when it comes to colors. It has given me a broader perspective, enabling me to see and interpret the world through diverse lenses.

 

 

Q: How do you make your beach photography so engaging?

 

When it comes to capturing an engaging image, planning and timing are crucial. Planning is more than just checking the weather before a shoot — it’s also about selecting the right filming location. For example, I would go to a beach near a marina if I want a shot of a boat on the horizon. To capture a pelican diving into the sea, I would pick a specific beach and go there an hour before sunset. The rest of the atmosphere depends on human interactions with natural elements.

 

 

Q: Why does the beach hold so much significance for you?

 

Consistency is my top priority when developing a collection. I started the “Relax” series at the beach because it is one of the most relaxing places on the planet for millions of people, including myself. I enjoy working at the beach because it reminds me of both the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea from my childhood.

 

I started the ‘Relax’ series at the beach because it is one of the most relaxing places on the planet for millions of people, including myself.

 

 

Collaborating With Samsung Art Store

Q: How do you choose which pieces to share with Samsung Art Store? What emotions or themes do you wish to share

 

I work with Samsung to select pieces that align with a particular themed curation because that way, I can focus on the message delivered to viewers. I strive to convey tranquility and harmony through my pieces on Samsung Art Store.

 

 

Q: Samsung Art Store featured “Beach #61” and Beach #64” in its June collections. Can you share the meaning behind these pieces?

 

▲ “Beach #61” (2023)

 

Beach #61 was shot in California. The rainbow-colored lifeguard house symbolizes tolerance.

 

▲ “Beach #64” (2023)

 

Beach #64 is more of a friendly invitation for the viewer to follow my footsteps on a walk at the beach.

 

 

Q: Of all the works you’ve made available on Samsung Art Store, what are your three favorites?

 

I’d have to choose “Beach #4,” “Beach #37” and “Beach #32.” All three photographs show how humans share nature with seabirds.

 

▲ “Beach #4” (2011)

 

“Beach #4” uses a minimalistic approach to convey serenity with natural lines and colors. Before taking this photo, I wondered who would call a taxi to go surfing. It was only when the car approached that I realized it was a lifeguard vehicle.

 

▲ “Beach #37” (2016)

 

I couldn’t resist capturing this scene of a seagull resting on a dune that looked like a charcoal painting.

 

▲ “Beach #32” (2014)

 

Even if the seagulls in “Beach #32” had left and weren’t in the shot, we would still know that they had shared the dune with humans and enjoyed it together. The footprints of both humans and birds on the same dune symbolize their different influences on nature.

 

Embracing culture in our homes is always a great idea, and The Frame does just that.

 

 

Embracing the Future

Q: As an artist, how do you feel about the impact of technology on the art world?

 

Technology has always impacted my work and influenced my approach to photography. As a photographer, I use various tools every day to express myself — and different situations and subjects calls for different tools. Improving technology means giving artists more powerful capabilities to express themselves, so I embrace both analog and digital tools.

 

In my opinion, artists in all kinds of disciplines have always benefited from innovations. During my career as a photographer, I have seen the popularization of imaging technology to a level that made it accessible to everyone. I believe this has created new artists and will continue to do so. The main thing to keep in mind, though, is that technology is a tool. The artistic process happens in your own mind.

 

 

Q: How do you believe your collaboration with Samsung Art Store and The Frame has changed the way people appreciate art in their homes?

 

The Frame is a brilliant concept, making art more accessible to a wider audience. Embracing culture in our homes is always a great idea, and The Frame does just that.

 

 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

 

I’m working on a new series called “A table here, a table there.I plan to spend a few months traveling along the U.S. West Coast to produce it and hope to share the collection by the end of this year.

 

 

1 All the “Beach” artwork on Samsung Art Store are part of the “Relax” series.

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