Sam Phelps' first endeavor in documentary photography began with an overland journey from Mumbai to Paris in 2007. He produced a series of portraits of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, a cultural and historical remnant of British colonisation fusing with modern day India. The photographs were exhibited at the Indian National Centre of Photography in 2008.
His attraction to the documentation of journeys was sparked at this time. Traveling on mountainous roads to Leh, the capital of Ladakh province in northern India he photographed the lives of people along the route. A four day voyage on a train meeting and documenting pilgrims' experiences traveling from Tehran to the Syrian capital of Damascus to pray at the Umayyad, the Great Mosque of Damascus was also another notable voyage of influence.
More recently he has worked on Train Portraits, a project entailing travel across countries via train networks with the goal of creating a portrait of a nation and it's people through the interviews and photographs produced. Images from this series shot in Pakistan were published in the book The Other Hundred in 2013.
A background of fine arts study in Sydney, a satisfying but grimy stint in a nickel plating workshop in Oslo, editing Indonesian commercials in hectic Jakarta and numerous years experience within the fashion industry living in Paris has shaped his experience, style and influenced his practice as a photographer.
He works increasingly with UN agencies and NGOs including Médecins Sans Frontières on assignment throughout Africa. He also undertakes journalistic and portrait assignments for clients including Fader, Vice, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, The FinancialTimes, The Guardian, Observer magazine and The Times.
- Breaking news
- Military embed
- Video capture
- Video editing
Return to Boda | Central African Republic
Return to Boda investigates the complex factors that led to inter-religious violence during 2014 in the town of Boda, Central African Republic. It offers a chronicle representative of the current broader crisis in the country triggered by conflicts over mineral resources, agricultural land and livestock, an enfeebled security apparatus and impunity for those who have committed human rights violations.
Fragile State | Pakistan
Corruption of power within a democracy shatters the trust between civilians and their leaders. In Pakistan, decades of dysfunction and rivalry between politicians, police, military and the judiciary vying for power has resulted in neglect of the citizens they are charged to serve. Pakistanis are resentful, viewing these institutions as morally bankrupt. The role of protecting people and reducing inequity has in areas such as education, healthcare and security, failed. The War on Terror has further fragmented the geo-political, economic and social landscape of Pakistan with spill-over from Afghanistan creating a deteriorating security crisis. http://www.samphelps.com/fragile-state
Houses of Power
Houses of Power explores themes of international relations between foreign powers, global security and territorial ownership by photographing diplomatic missions in cities around the world. It investigates the symbolism of the diplomatic mission within a host country and how that guest country wishes to be perceived. Diplomatic missions take on varying titles and degrees of importance always defined by historical, political, geographical and social ties between countries.