About Samuel Wooten
It is not essential to know how the artist thinks or how he believes he relates to his profession or his society.
What he creates is his message.
Heart in mind and camera at hand, I am a contemporary link in a long tradition of storytellers and messengers, visually documenting my realities: doing such has provided my wanderer's soul with a warm home.
My French grandfather, Roger Lebon, was a small town photographer who never much explained his trade yet surrounded me with film, cameras and loud spoken technical commentaries. He also gave me my first 6x6 camera at 16; with it, I promptly set out to view the world through the lens. I first ventured into the Middle East at 17, intuitively drawn to the pulsing of the exotic, in often remote, unknown places and to manifestations of the Exalted and the Divine. Those first travels to Libya, Egypt and Syria sparked an on-going love for the Muslim world. It also marked the beginning of my odyssey through various religious communities of Northern Africa, Asia Minor and the Middle East on a quest for enrichment of my spiritual self. I try to stay un-encapsulated in prejudices, bigotry or political fixations and strive to view the world in its circumference. This balancing act of motion and emotions fuels my inspiration and sustains me during extended travels.
In the course of my life, I have had profound encounters with Sufi brotherhoods. These extraordinary experiences, on all levels, repeated over the last two decades with remarkable dervishes, remain a central element in my being and a focus of my work. It is thanks to an intimate glimpse of the almost invisible inner "essence" of their spiritual lives that I persistently strive to engage my viewers. My work reflects a pure personal realisation; my attempt at touching the unknown parameters of time and place, each image intensifying an idea. In many of them, the Infinite Present breathes. And to be present via camera within this breath indicates that one loses all preconceptions for the moment: a difficult undertaking even without a camera!