We talked to US-based musician Sam Prekop about his music and his love for film photography.
Hi Sam, tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello!, I’m a musician/artist/photographer based in Chicago. My “day job” is working with my long-running band The Sea and Cake, we’ve released 10 records in the past 20 plus years and have toured extensively around the world. Our latest release is called Any Day and was released this past May on Thrill Jockey Records. We’ve been playing quite a bit in support of the new record this past summer/fall. I have also released four solo records, the last two of which have been focused on electronic music made on a modular synthesizer. I’ve also toured playing this music quite a bit as well. I started taking photos while on tour about 15 years ago and have since become quite obsessed with it. Photography for me has evolved into a significant creative outlet ever since. Besides shooting while travelling, the majority of my work happens here in Chicago, with a focus on my neighbourhood which is known as Pilsen, an area that is quite visually interesting, a seemingly endless amount of photographic inspiration. I don’t anticipate becoming bored with it anytime soon!
You mostly shoot with film, what's the appeal of film over digital?
I’m definitely not opposed to digital and use digital cameras as well, but somehow digital photos for me anyway don’t ever quite feel right. Somehow, and it doesn’t quite make sense, film photos look more “real”, I think it’s a matter of conditioning, in that I’ve grown up with film images and they just look more natural. I’ve also found that having to wait to see the pictures is quite helpful with the editing, choosing the most interesting frames. The time between pressing the shutter and actually looking at the photo seems to promote a more objective evaluation of the actual pictures.
Have you always shot with film or was this a recent discovery for you?
I’ve always shot with film, I’ve gone through periods where I was more focused on using digital cameras but always seem to get back to shooting film. One reason might be that my film cameras are quite a bit nicer than my digital cameras!
A lot of musicians we speak to find that their photography links to their music in some way, do you also find this?
Well, I think and hope listeners and viewers would detect a coherent sensibility shared between my music and photography. I’ve never found it terribly useful to try and force any correlation between the two but trust that each would be different if I didn’t work with both.
What's coming up in the future?
The Sea and Cake is headed to Japan to play a handful of concerts, absolutely one of my favourite places to play and definitely a great place to take photographs, we’re also playing some shows in Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland and Detroit at the end of November. I hope to start writing for a new record and of course taking a lot of photos.