gladys and chris . san francisco



I recently spent with the afternoon with the lovely Gladys and Chris in their home and on their rooftop in San Francisco. After we finished shooting, we went to a little Italian restaurant in Nob Hill and filled our bodies with hot pasta and wine, to defrost from shooting in the fog on their rooftop (I wish we had fog like that in Australia). While up on that roof top, I looked around and took it all in, where I was standing and what I was doing on a roof top.  The life of a photographer can be a funny peculiar one when you really think about it.  Stepping into peoples lives for the briefest of moments, to simply witness, feel, react and capture. The best thing I love most about it all, is the bridge is has created for me to meet and connect with so many amazing people on this planet. Photography to me, is not about clicking that shutter at all.  Its about people and sharing with the world a little piece of them and their story.

I have posted this poem before, about a year or more ago,  but I keep going back to it. These are my favorite words.


It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know 
if you will risk 
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are 
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you 
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know 
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone 
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

 – The Invitation by Oriah


Beautiful words, beautiful work. Thank you for sharing.

I’m not sure whether it were the images or the poem that got me teary. The images are so powerful.

you can see love ;-))

this is beautiful. You’ve captured the emotions so well!

i love the way you do what you do.

Hi Samm,

These photos are so peaceful and happy, really soothing and I love the muted colours – so simple but really lets you concentrate on them and their connection rather than their clothes or the surroundings.

The poem is just gorgeous and so fitting to how I have been thinking the last 6 months or so!

Love your work :)

I had a look at these amazing images a few days ago but came back to read the poem this morning. I don’t know why but I’m so glad I did, it made me feel :-) Thank you Sammy for being so gorgeous, inside and out!

Love Gladys and these images of Chris and her couldn’t be more perfect.

i love gladys and chris. their love is real and anyone that knows them can feel it. lovely pictures!

Beautiful session Samm. Always a pleasure to see new work from you.

you are the best…

Dear Samm, these are so real and beautiful. I don’t know how to describe your work, but all I know is that you can cause someone to feel it and that is special. Thanks also for sharing that poem, love it to bits xo

SAMM. amazing. you captured gladys and chris’ deeper connection. i really love them all and i started crying reading the Invitation by Oriah it’s so perfect.

i love these photos!! chris and gladys are so beautiful!!

Just beautiful, Friend. Love in absolutely every single image. And I love San Fran bay windows! xoxo

Just so very beautiful.

Gosh. You surely know how to show love. It think everyone could see something about themselves in photos this honest and beautiful.

so beautiful samm. absolutely breathtaking..

its funny after reading your description and when I look at these images Glady’s smile just gives that certain warmness to it. Samm you have captured this so beautifully. i loved the setting. i loved the movement of the cold wind blowing their hair. i loved the feeling of happiness in both glady’s and chris’ smiles and laughter. i loved the setting (rooftop in san francisco? wow!!!). i loved the sweetness in their embrace. and most of all i loved how you once again make me stop and truly look at the emotions, honesty and love in your images! ughhhh damn it! makes me all teary.

Chilly but so intimate, if that makes sense. I love the way you framed 016. This incredible connection is made through their smiles alone.

this collection of imagery makes my heart smile. and the invitation by oriah connects with my heart so dearly.

Truly moving. It takes great courage to share ones self with the world for all to see. Emotional, Honest , Insightful , Skillful and above all else a reflection of where you are as an Artist. Great work. – Myekie.

These are so beautiful. Love them, and love Gladys and Chris! These make me smile :)

love it sammy, thank you for making me feel cold and warm all at the same time xoxo

Oh Sammy Sammy Sammy, how do you do it? The images are so honest, intimate and you can feel their love come through.

Gasp! So wonderful and so true to our hearts for each other. Thank you so much for coming into our home and our lives to capture us. With warmest hearts…

I adore the way you captured my friends love. This is so real and good.

I appreciate this set…well done.

Love this session…so beautiful…

Lovelovelove. So beautiful…

I’ve scrolled up and down for the past 5 minutes. I don’t even have the words right now. I’m sitting on our bed with the happiest grin/heart. You captured us…perfectly. Thank you. SO much! Ahhh. Im going to go squeal now until Chris gets home :) Can’t wait for him to see this. <3<3<3

beautiful beautiful beautiful, twinsie. that first shot of them by the window made me jealous… cause i want one like that with clinty. :)

beautiful, samm! these feel so intimate.