AKA Sam Alive

Fan Wei Sheng is a 28-year-old Taiwanese photographer that’s more commonly known under the moniker SamAlive. He currently resides in NYC and works as a freelance photographer, having moved there in 2013 from Taiwan. In the last few years, he has amassed over 270,000 followers on Instagram not to mention his popularity on other photo sharing platforms like Flickr and Tumblr. He has also collaborated with numerous brands and companies, ranging from AT&T to Nike, as well as having been featured in publications such as Vogue and designboom.


樊為聖,28岁,攝影師,來自台湾。不過他更經常以SamAlive這個名字出現在大家的視線里。2013年從台灣搬到美國後,Sam便以自由攝影師身份居住在紐約。近年來,不計FlickrTumblr等,活躍於攝影社交平台上的他,單在Instagram上積聚的粉絲就已累计超过270,000。從AT&T到Nike,他也曾與諸多品牌和公司合作過;同時,他的作品也被刊登於Vogue, designboom等一眾刊物上。

For Sam, it all started in college where he was studying graphic design at first. His friend lent him a film camera for a darkroom class and he soon became fascinated by the ability of being able to capture everything that was in front of him. His love for photography just snowballed from there.


Sam來講,這一切均始於他大學時期的平面設計學習。為了上暗房課,他向朋友借了一台膠片相機,之後便深深著迷於用它去捕捉眼前一切事物。從此,他對攝影的熱愛便一發不可收拾。

Sam’s ever growing collection of work showcases a well-balanced mix of stunning portraits, awe-inspiring landscapes, slices of urban life, and more. Despite his very versatile style, Sam confesses nowadays he tends to prefer shooting portraits and landscapes over anything else. But the difficulty of revealing the subtleness of a person’s personality through a single frame has cemented portrait photography as his all-time favorite style. Through the masterful use of light and composition, his portraits manages to capture the complexity of human emotion.


Sam日益增長的作品集有著完美的類別平衡、出色的人物肖像、絕美的風光作品,以及都市生活的點點滴滴。儘管風格多元,他還是更喜歡人像和風景攝影。一直以來,他都最愛人像攝影,並且十分享受於通過簡單一張照片來表現人物性格微妙之處所帶來的挑戰感。在對光影和構圖的應用自如間,他的肖像作品成功地對人物情感的複雜性進行定格。

Later this month, Sam will be hosting a photo exhibition called Adventures in Taipei. It will be held from February 14th to 29th and is open to the public. The exhibit will showcase a collection of his cityscape and landscape photos that embodies the spirit of adventure. It will take viewers into the hectic hustle of New York City before whisking them away into the breathtaking wilderness of the U.S. Northwest. Neocha recently had the chance to speak with Sam about being a creative and all the challenges he’s had to face along the way.


Sam將於本月在台北舉辦名為《Adventures的攝影展,其對公眾開放時間為214日至229日。此次展覽將展示他的一組表現歷險精神的城市風光和風景攝影系列,該系列將帶領觀者先一睹紐約的繁華喧囂,再領略美國西北部令人窒息的曠野美景。近期我們和Sam探討了他作為創意人一路所面對的挑戰。

NeochaWhen did you get into photography? Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings as a photographer and the journey leading up to the success you’ve had so far?

SamAlive: I first became interested in photography during college when I took a photography course. At the time, I just thought it was neat being able to capture what I see into still frames. I had no goals or any plans on developing a career out of photography, I just wanted to shoot, but soon I started picking up cases for paid work. At the time though, it felt really discouraging because it just felt like every photographer had better equipment, more connections, and more clients than me. My family had their doubts on whether I should really pursue this as a career. To be honest, I even had a strong sense of doubt in myself. I pushed on though. I kept shooting and creating, and slowly but surely, people started noticing my work. That led to me picking up more and more commissioned work. Now I feel extremely fortunate to be where I am today. 


Neocha你是什​​麼時候開始對攝影感興趣的?可不可以稍微分享一下你剛踏進這個愛好的時候的一些難關?

SamAlive大學時期因為攝影課開始拿起相機拍照,起初只覺得很有趣能夠把眼前所有的東西捕捉成為影像。但是起初並沒有什麼特定的目標,只是隨意的拍,直到開始想成為攝影師接案,但是在人人都有高階相機的情況下,自己的人脈也不如別人,不僅家裡懷疑,連我自已也開始懷疑自己,有沒有辦法讓攝影成為維持生計的工作,但在一直不斷的拍攝,慢慢開始有廠商看到,也陸續開始接到一些商業接案,覺得自己一路上都蠻幸運的。

Neocha: When you were first just gaining an interest in photography before the whole Instagram craze, who were your biggest influences?

SamAliveI think I started taking photography seriously in 2009. That was the same year I started using Flickr, and I would browse the work of international photographers like Nirrimi, 13thwitness, and Daido Moriyama, just to name a few. They definitely left an impact on me. Some photographers I enjoy their written work as well. I’m interested in hearing their story, and I try to understand their thought process. Photography is more than a job to me – it’s a lifestyle choice.


Neocha是在還沒有Instagram之前,你剛開始拍照的時候你對誰或誰的作品對你的影響力最大?

SamAlive真正開始認真拍照,我想是從2009年開始,那時開始使用Flickrㄆㄧ,常常瀏覽一些國外的作品並且受到影響,例如 Nirrimi, 13thwitness, Daido Moriyama等等,有的則是已經記不住名字。有些攝影師我喜歡閱讀他們文字書,喜歡去了解他們的故事以及想法,攝影不單單是一個工作,應該是生活自我的一部分,這也是我自己不斷在努力的部分。

Neocha: How would you assess the current state of photography as a profession in Taiwan?

SamAliveTo be honest, the more recent years of my photography career I haven’t been in Taiwan so it is hard for me to assess the current state of it. Based on my previous experiences though, I feel like the market for photography is too small in Taiwan. It’s always the same firms hiring and the same photographers shooting; the competitiveness is way more intense. There’s definitely more restrictions on freedom of creativity for photographers as well. Especially now where everyone has access to high-end cameras, photographers are less respected, people feel like all we do is press a button. I feel like this lack of respect isn’t only towards photographers, but also extends to designers, and artists in general in Taiwan.


Neocha: 你對現在台灣的攝影行業有什麼看法?

SamAlive後期因為不在台灣,所以我對真正的生態環境不是很了解。但是就以前的經驗來說,我會覺得因為台灣市場太小,攝影師以及廠商就是特定幾間,所以競爭也會比較激烈,在創作上也可能會較受限制。尤其高階相機的普及化也讓攝影師較不受尊重,認為按一張快門就只是家常便飯,我覺得不只是攝影,在設計、藝術領域也是。

Neocha: What culminated in your decision to move to New York rather than continue staying in Taiwan to pursue photography?

SamAliveI’m a very spontaneous person, so I really didn’t give it much thought before I just packed my bags and went for it. I guess I was all about the notion of chasing after your dreams while still young. I decided on New York just because it was a place I’ve always wanted to photograph. I wanted to break the routines of daily life, and shoot in a brand new environment, that’s really all there is to it. I’m lucky enough now to be able to stay stateside and do what I love.


Neocha你還住在台灣的時候已經累積了很多經驗跟培養了很多客戶,你為什麼會決定搬去美國而不留在台灣繼續發展?

SamAlive我是個做事情很衝動的人,所以當初並沒有多想那麼多就選擇來到這裡了,以前聽過不少故事都是在勵志人在年輕時有夢就要去勇於實現,所以我在當初就只是純粹想拍照,想去不一樣的環境待著,就只是這樣而已。現在很慶幸有這個機會留在美國做自己想做的事。

Neocha: In this day and age, when everyone has access to a smartphone or an entry-level DSLR, and is able to publish their work instantly to a huge international audience at the click of a button through numerous social networks. What would you say you do differently to set yourself apart from the countless numbers of photographers nowadays?

SamAlive: Actually, this is something I’ve thought about a lot. In my opinion, it’s a great thing – the more work that is out there, the more you see, and the more you learn. It’s all a learning process to me. In the end, it all still largely depends on hands-on experience to be able to find your own artistic voice. I just used to shoot literally everything, I really didn’t know what I wanted to capture, but the more I experimented and shot, I started to figure out the direction I wanted to head in and developed my own style along the way. Nowadays, I feel like inspirations comes from every corner of my daily life, photography is a big part of my daily routine. I don’t think I will ever stop taking photos, and I feel like my desire to continue improving and creating is insatiable.


Neocha現在大家都各各擁有一台相機或者擁有高素質攝影功能的智慧手機。加上網路跟各式各樣的社交平台,每個人都可以立刻分享他們的作品給一個很廣的觀眾。你覺得你是靠什麼方式讓自己和自己的作品與眾不同?

SamAlive的確,這個問題我在以前也思考過,但是我個人認為,看得越多吸收得越多,最終也是要靠著不斷的拍攝經驗,才能找到自己的方向。以前的我什麼類型都拍,我自己也不知道到底想拍什麼,但是久而久之拍得越多,我就漸漸知道我想要的是什麼,也找到的自己的風格。靈感能夠從生活周遭的各個角落去找,攝影就是生活的一部份,而且我永遠不會停止拍照,創作慾望一直都是源源不斷。

Website: samalive.co
Facebook: ~/samalivephotography
Flickr: ~/designedwithsam
Instagram: @samalive


Contributor: David Yen


網站: samalive.co
臉書: ~/samalivephotography
Flickr: ~/designedwithsam
Instagram: @samalive


供稿人: David Yen