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Artist Interview: Samantha Zirin


Artist Interview: Samantha Zirin

Daughter Runs

Samantha Zirin 

Location: NYC • Instagram

Sam and I first met in New York last year, over the summer. We formed a friendship over mutual interests in photography and art in general; however, I think we primarily bonded over our shared strange behavior. She's interested in all creative fields like music, photo and style but she's especially invested in the area where these all intersect. Her work mainly demonstrates themes of emptiness and isolation that stem from her adolescent life in the suburbs of New York.

Sam and I came up for the idea for Daughter Runs after an encounter we had together over our time in Brooklyn. Daughter Runs has become a combination of our personalities and interests in which we hope to inspire those around us. This interview is special because I am interviewing her, the other co-founder of Daughter Runs. We wanted to do this interview so that our readers can get a chance to explore us, separate from our titles as co-founders, and gain insight into our personal work. 


DAUGHTER RUNS: What does a photograph mean to you?

Sam: A photograph is an entrance to a completely different reality from your own, maybe a world you never even imagined before. Photographs evoke ephemeral waves of nostalgia, curiosity, desire, and passion. I’ve always been attracted to the visual arts as a whole, but a photograph is a snapshot of a moment that can not and will never exist again. It’s sort of a beautiful thing to capture such a precious sight like that.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What do you lend most credit to when creating?

Sam: As pretentious as this sounds- the history of the world. All of the influences that I cite have somehow played a role in my niche as a creator. Film, music, literature, philosophy- I’m always “filing” things away (as Murakami would say) in my mind to use later. I trust in my subconscious to bring forward ideas for me to expand off of, while simultaneously being my own self-starter.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Do you think environment plays a large role in creativity and ambition?

Sam: Absolutely. I grew up in the suburbs, but always had a yearning for urban life. This disdain for my hometown forced me to explore what was outside of it. It was like the domino effect- once I started, I couldn’t stop. I needed to absorb everything I possibly could to fulfill what seemed like a dull, desolate life. I also believe in the whole “everything happens for a reason” thing. If I hadn’t grown up where I did would I still be attached to the arts? I can’t answer that. So in a way, I'm grateful for where I began.

DAUGHTER RUNS: A lot of your work seems to be overshadowed by this feeling of emptiness. Is this desire for something more a reflection of your current outlook on life in suburbia?

Sam: Maybe. I think I’m always searching for something more through a lot of fields, not just in the suburbs. I very much fall into the whole “La Vie en Rose” trope, continuously looking for sentimental moments to form around me through my rose-colored glasses. I romanticize too much for my own good, so this false reality is sometimes evoked through my work.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Who do you continuously find yourself looking to for inspiration?

Sam: I’d say I’m more of a process-orientated artist, so I produce all at once or never at all (similar to the way I read). In order for this to happen, there has to be a spark or trigger that intrigues me, otherwise I fall into a block and find it difficult to reinvent myself. Though I think this is a pretty normal routine for any creative individual.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Where do you stand on the film vs. digital debate?

Sam: As annoying as it can be, I will always be enamored by film. It’s so raw, so precious and fragile that I don’t see digital as an option for me. I don’t really edit my photos a whole lot after they’re developed, besides a few minor adjustments. As my high school art teacher once told me, I do most of my editing before I press the shutter. I compose the shot beforehand, so I don’t feel the need to over edit afterwards.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What was the last film you watched?

Sam: Rain Man. The first few months of this year, I’ve sort of rediscovered my love for Dustin Hoffman. “97X… BAM… The Future of Rock and Roll…” (This is very annoying to have stuck in your head all day.)

DAUGHTER RUNS: Favorite album/song right now?

Sam: Tell Her No by The Zombies is my jam right now. For album, E S T A R A by Teebs contains some really vivid spiritual rhythms. I’ve also had One Step Ahead by Aretha Franklin on repeat. It’s sampled in a Mos Def song I love, so why not.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What is the best meal you’ve discovered within the past month?

Sam: I unfortunately haven’t really tried anything new within the last month, however I just put red pepper flakes on my pizza for the first time... sometimes I wonder why I’m such an amateur.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What does Daughter Runs mean to you?

Sam: A multitude of things. I guess the main point is that it’s sort of a facade for the pressures of being a young girl. So she runs, where is she heading? Eventually she’ll come back, return to her roots and start up again, whether physically or emotionally. Daughter Runs is a safe place to come back to- the phrase supports the empowerment of this young girl and encourages her sometimes obscure ventures whether they end in failure or success.

all photos © copyright Samantha Zirin