July 2024

The Freshness

Text: Mikey Gilles Images: Samoh Stephenson

Samoh a.k.a. Sam Stephenson points, shoots and skates. His friends do too. Mikey Gilles spoke with Samoh about skating, photographing and other things faresh.

Samoh Stephenson

Mikey Gilles: As far as I know, you invented the term faraesh, Samoh. Is this true? If not, who can you attribute it to?

Sam Stephenson: I caught onto ‘faraesh’ late. I think a few people we hung out with just said ‘fresh,’ which later became ‘faraesh,’ and then a girl one day was all like, “All the skaties say fresh”. It got said more after that and everyone was just saying, “all the skaties say faraesh.” There is also ‘falesh.’ I like ‘freshay’ ’cause it combines the sickest word ‘eshay’ – all the goods of life – with ‘fresh.’

MG: If “water is the essence of wetness,” (Zoolander, 2003) what would you describe as the essence of faraesh-ness?

SS: When Casper smells Telly’s fingers. “Butterscotch, yo!” (Kids, 1995)

Samoh Stephenson

MG: What does your average day consist of?

SS: A good day is skateboard and bullshit, if I burn through rolls of film as well, that’s a really good day. A bad day would be a morning after the night it was and then work as a sales assistant. To try to make it better, I would probably process some film and cook a meal or something. Every day ends at the moment with a seroquel and falling asleep to The Wire.

Samoh Stephenson />

MG: Why do you take photos?

SS: It’s usually very rewarding and it’s something, when I do it properly, that is only for my friends and myself. And it’s always been easier than drawing. People around me are too interesting for me not to.

Samoh Stephenson

MG: Who or what would you say is your favourite subject for your photos?

SS: Friends. Skateboarding. Observations. Drunks.

Samoh Stephenson

MG: Why do you only shoot in black and white?

SS: I don’t. But the reason I still choose to mainly shoot black and white film over digital is because it instantly has a look you can’t recreate, because it has a grain structure not fine pixels. I find it easy to compose when thinking in black and white. Colour, a lot of the time, is harder to control and distracting for subjects. Black and white strips it down and usually doesn’t over-glamourise things. I bulk load 30 metres of it at a time and it works out to be even cheaper than any 10 year old expired film per roll and I don’t have to pay for processing because I can do it easily at home. Only problem is it’s really hard to get good scans off it. It’s great to print from, but harder to make look good for the web. It’s good to be consistent but I burned through lots of colour film when I was overseas recently for a change. 

Samoh Stephenson

MG: Do you ever shoot digital?

SS: I have a really good digital camera. It’s the most expensive camera I’ve bought and I use it the least. I’ve shot some good sequences on it and one paid job. I do plan on using it more to shoot colour.

Samoh Stephenson

MG: Favourite film and camera?

SS: 35mm black and white. I’ve only ever really shot Ilford HP5+ I can push it to 1600 and it still looks nice, everyone talks about T-Max but I’m yet to try. Fuji had my favourite colour film 800 Press but they discontinued it. Medium format, I like Kodak 160nc but it’s discontinued as well. Neither of them perfect but Nikon F100 and Ricoh GRLV.

Samoh Stephenson

MG: Do you find anyone particularly inspiring?

SS: Books and exhibitions. It’s never one image, it’s always a series. In the style and what I wanted to shoot I was inspired Jon Humphries in older skate mags, I liked Ari Marcopolous’ Out And About book, and was really inspired by Boogie’s It’s All Good book – it was the fareshest. I hopefully have my own style. but those three combined would have influenced it a lot. Nothing’s really inspired me in the past four years, other than my friends that are either doing their own shit better and growing or self destructive and burning themselves into the ground.

Samoh Stephenson

MG: When are you and Gibbo going to open your own camera shop, lad?

SS: Gibbo’s got of plenty of cameras to slang. He sold a broken GR for $500 to some gronk that he originally paid $5 for. I’m slanging film and processing film for customers at home for pocket money. We kinda already got it in the mix. Faresh.

MG: Where do you see yourself in five years?

SS: Hopefully still doing same ol’ shit having travelled more, still claiming I’m going to get my drivers licence and hopefully still drinking cans of coke for one dollar. 

Samoh Stephenson

MG: If you could’ve grown up in any decade, which would it be?

SS: If I wasn’t a grimy and a bit older from 1992-2002, that would have been faresh.

MG: Niki Minaj or Lil Kim?

SS: Put Your Lighters Up.

Samoh Stephenson

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