To express his commitment to the medium, Samuel Bayer hand-manipulates motion picture film. He scratches, burns, cuts, draws on, and colors each frame, creating a new layer of visual reality. Bayer utilized his hand-manipulated film technique in his landmark music video for Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which swept the MTV music video awards that year.
Samuel Bayer uses both inanimate objects and living creatures to create dramatic arrangements based on seventeenth and eighteenth century still life paintings. In these works, he exposes both the fragility and opulence of life by incorporating historically symbolic objects such as overripe fruit, dead animals and skulls.
Throughout his career, Samuel Bayer has conceptualized images for the greatest athletes in the world, and his photographs capture the grit and raw emotion of competitive will. Bayer’s ability to translate the marriage between physicality and emotion also drives his commercials: Friday Night and Plural for Russell Athletic, Wade for Converse, Crazy Light for Adidas and If You Let Me Play and Running is Dead for Nike.
Bayer’s interest in the quality of working-class life has moved him to capture starkly beautiful images of individuals in America’s Industrial Belt, India, Vietnam, and Nepal. These photographs mirror the reality of lives impacted by the fading notions of hope and prosperity promised by the global economy. This point of view is also reflected in his Emmy award-winning commercial Born on Fire for Chrysler.
As he travels the world, Samuel Bayer finds his connection with people through portraiture. He captures the authenticity of each individual in front of his camera and depicts each with frank intensity. His use of the moving portrait in music videos – Home for Sheryl Crow; Heart in a Cage for The Strokes; Working Class Hero for Green Day, Just Another Day for John Mellencamp and Somebody’s Baby for Pat Benatar – is a continuation of his unique ability to translate unspoken human emotion into compelling visuals.
This series of exotic butterflies illustrates nature’s innate beauty resulting from a caterpillar’s journey through metamorphosis. Seeing this process as a metaphor for human life, Bayer believes that dramatic transitional experiences yield beauty, creativity and achievement. This gracefully curated body of large-scale, still-life photographs is beautifully reproduced as archival pigment prints and editioned at 60 x 75 inches.
Samuel Bayer has been granted access to personal and unguarded moments with an array of cultural figures. From his first music video project, Smells Like Teen Spirit for Nirvana through Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around…Comes Around, to his Emmy award-winning Chrysler commercial with Eminem, his astute observations during these opportunities have made his genre-defining career exemplary.