“The young men in Sam Contis’s ‘Deep Springs’ look like taciturn farmhands and cowboys in a Hollywood film. They are in fact undergraduates at Deep Springs College.”
Featured in New York Times’ Best Photo Books of 2017.
“Merging old photographs of its earliest students with her own, often intimate studies of their contemporaries, as well as the elemental landscape, Contis explores the traditional idea of masculinity in the American west in a subtle, thought-provoking way.”
Featured in The Guardian’s Best Photography Books of 2017.
Deep Springs by Sam Contis speaks loudly without saying a word. This picture book was made in the remote desert valley of Sierra Nevada and is Sam’s debut book.
Sam Contis, born in 1982 resides and works in California, and her pictures are represented in the collections of LACMA and the Yale University Art Gallery. Holder of an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from New York University, Sam has had her work recently featured at the Fotomuseum Antwerp, Gallery Luisotti in Los Angeles, and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York. She had her first solo museum show at the Berkeley Art Museum.
With such a rich history in art, Sam certainly has the eye for producing captivating and head-turning photography. Her work in Deep Springs focuses on a small, all-male liberal arts college, which was founded in 1917 by the education innovator, L. L. Nunn.
Sam explores the construction of myth, place, and masculine identity at the college and its surroundings. The richness of these themes are apparent to even novice art enthusiasts. Deep Springs highlights the enduring qualities of the American West. These include that of Hollywood, mass media and the history of American photography and the imprint these have on the collective psyche.
Sam even brings together new photographs with pictures that were made by the first students at the college a century ago. This book is deeply mesmerizing and a true portray of a deeply artistic soul.