London Kunst

Anna Sampson. Gender Trouble

Anna Sampson is a self-taught photographer who shoots on film and prints in the darkroom. She graduated in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts in 2015, where the central focus of her work was a series of portraits, titled "Gender Trouble", which was showcased at Doomed Gallery (London) in 2017 and featured with publications such as Dazed, Purple Fashion and the Evening Standard.

Anna work has travelled far and wide; from queer dive bars in East London to prestigious institutions such as the Turner Contemporary in Margate; to Parallel Vienna, and The Untitled Space in New York. Intersectional feminism is at the core of her politics, which is supported with her current postgraduate study of Gender & Sexuality at UCL, with the intent that the two mediums of art and academia will inspire and inform one another with the ultimate goal of working towards social justice for those marginalized and oppressed by the patriarchy.

Anna Sampson photography
Self portrait Anna Sampson

How did you first get into photography?
Completely by accident. It was in the final few months of my Fine Art degree, I was frustrated with painting, which is what I had always considered myself to be. I had started taking snapshots on my point-and-shoot camera, and quickly became fixated. Printing in the darkroom was so rewarding and gratifying for me too. I do still shoot on film, but I do not have access to a darkroom I can afford. It’s something I miss greatly.

Can you tell us more about the series „Gender Trouble“?
It’s essentially a parody on the notion of fixed gender roles and ‘the male gaze’ – so by photographing effeminate ‘men’ and androgynous ‘women,’ I wanted to playfully yet potently highlight these absurd constructions – in an attempt to challenge power dynamics. Gender, like sexuality, is fluid, non-binary and ever-changing. I’ve never felt that much of a ‘woman’ despite how I’ve been sexualised and manhandled as such. So, by merging and blurring gendered stereotypes, and reclaiming ‘the gaze,’ I’m reclaiming my power. I can see how my art practice has been my catharsis.

I’ve never felt that much of a ‘woman’ despite how I’ve been sexualised and manhandled as such.

What fascinates you?
Oh, the erotic, absolutely. I’ve always been a voyeur – so playing with representations of the body, femininity and power, whilst exploring the amalgamation of fetish fashion, eroticism, sedition, queerness, and the avant-garde.

What else do you have planned today?
Sadly, we don’t live in a world where artists can create every day – in order to ‘thrive’ here in London, I’m a nanny/cleaner 4 days a week, too. However, creatively, I’m working on an exciting collaboration! I’ve turned the camera lens on myself over lockdown, out of boredom and frustration, but it’s turning out to be pleasantly fruitful. I’m excited to see what will arise.

Anna Sampson –