Join Photographer Sam Willard for IMPROVISORS Photo Shoot @ CIF

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words.

David Razowsky_IMPROVISORSSan Francisco photographer and improviser, Sam Willard, has found himself a niche – photographing improvisers. He is traveling around the country in pursuit of capturing hundreds of photos to be stylized and added to his collection. Sam reached out to LAFS in an effort to try to connect with the Chicago comedy community during The Chicago Improv Festival. So take a look at what he’s all about and if you haven’t already, get in touch with him to be added to this sweet collection of photos! He’s in town through Sunday.

Where did this inspiration come from? Why improvisers?
The Improvisors Project combines my two loves, portrait photography and improv. By the time I took my first improv class, I had already been a full-time portrait photographer for years. I immediately saw the potential in the faces of improvisors. They are so expressive, and improvisors fully commit to the emotional reality that they are expressing. And the fact that they can be in one emotional space, then cut and switch to a totally different emotional space like a scene change, means I can capture a great range in just a shot time.

What is the process behind traveling the country for this project? Any specific destinations?
My first photo shoots were just at my studio, and I invited friends and acquaintances through social media. Once I proved to myself that there was really something there to be explored more deeply, I started thinking bigger. I got access to performers at my hometown San Francisco Improv Festival, which was my first time photographing people from LA, Chicago, etc. The next step was to take myself on the road and seek out big talent. I went to New York City, and did a shoot at the Magnet Theater, which drew a ton of improvisors over two days. That trip was successful beyond my wildest expectations.

I am super excited about my second big trip this week to Chicago, coinciding with the Chicago Improv Festival. I have booked dozens of the top local and visiting talent. Plus I’m going to have some drop-in time where anyone can stop by. It’s going to be fantastic.

What are you hoping to get out of it?
The first and best thing I get out of The Improvisors Project is access to an amazing variety of performers. I get to meet and do improv with them on set as I take pictures. It is so fun. I share pictures with my subjects for them to use in their own promotion, and I get a great library of portraits that I hope to turn into a book. It’s a win-win.

What is the message you want to share with improvisers?
I love improv. Every performer is unique, and brings a special energy to the stage. That is what I hope to capture with my portraits. I want to hold up a mirror to the collective awesomeness of the improv community, and celebrate it. People can follow the project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my website.

I look forward to meeting tons of improv folks in Chicago this week, and more as I travel around the country!


If you guys are interested in being photographed, make sure to reach out to Sam!

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posted on by Kiley Peters posted in Chatter, Interviews, News/Updates

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