Actor Chaske Spencer, most famous for his portrayal of Sam Uley in the Twilight Saga films, has no shortage of projects going on, but he’s recently taken time to show off work done with a different sort of camera. Spencer developed a passion for photography in his teens, and currently has several pictures on display in the bar of the Dream Hotel in Manhattan.
“I was really fascinated by National Geographic and war photography,” Spencer told Ology.com. “I started looking at a lot of combat war journalism and it struck me and made me want to start taking pictures. I also liked to go to galleries like [the International Center for Photography]. Yes, my work has changed, you can see a progression, you can train your eye, the ones in the beginning aren’t that impressive but I’m really proud of my recent work.”
Spencer said that he picked just a few favorites for the show out of some 5000 he has amassed over the years.
In an interview with BlackBook prior to the show’s July 12 opening, Spencer said his dream regarding photography is to someday “shoot some amazing landscape for National Geographic, or do a photo shoot with someone like Waylon Jennings. I love faces that tell a story.”
On June 22, Spencer received the Barbara Harmon Unsung Hero Award from Shortstack Models to honor his extensive charity work. Shortstack is an agency that features models who don’t conform to the statuesque standards of the industry — they are, quite literally, short — and has been putting on its charity fashion show, where the Unsung Hero award is given out, for six years running. The Shortstack website describes Spencer as “passionate about making a difference with all people in the area of reducing poverty and creating sustainable communities. … His work as a spokesperson for UNITED GLOBAL SHIFT gives him the opportunity to impact many areas he is committed to shifting (poverty, sustainable communities, global empowerment). Through his personal project BE THE SHIFT, he is shining a spotlight on initiatives designed to create sustainability and prosperity.”
Spencer elaborated on United Global Shift, which holds workshops to try to bring about sustainable change in deserving communities, for Ology.com. “What’s sad is that the people that need change the most are the ones who get left behind,” he said. “They don’t really have the opportunity. So, we go in to different projects to provide a voice for these people. What’s great about the organization is that you can help out in any community or cause. We do workshops a lot, which helps us start projects and keep them going.”
As an example, Spencer cited a clean water project he’s been working on. “We learned about all the different [water-recycling] technologies out there,” he said. “It’s funny that the technology has been out but the US just doesn’t want to use it. And you wonder why. Why aren’t we being told about all of this technology?”
In the BlackBook interview, Spencer mentioned that he is also involved with Michelle Obama’s health and fitness awareness campaign, Let’s Move. Regarding his acting career, he revealed that he has three films that are likely coming out in 2013 and has just returned from Australia, where he was shooting a pilot for the western-themed series Frontier, for NBC.
See below for some examples of Spencer’s photography.