Samuel Bayer

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Samuel Bayer
Samuel Bayer shot by John Clark.jpg
Bayer in 2013
Born Samuel David Bayer
(1965-02-17) February 17, 1965 (age 52)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Visual artist
  • cinematographer
  • music video
  • director

Samuel David Bayer (born February 17, 1965) is an American visual artist, cinematographer, commercial, music video and film director. Bayer was born in Syracuse, New York. He graduated from New York City’s School of Visual Arts in 1987 with a degree in Fine Arts. He later moved to Los Angeles in 1991, where he continues to live and work.


A prolific music video and commercial director, Bayer's resume includes Nirvana's music video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Blind Melon's "No Rain" video as well as award-winning commercials for brands like Chrysler, Nike, and Coca-Cola.[1] In addition to Nirvana and Blind Melon, Bayer has shot and directed videos for Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Green Day, David Bowie, Iron Maiden, Garbage, The Strokes, Metallica, The Smashing Pumpkins and Justin Timberlake, among others, in his trademark style. Bayer has won five MTV Video Music Awards including Best Video in 1991 and 2005 as well as Best Direction in 2005 and 2007.[2]

With a successful music video career under his belt, Bayer has received equal acclaim within the commercial world. Well into his second decade of advertising, Bayer's work continues to be recognized. In 1996, his Nike commercial, "If You Let Me Play", won an Association of Independent Commercial Producers Award for Best Direction. In 2011, his Super Bowl spot for Chrysler, "Born of Fire", received multiple awards, including an Emmy and a Cannes Gold Lion.[3]

New Line Cinema and Platinum Dunes selected Bayer to helm their remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.[4] Bayer finally agreed to direct the film after a personal plea from Michael Bay, who also was the producer.[5] With a production budget of $30 million, the film held the number one spot at the US box office in its first week in April 2010. The film starred Academy Award-nominee Jackie Earle Haley and introduced Rooney Mara in her first major studio role.

Music videography[edit]



On March 3, 2013, Bayer opened his first major solo exhibition at ACE Gallery Beverly Hills entitled, "Diptychs & Triptychs". Bayer presented a series of sixteen, twelve foot-tall, female nude triptychs as well as four, ten-foot tall diptych portraits. In an Interview Magazine article, Bayer commented that "the initial effect of the portraits are overwhelming, and a bit spooky." Bayer's understanding of Hollywood's constant superficial dissection and scrutinization of women, lead him to strip his subjects of all artifice in order to provide an alternative view of womanhood in contemporary culture. Exposed full frontally, these women might have been perceived as vulnerable on a smaller scale, however the straight gaze and the enlarged scale creates an intimation of a "new race of superwomen."[6][7]

Bayer's series discussed the ongoing biological and sociological evolution. For studies of the female form, these women would not have existed in the mid-twentieth century prior to the sexual revolution of the 1960s when artists began to reconsider the body as a politicized terrain and explored issues of gender, identity, and sexuality which manifest in the work of photographers Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Larry Clark, Hannah Wilke, Nan Goldin and Cynthia MacAdams.[8]

Bayer treated "Diptychs & Triptychs" like a film project, holding open castings for hundreds of women. Bayer's subjects held poses against a simple white backdrop for up to four hours during marathon fourteen hour shoot days. Bayer enlarged the 4" x 5" film negatives into the series of twelve-foot-tall triptychs and ten-foot-tall diptychs in what was a deeply personal process, one that afforded him the benefit of complete creative control.

The series of work was inspired by a conversation Bayer had with his late father during which he expressed his intense desire to display his viewpoint of the nude form.[8][9]


Music videos[edit]




External links[edit]