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Sam Abell (born 1945 in Sylvania, Ohio) is an American photographer known for his frequent publication of photographs in National Geographic. He first worked for National Geographic in 1967, and is one of the more overtly artistic photographers among his magazine peers. Sam Abell's style of photography is documentary in the sense that his major avenue, the National Geographic magazine, is a publication of record. Abell has said that he could be perfectly happy with his photography even if his only subject was light itself.
Sam Abell's love of photography began due to the influence of his father who was a geography teacher who ran a photography club. In his book The Photographic Life, Abell mentions a photograph he made while on an outing with his father, a photograph that subsequently won a small prize in a photo contest. He credits that prize as being a major influence on the direction his life would take. Abell was the photographer and co-editor for his high school yearbook and newspaper.
Abell graduated from the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he majored in English, minored in Journalism, and was the editor of the Kentuckian Yearbook. He is also a teacher, an artist and an author.
Sam Abell's latest book, The Life of a Photograph, completes a set of three volumes begun in 2000 with Seeing Gardens. It was followed in 2002 with The Photographic Life.
Publications by Sam Abell
- Amazonia, Sam Abell, 2010 ISBN 087114087X
- The Life of A Photograph, Sam Abell, 2008 ISBN 1426203292
- Seeing Gardens (New Millennium), Sam Abell, 2000 ISBN 0792279565
- Distant Thunder: A Photographic Essay On The American Civil War, Sam Abell, 1988 ISBN 0934738351
- The University of Georgia: American College Series, Sam Abell, 1987 ISBN 0916509222
- Stay This Moment: Photographs of Sam Abell, Sam Abell and Robert E. Gilka, 1990 ISBN 0934738726
- The Civil War: An Aerial Portrait, Sam Abell and Brian Pohanka, 1990 ISBN 0934738610
- Jeffrey, Ian et al. (1997). The Photography Book. London:Phaidon Press Limited. ISBN 978-0-7148-4488-6
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