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Sam Abell's thirty-year career has been dedicated to achieving artistic expression through documentary photography. He has pursued his goals primarily through his lengthy, in-depth coverages for National Geographic magazine and its Book Division. At the same time, he has maintained a career as an artist, teacher, and author.
The raw material of Abell's photography comes from close contact with the world, especially austere, remote regions. To affirm and, in fact, emphasize his commitment to what actually exists, he has chosen to work in color and in a strict documentary tradition.
He has applied himself, particularly, to the photography of cultural landscape: He explores ways in which places can be purely recorded, with images simultaneously shaped by the photographer's imagination.
In addition, he has maintained a personal black-and-white photographic diary that documents the life behind the artistic process. In 1990 Mr. Abell's work was the subject of a one-man exhibition at the International Center of Photography, New York City. A companion book, Stay This Moment, was published at that time.
In addition to his photography Mr. Abell is a member of the board of the director of the Santa Fe Center For Photography, the George Eastman House, and the University of Virginia Art Museum. In 2002 he collaborated with Leah Bendavid-Val on a retrospective of his life and work titled Sam Abell:The Photographic Life., published by Rizzoli. He is also the author of the book Seeing Gardens, published in 2001.
Currently Mr. Abell is photographing the Amazon headwaters for a book project. An extensive online interview with Mr. Abell and gallery of his images can be found on the Digital Journalist website (Digital Journalist+Sam Abell). Mr. Abell is represented by the Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington DC.