Sam Abell Interview

First Drafts: How Sam Abell Makes a Photograph, Alex Hoyt and Ross McDermott

I’m busy finishing the book layout that was created in our week-long workshop at the Pacific Northwest Art School in Coupeville, Washington.  The layered life on Whidbey Island, as it is everywhere, became the backdrop for Sam to teach his method of photography, one of layers, of “compose and wait” and one of still life scenes that have a life or incorporate life. This interview encapsulates that teaching in a marvelous 10 minutes of a deeply considered philosophy and lifelong process of making photographs. Take the time to view it and you’ll have the outline of  our workshop and a sense of the meticulous care that Sam takes to create Life in a Still Life.

Next post:more thoughts and favorites images from Coupeville over the years of (gratefully) assisting Sam.

18 Responses to “Sam Abell Interview”

  1. 1 ddarkroom
    August 23, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Great Interview K. I look forward to seeing Sam at the INVision Photo festival in Bethlehem, PA this fall.

  2. 3 Jeri G
    August 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    What a treasure! Watching this brought me right back to this past week and the classroom in Coupeville. Sam’s teaching style makes you see what he was seeing, and his lessons such as “compose and wait”, “make a still life with a life”, and “make the best possible photo for the situation” will be in my photo process, whether consciously or subconsciously, forever. Thank you Sam and Keron!

  3. August 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Keron,
    Thanks for that. You’ll have to tell me more about Bethlehem.

  4. 7 Janice Lipzin
    August 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Can’t wait to meet him and share him with the community. Hope to see you all at SteelStacks in Bethlehem!!

  5. 9 dianne chalfant
    August 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Enjoyed watching Sam speak. Face is as expressive as his images!

    • 10 Francess
      August 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      It was a wonderful week with the legend Sam Abell. Bless him I would rather take the best available picture and ending up with a well composed image…micro-composing,layering and composing weight are so close to me. Karen it was great to have u as Sam’s assistant.u are priceless.

      • August 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm

        Hello Francess,
        YOU are the priceless one. Thank you so much for your gentle engaging spirit. It was a wonderful week with Sam…but made more wonderful by your vision and engagement. Give Bob a big hug and hello from me. I know you are having another super week. You are going to be exhausted! Much love, Keron

  6. August 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing the ‘Sam Abell interview’. The story of Sam’s vision and persistence in making his bison photograph reminds me of the quote (I think by Woody Allen) that can be paraphrased something like “I do many drafts, then I do it once more just for spontaneity”.

  7. 13 Lee
    August 27, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Thank you for being there for Francess, Keron. x Lee

  8. 15 Phil
    August 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. A great interview and reminds me of the terrific class I just finished with Sam. Looking forward to more.

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