Sam Stapleton

About the Artist

As the son of a 40 year employee of Eastman Kodak, photography seemed ordained to be a meaningful part of my life, if not my livelihood. My first camera, a Kodak Brownie, was purchased with money I earned at Eastman and among my first images were photos of the smoke plume rising from the 1960 Eastman plant explosion that killed 16 employees including one of my neighbors. With such an incendiary beginning, it’s surprising that it has taken me 40+ years to begin the serious pursuit of fine art photography, though I console myself that fine wines also take decades to mature.

The first decade, I spent in the pleasurable pursuit of developing and printing my own photos of rock and roll concerts, from Kiss and Alice Cooper to the Eagles and Billy Joel. Though my hearing undoubtedly suffered from these experiences, my vision and ability to perceive color and lighting certainly improved.

The next decade brought my wife into my life and together we pursued book and magazine work, generally with a leaning towards history and architecture. From Patricia, the most important lesson that I learned was how to use imagery to support a narrative.

My third decade was dedicated almost exclusively to documenting our own family narrative as we found our lives increasingly dominated by the demands of raising two daughters. Although portraiture was never my strength or my passion, it has been a priceless experience nonetheless.

The most recent decade has been a photographic rebirth for me and I now see myself engaged in a continual search for beauty in the hidden recesses of nature. Hopefully, I will be aided in this search by the many wonderful photographers who have preceded me in this journey and whose thoughts and images illuminate my path. From a workshop with Sonja Bullaty and Angelo Lomeo, I learned to pause and observe the infinite possibilities in every space and to enjoy being present in nature; from the works of Ernst Haas I’ve learned composition and the drama of color, while from Eliot Porter I’ve seen the effectiveness of diffuse lighting in a natural space. The list of influences and learning opportunities has been endless, and my greatest aspiration is that someday my portfolio might serve to influence some other emerging photographer.