Sam is a teacher, artist, and photographer who learned photography from his father, also a teacher, at their home in Sylvania, Ohio. After graduating from the University of Kentucky Sam worked for National Geographic as a contract and staff photographer for thirty-three years.
In 1990, his work was the subject of a mid-career monograph and exhibition titled ‘Stay This Moment’ at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Since then he has published three collections of his work: Seeing Gardens, Sam Abell: The Photographic Life, and The Life of a Photograph.
In addition, Sam maintains an international career as a writer, teacher, and lecturer on photography.