National Geographic staff photographer Sam Abell relates the pictures he takes to his visual thinking: what he sees and how he interprets his impressions, finally translating them into pictures. Abell takes us on assignment as he photographs the Shaker heritage in Kentucky and Maine, identifying the qualities that he looks for in his subjects and explaining how he interprets, captures and communicates these qualities on film. He identifies stylistic qualities in his work, reveals the rewards of patience during the shoot, and explores the value of pictures that transcend their literal meaning.
Abell is concerned with vanishing cultures and the importance of photography in preserving images for future generations. How to breathe life into history becomes a visual challenge each time he makes a picture. Images in the program are drawn from seventeen years of Abell's work on Geographic as well as his personal photography.
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