First Drafts: How Sam Abell Makes a Photograph

Since 1970, Sam Abell has worked as a documentary photographer, shooting primarily for National Geographic. Over his 40-year career, he has depicted Aboriginal Australians, Montana cattle ranchers, and the Imperial Palace of Japan. Here, in an exclusive video interview, he recounts his year-long quest to find the perfect image of bison skulls for an essay on American painter Charles M. Russell. 

This documentary was produced by Alex Hoyt and filmed and edited by Ross McDermott. 

Alex Hoyt is a freelance writer and digital illustrator whose work has appeared in The AtlanticNational Geographic, and Architect.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Video

Just In