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.

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