© Sam Abell, The Sam Abell Library: Life and Still Life

In 1967, Sam Abell rode a train from New York to Washington DC thumbing through a copy of Walker Evans’ American Photographs. He’d marvel at the level of consideration and thoughtful restraint, at the deep-felt honesty conveyed, but something was missing. The world outside was very different than the one represented in the monochrome photographs made 30 years prior.

“It was chaotic and colorful and it was moving by,” he says, “which was how I felt about my life then.”

He was on his way that day to an interview at National Geographic. It was the opening scene to a 40-year career producing one of the most remarkable, understated bodies of color documentary work, bridging the gap between editorial and fine art photography long before either was accepting of the other. (read more)


This winter Radius Books is publishing “The Sam Abell Library: Life and Still Life,” an encyclopedic collection of 16 volumes, four slipcases of four volumes grouped by thematic relation. The first set, “The Photography of Places — Newfoundland, Hagi and Australia" — features 140 color photographs, most of which have never been published.

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