About Sam Stapleton

As the son of a 40 year employee of Eastman Kodak, photography seemed ordained to be a meaningful part of my life, if not my livelihood.  My first camera, a Kodak Brownie, was purchased with money I earned at Eastman and among my first images were photos of the smoke plume rising from the 1960 Eastman plant explosion that killed 16 employees including one of my neighbors.  With such an incendiary beginning, it’s surprising that it has taken me 40+ years to begin the serious pursuit of fine art photography, though I console myself that fine wines also take decades to mature.

The first decade, I spent in the pleasurable pursuit of developing and printing my own photos of rock and roll concerts, from Kiss and Alice Cooper to the Eagles and Billy Joel.  Though my hearing undoubtedly suffered from these experiences, my vision and ability to perceive color and lighting certainly improved.

The next decade brought my wife into my life and together we pursued book and magazine work, generally with a leaning towards history and architecture (see credits below).  From Patricia, the most important lesson that I learned was how to use imagery to support a narrative.

My third decade was dedicated almost exclusively to documenting our own family narrative as we found our lives increasingly dominated by the demands of raising two daughters.  Although portraiture was never my strength or my passion, it has been a priceless experience nonetheless.

The most recent decade has been a photographic rebirth for me and I now see myself engaged in a continual search for beauty in the hidden recesses of nature.  Hopefully, I will be aided in this search by the many wonderful photographers who have preceded me in this journey and whose thoughts and images illuminate my path. From a workshop with Sonja Bullaty and Angelo Lomeo, I learned to pause and observe the infinite possibilities in every space and to enjoy being present in nature; from the works of Ernst Haas I’ve learned composition and the drama of color, while from Eliot Porter I’ve seen the effectiveness of diffuse lighting in a natural space.  The list of influences and learning opportunities has been endless, and my greatest aspiration is that someday my portfolio might serve to influence some other emerging photographer.



My Stilled Life series is represented in Knoxville by The DISTRICT GALLERY & Framery.  Please visit their website at  http://thedistrictgallery.com/fine-art/  or visit their gallery at 5113 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN.

My Stilled Life series is represented in Chicago by Berlanga Fine Art.  Please visit their website at http://www.paulberlanga.com/ or visit their gallery at 230 W. Superior St., Chicago, IL.

Sullivan’s Island Sunrise #5 included in Landscape: Photography Now exhibit at Black Box Gallery in Portland, OR (January 2016)

Distilled Life, Iris #4b selected for the Arts & Culture Alliance national juried show (February 2016) and received one of two Juror’s Citation Awards.

Stilled Life, 5 images chosen for feature in CaptureMania Magazine, April 2016, Issue #2.

Unveiled, 6 select images chosen for showing at the Renaissance Gallery in Kingsport, TN, for the month of May, 2016.

Stilled Life, 24 select images chosen for a one man showing at the Renaissance Gallery in Kingsport, TN, for the month of October, 2017.

Desert Storm from the Unveiled Series is used in John Suler and Richard D Zakia’s book Perception and Imaging, 5th Edition (2018).

Stilled Life, 10 select images for showing at Emporium Gallery in Knoxville, TN, for the month of January, 2018.

Seven Islands, image #’s 129-9508 and 129-1133 selected for the Arts & Culture Alliance National Juried Show (February 2018).



Book:  Rich Community: An Anthology of Appalachian Photographers

Book:  Inns of the Southern Mountains


STARK-Magazine, Issue #41

Americana – Beyond Moonlight and Magnolias

Americana – With Hands and Hearts

Americana – Winding Through Wheeling’s Victorian Past

Americana – Taking the Waters in Style

Americana – The Steeple Still Stands

Americana – Old Hickory’s House

Americana – Pennsbury

Americana – Ruby Revived

Americana – In Mr Jefferson’s Garden

Americana – Appalachian Inns

Americana – Dulcimer Doings

Americana – Boss Man on the Big Plantation

Mid Atlantic Country – The SWAG

Country Magazine – A Country Place:  The Reynolds Mansion

Country Magazine – Of Time and Mountains

Tennessee Conservationist – The Hale Springs Inn: Restoring a Tennessee Tradition

Tennessee Business – Tennessee Wineries: A Liquid Investment

Tennessee Alumnus – Confessions of an Inn Addict