Interview: Samantha Marble (NY based freelance concert photographer)

Samantha Marble is the ultimate inspiration for me as a person and a photojournalist; her artistic and technical style is exquisite while also being completely well rounded in technical aspects of photography.

The primary reason I was inspired to research Samantha for this project was due to her astonishing concert photography, to which I also have an artistic passion. Samantha uses various compositional techniques that set her apart from a majority of other entertainment photographers.

Samantha Marble grew up in south New Jersey, not too far from Philadelphia although she inevitably moved to New York city years later. Samantha received her first camera when she was sixteen years old and from that point on, was fascinated by photography. Like myself, Samantha had a different passion in photography beside the basic news, feature, and nature genres. She was into shooting underground rock and roll musical shows and also expanded her photography into skateboarding.  Samantha stated, “I became interested through zines, musical photos, and Rolling Stone in the 90’s.” Likewise, I personally was positively influenced by music photography from magazines such as Rolling Stone, Revolver & Decibel. Prior to interviewing Samantha, I did not know that Sam’s and also my photographic interests began in Music, specifically the underground rock genre.

Down the road Samantha had a few hiccups before engulfing herself in a photographic career. She said, “My schooling was really backwards leading up to college” although her focus in high school was to prepare herself to go to RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), one of the best college photography programs in the country, she decided to apply to early admission, and eventually got accepted.  When she arrived to visit the RIT she became nervous and described the location of the school as frighteningly barren, it was also a long distance from her home approximately nine hours away.  Overall, Samantha could not see herself living there, so she decided to back out at the last minute. Samantha struggled to decide what to do since she did not have an art portfolio, which limited her ability to gain admission to other colleges she had hoped to attend.  Finally, she decided to give FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) a try and was happily accepted, this was a big positive because it was in the city and also affordable.

Deciding on which college to attend ended up being the least of Samantha’s worries however, when she was about to begin a career after university her apartment was ransacked and she was robbed. All of Sam’s Photographic equipment she had trained with and become comfortable using approx. $10,000 worth of photography equipment was lost. Since, she came from a working-class background, all her equipment were gifts from her family and the advanced camera body she spent all her graduation money on was now gone.  Samantha now faced a very difficult decision; she was right out of college and no longer had the vital equipment to continue her artistic trade.  Samantha decided that in order to replace the equipment and also survive on her own she needed a full-time job, so for three years she worked hard to scrape up enough money to buy another camera and start her career up again.

Luckily, Samantha had a great support system and was ready to jumpstart her career. One thing I firmly believe in is knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. This resonated well with Samantha’s story too. Samantha said the entrance to her career was, “a couple really patient friends that got me back on the right track.” Since Samantha was always passionate about photography she had some close friends in the industry willing to show her the ropes.

Over Samantha’s career she has and continues to work with major publications while remaining a freelance photographer. Comparable to Samantha, I am also very interested in remaining a freelance photographer. Although I want to experience the trial and error period in the photography industry, I am really interested in pursuing my own business and picking and choosing where I exercise my talent. Samantha has not only been published in Rolling Stone Magazine, but she has also appeared in High Times Magazine, Guitar World, and Decibel. Some of her most acknowledged pieces of work have been from major musicians like Willie Nelson.

Another really important moral that I stand by is having a generous amount of integrity. Photojournalism overall is to document the world with a neutral lens with objectivity and non- bias opinion, this is rarely the case in today’s society. Samantha’s main contribution to social change goes hand-in-hand with my views. She emphasizes the importance of her work giving the band or artist integrity. Samantha specifically said, “I wanted to give the bands I worked with, that were underground photos that show the integrity of their music if possible. I want to do my best to show what they sound like.” Being a music photographer, I understood that statement completely. The most satisfying thing to me as a photographer is to represent the bands work in an honest light and give their energy and artistic representation justice. You know this has occurred when they truly recognize and admire your artistry in making their story come alive.

Comprehensively, Samantha Marble has shaped me as a photographer today, her style is exquisite and stands apart from other music photographers. Samantha’s individualistic style came from experimentation with her camera and discovering new shots/techniques that she found aesthetically appealing. In a similar notion, I have created some of my best shots from experimenting with my camera at concerts. In the future, I hope to continue to develop my own individualistic style that is honest and captures the essence and energies of the artists I cover.

Additionally, my life story resonates well with her story, through discussion with Samantha it was revealed that we both have had very similar photojournalistic experiences. Samantha also reveals that beyond all the trials, tribulations and setbacks that you can have in your career, it is possible to come back full throttle. Likewise, my past has not been all smooth sailing, but photojournalism and music have always been extreme assets in my life that have unburied me from very dark places and allowed me to be personally expressive and artistic.

Most importantly Samantha really gave me some insight on how to really become an outstanding photojournalist. First Samantha swears on knowing how to capture video, she went on to say, “Video is the future, photography has expanded so much, I just think that video is everything.” Samantha even shared that not knowing video proficiently has caused her to lose work in the past, so it is vital to be multimedia savvy. Lastly, Samantha also suggested that before every shoot prepare yourself! Go over your camera settings, lay out all your equipment, charge your batteries, and even brush up on some tutorials too.

In all, Samantha Marble is a photographer that has inspired me to go out of my comfort zone and experiment further with my trade. She also has helped me to begin to develop my own style in rock n’ roll photography.


Special Thanks To: Samantha Marble

Categories: InterviewsTags: , ,

1 comment

  1. Nice Article Lauren, Samantha thanks for being an inspirational leader to our upcoming professionals.


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