Sam Abell learned photography from his father at their home in Sylvania, Ohio, where he was born on February 19th, 1945. He graduated in 1969 from the University of Kentucky in Lexington with a B.A.
Abell has worked with the National Geographic Society since 1970 and has photographed more than 20 articles on various cultural and wilderness subjects. He has also lectured on photography and exhibited his images to audiences throughout the world.
In 1990, Eastman Kodak published a retrospective monograph of his photographs titled Stay This Moment: The Photographs of Sam Abell. A companion exhibit of his work was shown at New York City's International Center of Photography in November of that year.
Abell's book credits include Contemplative Gardens, The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning, Australia: Journey Through a Timeless Land, and Seeing Gardens. In 1998 he collaborated with author Stephen Ambrose on Lewis & Clark: Voyage of Discovery and again in 2002 on The Mississippi: River of History. That same year, he worked with author Leah Bendavid-Val to produce a retrospective of his life and work titled Sam Abell: The Photographic Life. Two additional book projects, Four Stories and The Life of a Photographer, are scheduled for publication in October 2007 and October 2008, respectively.
Sam Abell lives in Albemarle County, Virginia, with his wife Denise.