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The Humble Story Of Baltimore Photographer, Sam Holden

Charles Cohen

Over the weekend, Baltimore lost a great talent - 44 year old photographer Sam Holden died while doing yard work on his father's farm in Harford County.  This biographical sketch originally aired in 2008.  It's the story of one boy's dream job: to photograph his favorite musicians and personal heroes.  His work has appeared in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to Forbes to the Baltimore City Paper.  But he started going out with his dad on photo shoots and then, uncovering his own style in the dark room.  


Photographs of long loved icons pan Sam's darkroom: The Afghan Whigs, Bob Dylan and even his dad. Prints upon prints fixed to his walls,  tacked to his cork board - each with its own personal story.   "What's this one? What's that one?" I asked. "That's an out take - that one is pretty interesting," Holden stares on this particular photograph.  "It's one of my dad's.  That was in Life magazine.  We revisited that this year and printed it in a way that it had never been printed before so it has a whole new look to it.  It's a picture of state troopers standing in formation for inspection at Benson Police Barracks.   I think the similarity in some of my dad's more successful images and what I do would be the eye contact or the energy that people are giving us. We've got this line up of state troopers and they're all standing at attention looking at their supervisor and this one joker leans out of the lineup and looks at my dad and waves.  Right? Okay, so, whatever it was about my dad that made that cop lean out of formation and take this risk - that's something where the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.  I try to stimulate people, too, you know, try to get a response." 

More good stuff on the late Sam Holden:

From Van Smith of The City Paper 

From John-John Williams IV of The Baltimore Sun">Fromjournalist Charles Cohen