Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Finds: Featured Artist Series - Sam Smalley

Happy Friday everyone. I am so excited to share today's featured artist to you. In fact, its even more than that - I am so proud to brag about my little sister, Sam Smalley. Last year my whole family was so proud to see her have her first art show, and now one of her lovely pictures inspires me each days from my living room wall. Family or not, she is truly one of the most talented landscape and microlandscape artists I've ever seen. Her work and her beautiful soul inspire not only my writing, but my larger spiritual journey. She has such a special way of capturing the spirit of both people and Mother Nature, and the messages that Mother Nature has for us all. I have no doubt that you will hear your own unique messages whispered in your ear when you see her art.

Artist Bio

Samantha Smalley was born in Northampton, Massachusetts on November 15th, 1990. She spent her younger childhood living in Chicopee, and then moved to Monson in 2000. She graduated from Monson High School in 2009. During high school, she took on as many elective courses as she could regarding the arts. Such classes included painting, drawing, graphic design, and film photography. While struggling through traditional high school math, science, and history classes, and ironically, nearly failing her film photography course, Samantha excelled in her other alternative art courses, and pursued her love for digital photography during after-school hours as a hobbyist. Now seven years later, she is an independent small business owner, professionally photographing an array of occasions from school pictures, to large weddings. Samantha now still resides in the rural town of Monson, with her boyfriend Jeremy and their two cats, Mama and Lola.


Tell me a little about how/when you were drawn to your art.
I remember over the summer of 8th-9th grade, I found a leftover disposable camera in an old box, stuffed in a cabinet at my mom’s apartment. I had always been crafty throughout my childhood, trying out everything art-related from drawing to sewing. It was then I had just realized I never had an opportunity to use a camera, with an artistic approach. (Remember, this was back in 2004 when camera phones were still only in the beginning stages of becoming the main focus of technology) Excited to try a new “medium”, I took the old disposable camera around the yard and just shot away with the old remaining exposures on the roll of film. To this day, I don’t recall ever getting the disposable camera developed, and so I have no idea how those pictures came out… but to look through the viewfinder of that dusty disposable camera was the beginning of a very strong passion of mine.

What are some of the things that inspire your art?
Of all the things that inspire my art, nature has taken the lead. I have always loved being outside, taking in the wide-angle view of the natural world… but especially being up close and personal with bugs and flowers and the individual complexities they each come with. This was specifically how I became interested mostly in a type of photography called macro photography. The microscopic details, unseen to the naked eye, can be revealed with some insane magnifying lenses.

As a writer, I make it a priority to reflect on my craft to ensure that I am growing. Tell me one way in which you have seen yourself grow in your craft.
I feel like 10 years ago, when I very first started shooting photography, my biggest personal goal was learning how to use post-processing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom to make my images better. While this has been seriously useful, I have taken a different route over more recent years and have, in fact, tried to eliminate as much post processing as possible, even trying my hand at film photography. To me, that is how I’ve most grown in my craft. Instead of settling on the idea that the best images can only come from a digital age, I strive to pat myself on the back and say, “I finally captured a true, organic image like Ansel Adams.”

Do you create other kinds of art as well as the one you are being featured for?
Other types of art I like to practice around with include mostly painting, and playing musical instruments. My favorite being the ukulele.

What are your goals for your art?
My goal as a photographer is to never lose the passion I discovered when I first started my journey. I want my images to be powerful, to make others feel inspiration to do what they love, and to feel reconnected with nature.

A look at some of Sam's photography: (I have not included any of Sam's portraiture because I have not asked for permission from those in the photos, but you can see her portraiture work on her Facebook page.)

Website Links:


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  2. Now I have a better chance to get this said! I love your work, Sam. What a fabulous eye you have! Can we enter into negotiations over the frog? I love that little face! You can email me at