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Author Gene Wolfe

I have been meaning to sit down and write this for a couple weeks, and Throw back Thursday seems a good time to reminisce of a very distant memory. I learned a few days ago that Science fiction author Gene Wolfe passed away, and I was reminded just how fleeting time seems lately, Back when I was just out of school and before I started my "Artist Within" cartoonist project, I worked for a few years on a project photographing Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. Back then I was still living in L.A. and there were book signings every weekend somewhere in the valley. Also back then (pre-internet) you could find a listing of upcoming signings in The LA Times Book Section. There were usually a handful every weekend. The first few shots of my project were taken at a...

Gizmo for web.jpg

It is a beautiful snowy morning here in Las Vegas (words you don't usually hear together in Las Vegas) perfect for staying home and writing a blog post.

We woke up this morning to more snow than I have ever seen in Las Vegas,

Sharon made a video of our backyard for facebook, not something we see every day in the desert, have a look: https://www.facebook.com/sharon.sampsel.33/videos/10216014953739424/?t=45https://www.facebook.com/sharon.sampsel.33/videos/10216014953739424/?t=45

For us it has been pretty amazing, I am sure there are people who are sick to death of snow right now, but this is...

Statue of Liberty covered in Twizzlers

Happy New Year!

New Years Resolution #1, Start blogging again, weekly, I know right? You're like "Oh Gawd... not again!" Anyway, Here we go:

So, did you know that there is a Hershey's Chocolate World Store here in Las Vegas? Yep, it's located on the strip side of The New York, New York Hotel and Casino. The store is pretty Amazing, Walking in is sensory overload, it smells heavenly, chocolate everywhere! Not too long ago we had the chance to do some advertising photography for the Hershey's World store, some architectural shots and also with some amazing models. In this case the models were an actual family, The Stone...


As most of our clients and friends know, we love photographing creative people, Comic Book Artists, Cartoonists, Illustrators, Animators, Designers, Photographers, artists of all types. For the past 25 years I have been working on a project photographing Artists in their studios, and more recently going to Conventions and setting up a Pop-up studio right in the middle of the convention floor and making portraits. Recently Sharon Sampsel and I were invited to set up our impromptu studio at Designer Con in Anaheim, CA. "DesignerCon is an annual art and design convention that smashes together all aspects of urban, underground and pop art, including collectible toys, customs, plush, designer apparel and so much more, Designer Con is an Amazing Celebration of art. The sheer amount of...

Westin Hotel and Spa Las Vegas at Dusk

So, as I started this new blog Sharon reminded me that it was time to knock off talking about comic book artists and illustrators and talk more about our photo studio again! So without further ado:

For over 30 years our studio, Sampsel & Preston Photography has had the privilege of being one of the premier commercial photography studios in Las Vegas. At the heart of what we do, Hotel and Resort photography is the mainstay of our work, making up for over 80% of how we spend our days. Over the years, we have done photo shoots for virtually every hotel on the strip, downtown, and even have travelled...

Mr. Las Vegas S&P Version.jpg

For those who don't know, I am a "born & bred" Las Vegan, and have often heard how rare that is. The sentiment that growing up in Las Vegas must have been really cool and interesting, and thinking back on it, I guess it was. When I was young I didn't realize or appreciate that it may have been different from growing up somewhere else, really, anywhere else. My mom was a waitress in various showrooms here in town and I remember that on some Saturday nights we would dress up and go out to a nice dinner at the Green Shack or The Alpine Village (out at the end of the strip) for Lobster Tail . We'd then pile back in the...


My wife just let me know I have been slacking on my blog duties, and I'd better get on it, so here you go, this weeks photo blog...

Let me apologize ahead of time for meandering here, this is our craziest blog yet, but stay with me, I think you are going to like this,...So, in case you didn't know, we have an American Dingo, also known as a Carolina Dog, who literally came running into our lives about 4 years ago, we rescued him off the street out of heavy traffic on the way home from the studio; we couldn't find his owner, so he is ours, and darn it, we love him. His name is Gizmo and he is one of the most amazing dogs, just a gem, and most nights we take him over...

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I woke up this morning thinking about writing this post and I remembered a quote that I want to attribute to Underground Comic book Artist Dan O'Neill, It's been about 40 years since I heard it, but It went something like this:

"You must blow your own horn, because someone must blow it, but if you blow your own horn, don't blow it!"

So here I am trying not to blow it, bear with me.

This last Sunday there was a wonderful remembrance of Comic Book Artist Marie Severin on the Today Show, she passed away August 29th after a stroke. I was honored that they had used my...

Scott and Anneline's wedding

Life takes you on many journeys and this last one was just wonderful. We have these friends, new friends to me, who recently got married in Topanga Canyon in LA. Greg took the groom’s picture for his book, The Artist Within: Book 2, and over the years,their paths crossed more than once and they found themselves friends. It’s not often I meet someone as gentle & sweet as Greg, but Scott Gandell is just like him. He graduated from the same school we did,...

Comic Book Artist Marie Severin Photographed for "The Artist Within"

Good morning~can we talk? As of April 1st this year, our studio Sampsel Preston Photography, has been in business for 30 years, and also for about that same amount of time I have had the pleasure of working on my personal project photographing some of the most amazing comic book artists, cartoonists, animators and illustrators in their studios, And, for the most part it has been joyous! We have had the best time. Raising our kids in the studio, traveling a lot, getting 2 books of my artists photos published. I mean sure, we have had our ups and downs in business, old reliable clients leaving, but new ones coming on, recession, health problems, etc..,...

Artist Kelly Freas Photographed for "The Artist Within"

Okay, Blog time again! It's been slow at the studio, August is generally our slowest month, year after year. Sharon is out of town for a couple days, but she did mention before she left that I should write something about the studio in the blog, OR ELSE! She has been making threats about taking over the blog,

but alas , she is out of town, (cue maniacal laughter) so...

Wow, It's been another crazy week, too much going on! First, a bunch of Birthdays! Happy Birthday to one of Science Fiction's great illustrators, Frank Kelly Freas, (above) Born on this day 1922. Kelly was an "American Science Fiction and Fantasy Artist artist with a career spanning more than 50 years. He was...

Artist Trina Robbins in her writing room

I thought I would give this blogging thing another try, believe it or not it has been a whole week since my last blog, lol! There were a Couple of Comic Book Birthdays this week, I wanted to say Happy Birthday to two of the Amazing Artists that I had the chance to photograph for my book project, The Artist Within: Books 1 & 2, First Trina Robbins. Trina was an early and influential participant in the Underground Comix movement, and one of the first few female artists in that movement. Both as a cartoonist and historian, Robbins has long been involved in creating outlets for and promoting female comics artists. In the 1980s, Robbins became the first woman...

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Photographing Alex Toth:

To be honest, I can't for the life of me remember who gave me Alex Toth's phone number, but I do remember that it came with the caveat that he almost never answered his phone, so I should try to call at various times of the day and night until he did. I also remember being told that it most likely would be a waste of time to even call him to ask if he would be a part of my photo project, because he was now a recluse. Pretty much avoiding everyone that he had known or been friends with. It seems like another person may have mentioned in passing that Toth hadn't actually left his house in several years. So...


So. Greg gives me my marching orders. He says, “Hey, there’s nothing going on this afternoon; would you write our blog? In my head, I think about the long list of undone, unkept, uncompleted things that grace my line of vision and I say, “Sure, I’ll try”. What should I write about? Tooth brush in his mouth, Greg says through foamy teeth that, ”Blogs should be about the interesting things we’ve done lately”. Of course, they should include the final retouched pictures of these interesting things, because, well, “blogs help your SEO, help bring in new clients, complement those clients featured, and they should make it seem like”…and this is where my brain goes numb. Sorry Greg, but I’ve decided to talk instead about what it’s like to be a photographer in 2016. A real life synopsis...