NHIA Photography Chair Named NH Artist Laureate

Jennifer Robertson on 05.04.17

New Hampshire’s Executive Council today confirmed Gov. Chris Sununu’s nomination of Gary Samson of Concord, N.H, as the next New Hampshire Artist Laureate. Samson is currently serving as the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s (NHIA) Photography Chair.

An award-winning photographer and filmmaker, Samson’s work creates comprehensive pictorial histories that document people and culture. 

Samson developed his love of photography while working at the Manchester Historic Association, where he made contact prints from the many glass negatives that document the history of the city of Manchester and the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. The work impressed upon him that photography can be an important tool for sharing history and culture with wider audiences. 

Throughout his career, Samson’s commitment to creating and preserving photographic collections for future generations has inspired him to produce both films and exhibitions on New Hampshire history and culture.

Samson’s work is in private and public collections including the Currier Museum of Art, the University of New Hampshire and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He has also received two visual artist fellowships from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

Samson’s work at NHIA has had a profound impact on a generation of young photography students. Over the past thirty years Samson has created an undergraduate photography program that teaches students traditional darkroom and film techniques while exposing them to the latest new technologies: from the daguerreotype to the digital. Students create photographs as they were created over 100 years ago, but also learn advanced digital image-making and editing techniques—skills that few in the industry possess but many in this highly competitive field desire. 

“Photography is one of our most accessible arts, because it captures reality while also interpreting it,” Gov. Chris Sununu said. “As artist laureate, Gary Samson’s skill and passion will be of great service to those of us who love New Hampshire, helping us learn more about how photography can illuminate both what took place in the past and how today’s actions will reverberate across time.”

“I am extremely honored and delighted to serve as the next Artist Laureate of New Hampshire,” said Samson. “As a native of Manchester, and a lifelong resident of the state, I look forward to working with the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts promoting the importance and value of art in the lives of our citizens.”

Established in 1997, New Hampshire’s artist laureate is an honorary position that receives no compensation.


About the N.H. State Council on the Arts

Part of the N.H. Department of Cultural Resources, the Division of the Arts – also known as the N.H. State Council on the Arts – is a publicly funded agency. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experience of our citizens.” Funding comes from state appropriations, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more at nh.gov/nharts.