Deborah Samuel was born in Vancouver, Canada. Her family moved to Toronto and then to Ireland before she was 14. She studied art in Ireland at Limerick College of Art and Design and then returned to Canada to study photography at Sheridan College.
Deborah Samuel was quickly recognized for the distinct style of her fashion photographs and for her intuitive and intense portraits of celebrities, musicians and writers like Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood, Rush and Queen Noor, while she refined her personal work and exhibited extensively. Professional opportunities required time spent in New York, London and Los Angeles before she ultimately decided to settle in LA where she became an in demand editorial portrait photographer. Deborah Samuel worked for magazines such as GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Spin and Entertainment Weekly, in addition to directing music videos for musicians and bands for numerous record companies. Concurrently, in the galleries, Deborah Samuel’s photographs of nudes explored the pursuit of perfection in the media age- a prescient topic. Later her work evolved into formal portrait studies of animals and nature. In 2012, The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto exhibited Elegy, a solo exhibition of her subtle photographs of animal bones.
Deborah Samuel currently lives in Galisteo, New Mexico where she keeps a studio, her dog, Mac and Crow, her Spanish Mustang. She shows her photographs in the United States, Canada and internationally. Her work resides in the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum, Winnipeg Art Museum and Santa Barbara Art Museum as well as numerous private and corporate collections. Deborah Samuel has lectured and led photography workshops throughout North America. She has published three books, Dog and Pup, a collection of canine portraits, and The Extraordinary Beauty of Birds: Designs, Patterns and Details.
Selected solo exhibitions
2017-THE EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTY OF BIRDS, Webster Collection, Santa Fe, NM ( with Willis F Lee/Ephemeral )
2017 –ARTIFACT, Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada
2012—ELEGY, 333 Montezuma Arts, Santa Fe, NM
2012—ELEGY, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.
Co-Presented by the Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity and the Institute for Contemporary Culture.
2009—PASSING, 222 Shelby Street Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2008—PASSING, Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2004—DOG, Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2003—THE DOGSHOW, Conduit Gallery, Dallas, Texas (with Marty Walker)
2002—DOG + PUP, Special Photographers Gallery, London
2001—DOG & PONY SHOW, Staley Wise Gallery, NY, NY (with Steven Klein)
1996—EXHIBIT, Special Photographers Gallery, London
1996—EXHIBIT, Tatar Alexander Gallery, Toronto
1993—VENUS PASSAGE, Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto
1991—CIRCLE SERIES, Galerie Reckerman, Cologne, Germany
1990—CIRCLE SERIES, Special Photographers Gallery, London
1989—CIRCLE SERIES, Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto
1987—HEADSHOTS, Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto
1982—SPRING COLLECTION, Past & Present Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
1981—SPRING COLLECTION, Gallery Quan, Toronto
Selected group exhibitions
2009—The Edge Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2002—Dog Days of Summer, Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Georgia
2002—A Thousand Hounds, UBS PaineWebber Gallery, New York
2001—Dog & Pony Show, Staley Wise Gallery, New York
2001—Creatures, Afterimage Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1999—Dogs & Cats, Stephen Cohen Gallery, Los Angeles
1996—Gallery of Contemporary Photography, Los Angeles, Ca.
1996—Gallerie Vrais Reves, France
1996—2x30, Tatar Alexander Gallery, Toronto
1992—The Idealizing Vision, traveling exhibition organized by Aperture
1990—Presence Of Portraits, Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto
1990—Lovers, Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto
1989—Lovers, Galerie Elca London, Montreal
1989—Contemporary Canadian Photography, Hotel La Citadelle, Montreal
1988—On The Border, Special Photographers Gallery, London
1988—Figurative Force, Stratford, Canada
1986—22 Wooster Gallery, New York
1986—Masterpieces From The Gallery Collection, Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto
1986—Canadian Contemporary Photography, The Watson Gallery, Houston, Texas
1985—Retrospective, Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto
1985—The Leading Edge–Fashion & Beauty Photographs In Canada, Festival of Canadian Fashion, Toronto
1985—IMITATION OF LIFE, Gallery Quan, Toronto
1983—ASPECTS OF PRINTMAKING, Gallery Quan, Toronto
1983—4 ARTISTS, Zenith Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1983—4 ARTISTS, Lawndale Alternative, Houston, Texas
1982—Critics Choice, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
1980—Huys Gallery, Prince Rupert, Canada
1979—GROUP OF 6, Win Gallery, Toronto
1978—Canadians Exhibition, National Touring Exhibition, Toronto
1978—Silver Shadows, Toronto
1977—Ontario Student Print Show, Toronto and Paris, France
1977—Winter Artists, Dublin, Ireland
2017 – ARTIFACT, Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada
2012—ELEGY, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.
Co-Presented by the Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity and the
Institute for Contemporary Culture.
1999—ADCC 50-Year Retrospective, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
—Children In Photography: 150 Years, a traveling exhibition
—Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, Canada
—Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal
—Memorial University Art Gallery, St. Johns, Canada
—Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Canada
—Koffler Art Gallery, Toronto
—Art Gallery Of Hamilton, Hamilton, Canada
—Vancouver Museum, Vancouver
—Glenbow Museum, Calgary
—Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Canada
Royal Ontario Museum
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Museum of Fine Arts/Houston
Samuel, Deborah, The Extraordinary Beauty of Birds/Designs, Patterns and Details. Prestel Publishing, Spring 2016.
Samuel, Deborah, pup: The Photographs of Deborah Samuel. Chronicle Books, Spring 2002.
Samuel,Deborah, dog: The Photographs of Deborah Samuel. Chronicle Books, Fall 2001.
Ewing, William, editor, The Idealizing Vision: The Art of Fashion Photography. Aperture Foundation Incorporated, 1991. A collection of photographs from leading fashion photographers.
Ghost Photography /L'illusione del Visible ("The Illusion of the Visible"). Italy: Mystfest/ Idea Books, 1989. A series of photographs from various photographers exploring the relationship between photography and specters.