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Meet Sam Hodgson

SD Mag spotlights this local photographer

By Laurie Nicoud

I’m From… Well, I was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, but grew up in Escondido.

I started working with San Diego Magazine in… Well, I sort of have a couple different start dates. It’s been a long strange history for me and San Diego Magazine. The first time was in college, when I still thought I would be a traditional print reporter. I interned for about 9 months and wrote a few short blurbs about music. My second start with San Diego Magazine was when I was on staff at Voice of San Diego. We had a partnership with the mag and I shot my first feature about Somali women boosting their incomes by becoming licensed daycare providers.

I’m currently shooting/drawing/working on… Well, I’ve been focusing on a couple of things. For starters, I’m shooting the mayor’s race (again), which has been interesting. I’m also working on a project with The New York Times, but you’ll just have to wait to hear more about that. Other than that, it’s the regular life of a newspaper/magazine photographer — keeping that phone by my side, never knowing what I’ll be called on to shoot in a given day.

A personal project I’m working on is… It’s been a pretty hectic year, so I haven’t been on a personal project for a little while. A couple of self-generated projects I’m pretty happy about from this year are this profile of interim mayor Todd Gloria that I co-produced with my talented wife Hailey Persinger and this project about residents who have been affected by a lack of street lighting in their communities.

My favorite thing to photograph/draw in San Diego is… The people. San Diego has such amazing, rich, diverse culture. And we can unfortunately still be a very segregated city. A big part of my job is showing the commonalities between people in all of the city’s neighborhoods – from the banker in La Jolla to the hipster in North Park to the refugee in City Heights.

The San Diego Magazine assignment they are most proud of… I was excited about the variety of shots we got for this story about the Del Mar Fairgrounds. We rented a chopper to get some unique aerial views and then got in close to some of the political culture behind the controversy.

Story about when someone saw your work in the magazine… My mum usually gets a copy before I do and then makes a big fuss about how great my work was. On a side-note, I love my mum.

Their favorite issue/story of San Diego Magazine I think I had the most fun shooting this story about the maintenance that goes into preserving The Giant Dipper roller coaster. I knew I wanted a shot of kids screaming on the coaster and I’ll tell you that riding a roller coaster twisted backwards is fun, but a little hard on the back.

What inspires you… I think more than anything, my photo subjects do. It’s amazing how open and giving people are in this world if you just ask questions and approach them with honesty and compassion. The people of this city have such compelling lives and it’s a privilege to be able to share their stories. I try to keep in mind that doing their lives and stories justice is a great responsibility and usually that is inspiration enough for me.

If I wasn’t a photographer/illustrator, I’d be a… Cat.

Check out Sam Hodgson’s website!

Meet Sam Hodgson

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