Photographer Sam Dean’s last day at The Roanoke Times was Thursday. He left to take the plunge and go into business for himself as a freelance photographer. Sam came to the Times as an intern in 1999. He came back as a full-time photographer soon after.
He’s done great work over the years. In 2004, Sam and reporter John Cramer followed the Bedford Boys to Afghanistan. For that five-week assignment in a combat zone, he got to wear a Kevlar vest and write his own advance obit. Since then, he’s taken on more military assignments: covering a young Marine recovering from an IED blast in 2005; and following a Salem teen as he joined the Army 10 years after 9/11. He proposed and covered a story on Virginia Tech students running an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. He was on the scene after the April 16th Virginia Tech shootings.
Sam won numerous VPA, VNPA and NPPA awards.
All this is to say that Sam and his mountaineer’s spirit of adventure will be missed. Sam could go to any assignment and come back with great photos AND great stories, many of which involved scaling fences, walls and other obstacles, or rappelling down the occasional cliff to get the shot we needed.
We’ll miss that energetic personality and all the beautiful images he brought to The Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com. We wanted to share some of his work through the years. -Natalee Waters, photo editor