Samantha Hearn is a freelance photographer, videographer and journalist living in Nashville. With a background in news, her work tends to focus on telling a story and bringing meaning to each photograph, video or article. In addition to her work behind the camera, Samantha is also skilled at website design, creating electronic press kits, writing press releases and crafting great social media content.
Visually, her work has a seductive and dark aesthetic with an eye for color, shadows and natural light. Her work has gravitated towards musicians, with a knack for creating vibes directly related to a group or artist’s vision/brand. She loves to work with artists of all kinds, however, and enjoys other projects like weddings, children and portraiture.
As a photographer Samantha aims for the sensually unexpected, combining provocative elements with an artistic approach. A self-taught Canon shooter, she looks for subjects with honest, moving stories. She has shot for brands like Female Collective, a t-shirt company that donates back to women in need, and has shot for Jet Black Alley Cat, an up-and-coming Nashville pop/rock band, since 2015 – crafting countless photos and a nearly 12-minute documentary that was released as a deluxe version of their ‘Part One’ album earlier this year.
Samantha is a Middle Tennessee State University alum where she studied journalism, double minoring in global studies and theatre. Before that she was a journalism major at Volunteer State Community College where she was the editor-in-chief of the award-winning magazine The Pioneer. It was during this time that Samantha first picked up a DSLR camera and began to shoot photos in addition to writing. She was the photography editor for MTSU Sidelines, an online and print news publication, during her senior year where she handled all visual communication as well as contributed stories as a reporter.
As a Seigenthaler Scholar covering federal courts for The Tennessean in 2013, she wrote about drugs and gang-related crime in the city on a federal level. She also worked as a reporter for The Tennessean in 2013 for four weeks as a news intern, and her background as editor-in-chief of The Pioneer Magazine led her to be recognized with a resolution from the Tennessee State legislature in 2011 for outstanding performance and leadership.
From 2015 to 2016, Samantha was the Associate Editor for Brentwood Home Page, covering government, police, crime, business, development and people. After realizing her true passion for photography and videography, she left the world of journalism in late 2016 to pursue her calling full-time. Still holding a passion for stories, Samantha contributed in 2016 & 2017 to Noble Nashville, covering fashion, music and lifestyle stories in addition to taking photos. As a photojournalist, she has covered protests, political events, fashion shows and musicians such as Santana, The Kongos, Andra Day, Reeve Carney and Kaleo, just to name a few.
She is currently working on an ongoing photography + videography project called Dopamine Diaries, a look at love, lust and the power dynamics between men and women. This series encapsulates the grandeur and over-the-top fantasies that people experience when in love, focusing on the pictures we paint in our minds of the people we fall in love with. It is somewhat based on real life experiences, somewhat based on fantasy and entirely based on the line in our minds that crosses both.
In addition, Samantha and her best friend Mila launched a travel, photography and fashion blog called Hightail Highway in 2017. The blog focuses on the dynamics of the duo, their journey photographing each other since the formation of their friendship, and traveling the world in cool clothes getting the best photos. With each shoot over the nearly three-year span of their friendship, Mila & Sam realized their true potential and decided to take it a step further, putting their content in a central place for readers to experience what they do on a regular basis.
Traveling has always been one of Samantha’s biggest passions, in addition to writing and photography. She went to Italy for 10 days after high school, and in college she traveled to Brazil for five weeks in 2010 and to Greece for four weeks in 2011 through the TnCIS consortium program. She went back to Brazil in 2013 to study Portuguese language and Brazilian culture for two months, living with the same host family she met through TnCIS.
Samantha has always had a huge interest in film, and she combined her love for travel with that when she traveled to Paris in 2014 with a prestigious group of 11 other MTSU students to film three documentaries. In her role on the team of Kelly Rozell and Kelsey Price, Samantha was the producer and sound engineer for a documentary called Fighter, about Afro-French singer Jara Ezo.
Fighter received the 2014 Finishing Fund from the Nashville Women in Film and Television. Fighter also won Best Documentary and Best Innovative Sound at the 2014 Artlightenment Festival, and showed at the Festival South Film Expo in Hattiesburg, Miss. in June 2015. Fighter was accepted into the Savannah Film Festival in October 2015 and the Charleston Film Festival in November 2015.
Following Paris, Samantha traveled again to Greece with three of her girlfriends for two weeks. In fall 2016 she traveled to Mexico City to visit her best friend, as well as to Pennsylvania and New York on a short tour photographing Jet Black Alley Cat. In spring 2017 she traveled to Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey for two weeks, again on tour with Jet Black Alley Cat, producing and directing the aforementioned documentary that will be released later next year.
In her free time, Samantha enjoys a good cup of coffee and curling up with a book, usually one of the Harry Potter installments, anything Ernest Hemingway or something macabre like Edgar Allan Poe or H.P. Lovecraft. She thoroughly enjoys Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and anything else science fiction. Her favorite holiday is Halloween but she loves all things creepy, all year round. Having grown up camping, hiking and boating in Tennessee, Samantha loves the outdoors and warm weather. She enjoys writing fiction and poetry, painting and film. Her favorite shows to binge-watch include The Office and Sex and the City. You can call her Sam.