Warwick Valley High School senior Samantha Molinelli can thank her family for her successful start in photography. Years ago, her mother suggested she take photos at her brother Michael’s Little League games.
Now, some photographs she shot of Michael’s team playing at a youth baseball tournament in Cooperstown, NY in the summer of 2019 are heading for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Last spring, Sammi remembered seeing a Hall of Fame display of photos from that yearly tournament. Most of those pictures were shot with cell phones. She wondered if the Hall would like some better images.
“I submitted 10 photos to Cooperstown,” said Sammi, who rented a professional lens for the tournament. “They accepted all of them, and then just last Monday they sent me the deed of gift. So, I’ll have the rights to my photos, but they will be able to use them on their website, magazine, or any social media platform they want to.”
Sammi is now the unofficial official photographer for Michael’s current team: The Northeast Pride. She runs the team’s Instagram account and other social media.
“I just dabbled in other sports and activities,” Sammi said. “But baseball … there’s just something about baseball that brings another dimension to the pictures.”
While sports photography is her favorite, she also enjoys shooting portraits. Last year a portrait of her brother that she shot on color film won second place in the People’s Choice Awards at the Orange County Arts Council Arts Showcase.
“Samantha is a well-rounded artist with an excellent eye for composition,” said Kristen Spano, her portfolio teacher. “She is always motivated to capture a story within a click of a button whether it is highlighting a victory or establishing the mood of a portrait. Samantha is an exceptional artist with a gift.”
Although she started out with digital cameras, Sammi also enjoys the vintage feel of shooting film. She develops and prints black and white images in the high school darkroom. This year, she is taking digital photography and an independent study course in photography.
Sammi is also taking the portfolio and art careers course because she wants to major in photography in college.
“Sammi is a highly talented photographer, who developed her photographer’s “eye” at a young age,” photography teacher Shari Blaumer said. “She is exceptionally creative and eagerly goes outside the bounds of sports photography; producing exceptional portraits, macro photography, and still life photography – you name it.
“In 29 years, I have had many students who went on to art school to major in photography,” Blauner said. “A handful of them became incredibly successful. With images accepted by the Baseball Hall of Fame, other art awards, Samantha Molinelli is already someone I consider a highly successful photographer. In the future, I expect her name to be well known.”
Photographs taken by Samantha Molinelli of a youth baseball tournament in Cooperstown, NY will be on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
This photograph taken by Warwick High School student Samantha Molinelli will be on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.