Samantha Grier and A Photojournalism Dynasty

Samantha Grier is a freelance photographer and photojournalist who has worked for the Cox newspaper group in Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Post. A graduate of Ohio University, she’s also the daughter of the Post’s esteemed photographer Melvin Grier, who covered area events for 33 years and whose name is synonymous with quality photojournalism.

I always just wanted a job based on my own merits. Of course, there aren’t that many Griers and the photography industry is fairly small. So people could put two and two together that we were related. But at the Post, they did a good job of treating us as separate people. And also at Cox, it was just my own work.

My dad and I were technically coworkers for probably about six months. The summer after I graduated, at the Post they were doing a project called “KY Post Preps.” It was a website about Northern Kentucky football. When their intern, who was a good friend of mine, left to go back home, they hired me to fill in for him. So I worked in Northern Kentucky and my dad was working in Cincinnati. They shut down [the Northern Kentucky] project after a few months. And since I was still under contract, I came to the Post’s Cincinnati office.

I always was under the impression—and was always taught—to try and pursue a career that was practical but was something I wanted to do. I always liked to dance, but I never thought I could make that a career. I would go to work with my dad for take-your-daughter-to-work day occasionally, and it just seemed fun. Every day was different. So, when I was in high school and trying to decide what I wanted to study, I decided I was interested in photojournalism. Which, actually, I think my parents were surprised about, because I never talked about it much. It was just something that I had an idea that I wanted to do. And then I just did it.

I lived at home for at least one or two years after college. It was actually very helpful. I could ask him for advice on certain things. Not just about photography, but working in the industry, the things that you have to deal with that don’t really have anything to do with shooting, dealing with people and incidents and problem-solving. I felt grateful that I had this resource that I could reach out to when I needed help.

I think my father deserves every accolade he gets. I’m grateful we’ve been able to work together. A lot of people still call him and ask him if he wants to shoot. And he will say, “Well, I’m retired, so I’ll give you my daughter’s number.” Which is nice.

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