Sam McKnight, alum of both the AFA Filmmaking and 1-Year Photography conservatory at New York Film Academy (NYFA), recently had his work featured on the cover of Hype Hair magazine, where he shot multiple Grammy Award-nominated artist Marsha Ambrosius.
McKnight is a self-described military brat who served in the United States Army for six years, after being medically retired due to a leg injury. “I believe the Military really teaches core values of life,” McKnight tells NYFA. “I learned how to be disciplined, and how to have a great work ethic. The military is culturally diverse so I was able to learn how to interact with different groups of people.”
These skills came in handy when McKnight first attended the AFA in Filmmaking program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. His original passion was in music, and early on McKnight found himself visualizing ideas and images to put to the music his father was always listening to while they traveled together.
McKnight soon found himself engrossed in still photography as well as filmmaking. “I learned in Filmmaking that lighting is the key for everything,” says McKnight. “After getting a grasp on film, I really wanted to understand the composition of photography. Learning the subject in front of me and what was behind that subject was appealing.”
McKnight has found success in both photography and filmmaking, and found that the diversity he encountered in the Armed Forces also existed in the art world. “I learned teamwork is the key. Never give up and find other strategies to get the job done. NYFA really gave me foundation about what the film industry is and how it works. Being on a culturally diverse campus is a great help in learning how to interact and work with different people.”
The NYFA community is not only diverse but alumni often find themselves brought together by their work. The music videos McKnight found himself involved with were overseen by none other Akila Robinson, who attended the 12-Week Evening Digital Filmmaking workshop at NYFA’s New York campus in 2010.
New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking and Photography alum Sam McKnight on his Hype Hair cover and looks forward to his continued success in both mediums!