Our Story

44 Pictures grew out of several other businesses that Sam Erickson founded over the last 20 years.  The first of these was a freelance photography business that saw Sam photograph many of the great bands and happenings of the 1990’s rock scene. Sam got his start in photography with his hometown friends Dave Matthews Band, traveling the world with them and documenting some of their most important tours and album sessions. After nearly a decade of photographing bands, Sam made the transition to directing documentary films in 1998 by converting his video and photographic archive of Dave Matthews Band’s seminal album “Before These Crowded Streets” into an MTV special called “Dave Matthews Band: Open Wide”.

In 2000 Erickson partnered with Jesse Sheppard and Jojo Pennebaker to form ESP Pictures. ESP helped launch the career of John Mayer with a documentary of his debut album “Room for Squares” and John’s first concert DVD “Any Given Thursday.” ESP also documented the major label debut for My Morning Jacket, making a documentary that raised the curtain on the creative process of this amazing band as they recorded “It Still Moves” (for which Sam also snapped the iconic cover image). 

In 2003, Erickson and Sheppard moved on to a new venture called 44 Pictures and Sam has kept the company name after the departure of Jesse Sheppard in 2004. With 44 Sam launched into the world of Nashville music videos, directing clips for Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Martina McBride, Brooks & Dunn and many more. 44 also produced one of the more note-worthy concert films of the 2000’s, with My Morning Jacket’s wildly inventive and visually stunning “Okonokos”. 

More recently, 44 Pictures has expanded beyond the realm of the music industry and into the world of non-fiction cable television. Building on Erickson’s educational background in the social sciences, 44 Pictures has begun establishing relationships with talented writers, chefs and other cultural explorers. In 2009 44 Pictures created a television pilot around the noted web rapscallion “Broke Ass Stuart”, which IFC has picked up as a six episode series called “Young Broke & Beautiful” (airing June 2011). We are also developing a pilot built around wild man chef Chris Cosentino (star of “Chefs vs City” on Food Network).

44 Pictures has also ventured into the world of branded entertainment with the American Express-sponsored series “Pairings”, which explores the creative connections between food wine and music. In the past year we have produced and filmed episodes starring musicians such as Sting, Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, John Legend, and chefs Tom Colicchio, Chris Cosentino, and John Besh.

While these changes in course represent a new challenge for 44 Pictures, they also tap into a continuing legacy of thoughtful, introspective and visually inventive work for which Erickson has always been known. Please explore the website and learn more about our history and future.

Our Team:

Sam Erickson: Owner

Filmmaker and photographer Sam Erickson is the founder of 44 Pictures, a Brooklyn -based production company with strong roots in the music industry that has created programming for Bravo, MTV, and Fuse, among other outlets.

Having studied sociology and anthropology at Swarthmore College, Erickson learned early on to observe subjects closely in their own environments before superimposing his creative vision. His time at Swarthmore also saw him develop a passion for the history and practice of still photography, along with an appreciation for the documentary films of D. A. Pennebaker, the Maysles Brothers, and Errol Morris.

As a rock photographer, Erickson has created arresting images of such icons as Dave Matthews Band and Jon Bon Jovi, and has shown his work at New York’s Morrison Hotel gallery. His love of music — and his deep interest in the creative processes behind it — eventually drew him into video and film, as he went on to direct concert DVDs, music videos, and documentaries featuring some of the most influential musicians and performers of our time: Bob Dylan, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, and Steve Winwood, as well as such Nashville fixtures as Kris Kristofferson, Keith Urban, and Brooks & Dunn. More recently, Erickson has been busy creating documentary and performance series for cable television. He is currently in development on a travel series called Young Broke & Beautiful for IFC and a series for American Express called Pairings, which brings together musicians, chefs, and winemakers.

Kate O’Keefe: Producer

Kate was born and raised in New York City, and has also lived in DC and Dublin, Ireland. After receiving a degree in American Studies from Georgetown University she came back to New York and started her career in television production. Kate enjoys thinking of creative ways to make projects work within any budget range, as well as employing the ever-changing technical landscape and new workflows to turn ideas into reality. She loves train travel, dogs and farmers’ markets. Kate has been with 44 Pictures since 2005.

Zoë Ritchken: Associate Producer

Hailing from San Diego, CA, Zoë moved to New York City to study English Literature at New York University. After graduating in 2007, she pursued a career in entertainment and immersed herself in the freelance world of reality television, working on such shows as Bravo’s Project Runway, MTV’s Making the Band, and NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice. After working on Fuse’s Dave Matthews Band: The Road to Big Whiskey in 2008, she became a permanent fixture at 44 Pictures. She loves modern fiction, punk rock, and big sunglasses.

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