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Mace and Crown | May 27, 2018

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Student Profile: Dawit N.M.

Student Profile: Dawit N.M.
Larenz Johnson
Staff Writer

Old Dominion student Dawit Samson, 19, is a director, photographer and graphic designer who goes by the name Dawit N.M. The influence of the name stems from familial ties as well as the military acronym – N.M. — for not having a middle name.


Dawit Samson, photographer and videographer

Following his move from Virginia to Maryland, Samson discovered graphic design as well as directing while in high school. He got involved with graphic design when the device he used to record video game gameplay broke.

“I got into video gameplay like recording and putting it on YouTube, then junior year my recording device broke, so I just started editing video gameplay, and that’s when I started graphic design,” Samson said.

When senior year came around, Samson bought his first camera, a digital single lens reflex, and began shooting home movies.

Originally, Samson planned on moving to New York for school, where he wanted to pursue a degree in film-making. However, family issues led to eventual attendance at Old Dominion.

“I did get accepted to all the colleges I applied to up north, but due to family issues we had to move to Virginia Beach and then I was just like ‘I’ll go to ODU and keep working at this video stuff and hopefully before I graduate get something popping off,” Samson said.

Samson’s background in photography began with the Mace and Crown, after hearing the university newspaper needed photographers and videographers. Samson showed his interest in videography, but the position was no longer available.

“When I went in and asked if they had any videographer jobs they were like, ‘Actually we aren’t doing that anymore, but we do need photographers,’ so I was like I’d just rather be a photographer,” Samson said.

Samson says that directing is his favorite out of his three talents, with his influences being Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and David Fincher.

“You’re basically a god in your own movie, because you control every single aspect, like a lamp in a film can mean a lot of things because I chose what type of lamp,” Samson said.

Samson has directed music videos for artists such as Tone’s “Franco,” and El Pavich’s “Bando.” Samson has also done album artwork for Old Dominion artist Doug Finesse’s song “House Music,” as well as his “Humble and Hungry” EP.

With directing and photography, Samson’s ultimate goal is to help kids in third world countries after he gets a little more exposure. Although he has not started yet, Samson intends to use his talents to showcase the reality of the dangerous life kids in Africa live, as well as poverty stricken children in the United States.

“To be honest, if it wasn’t for my dad joining the military and bringing us to America, I would have been that kid in a third world country, I would have probably been dead or starving…I just want to help those kids out,” Samson said.

Follow Dawit’s work on his website or on Twitter @Dawit_nm.