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Meet Sam Deery-Schmitt and Blake Estes of Estes & Schmitt in Central

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Deery-Schmitt and Blake Estes.

Blake Estes and Sam Deery-Schmitt met at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles in 2016, where they still both work (Blake now lives and works at Mt. Wilson Observatory, but occasionally will work special events at Griffith) to promote scientific literacy and instill an understanding and appreciation of the cosmos in visitors from around the world. Blake is a practicing astronomer and a photographic scientist by degree, and he strives to capture the complex beauty of the universe as seen through his eyes. Sam has a background in scientific research and is a seasoned public speaker and amateur astrophotographer who enjoys making science engaging and accessible for everyone.

Blake has privately owned and operated telescopes for years, and delights in showing friends and neighbors unparalleled views of the moon, planets, and galaxies. He has also imaged these same objects for a number of years, but for some time, he just kept his space photos stored on his computer. “I would show a friend a picture of the Orion Nebula, and they would be blown away that I had never considered putting it on the internet. So I started uploading my images to social media. And eventually, people started asking if I would ever put my photos on clothing.”

Then came a camping trip with Sam to Joshua Tree National Park in December 2017 to watch the peak of the Geminid meteor shower (and do some astrophotography, of course). Blake and Sam discussed forming a business venture, while photographing the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, and the Rosette Nebula, to name a few. And so under the cover of innumerable stars, with streaking meteors illuminating the desert landscape, Estes & Schmitt was born.

The Estes & Schmitt mission remains, first and foremost, to share the surreal views of the universe Blake and Sam are afforded while in locations like Joshua Tree. We at Estes & Schmitt want our customers to feel like they’ve plucked a form-fitting piece of the fabric of spacetime from the cosmos. We want people to find themselves staring into their metallic print of the Heart and Soul Nebula they’ve hung in their living room.

But, equally importantly, our mission is to do our part to contribute to equality in science. There is a wide discrepancy in representation of women and minority groups in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. We want to contribute to changing the status quo, and that’s why we are committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from our sales to organizations the empower underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM educations and careers.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting out with a two-person team was difficult. We were literally doing every single task ourselves – building our e-commerce platforms, digital marketing, fulfilling orders – it was just us, and it was challenging. But we’ve got a larger team now and it’s exponentially easier to accomplish our goals.

Please tell us about Estes & Schmitt.
We are astrophotographers who use advanced techniques to take high resolution images of celestial objects, such as galaxies, nebulae, and comets, which we incorporate into ready-to-wear fashion and print on metal for display. Our prints are sold at Griffith Observatory and our work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times. Our metal prints are a unique product because of the sharpness of the images and the superior design of the print itself – the prints are easy to hang, very durable, and can be scaled up to enormous sizes.

We’re most proud of our consistent science outreach efforts. We create a tremendous amount of educational content through our social media platforms and our website and enjoy educating the public at events. Science literacy is very important to us and we’re doing our part on a daily basis to promote this value.

We also firmly believe the representation gap in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) needs to be closed and that more needs to be done to ensure that underrepresented demographics including minorities and women are better represented in these fields. To that end, we have started a program where we interview STEM professionals, with a focus on underrepresented groups, to highlight the stories of these individuals in hope of inspiring others, in particular young students. We are also committed to donating a portion of sales to organizations that empower women and minorities to pursue educations and careers in the STEM fields and have partnered with organizations such as Day One in the past to this end.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The American public has become increasingly interested in all things space in recent years, and we expect this trend to continue as new missions launch. Several key missions, including Perseverance and James Webb will increase our understanding of the universe and provide fascinating new images of our universe that will stoke the public imagination. As such, we expect interest in space art and fashion to increase.

Pricing:

  • Currently offer 10% discount off first order – see our website, estesandschmitt.com, for details

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Estes & Schmitt (for all images except the image of the woman wearing the moon shirt with the metal print) that one belongs to: Kalpana Pot

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