I've done a lot of self portraits over the years. As I was learning to draw and paint, I was an available model and I felt a need to explore my thoughts on a personal level, so I experimented with paint and line and trying to find expression on paper and canvas. I've probably taken less photographic self portraits, serious ones anyway. I'll jokingly hold up the camera and shoot a few frames for a funny picture now and then, but serious self portraits, not really that many. Recently I've been struggling with my artwork, feeling it lacks who I am, more of it seems to be what I see or what I think about external things, but less about what I feel. My earliest work was about feeling, about how I felt about life and the world around me. It was all about inner expression and not technique or some political or social commentary. I somewhere lost this and even though I think some of me shows up in my photographs done for stories, these are still external in large part. The photograph below was one of those holding up the camera and snapping a picture - shots done with a point and shoot film camera back in the late 1990's. It was not a serious self portrait at all at the time, but became one years later when I started a series I called Re-Shoots where I began re-photographing old photos in different ways and holding them up to lights. This picture seemed to be me more than any of the others, I'm not entirely sure why, but it did. The other day I decided to begin exploring self portraits again and I ended up taking a similar angle and thought about the connection of past and present and felt it was a fitting portrait of me at this time. Though I'm generally a happy guy, moments of reflection do creep in on us from time to time. This is one of those times. Photographs by Richard Sayer
Over the last couple weeks and especially yesterday and today my good friend Jim Stefanucci has been on my mind. He went in for surgery yesterday and will be away from The Meadville Tribune for a few weeks as he recovers. Today while photographing Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper I was especially thinking of him as I tried to 'steal' one of his great pictures. Years ago Jim took a similar(and better) photo with the suject matter appearing out of focus except for in the glasses of the person she was talking with. It is this type of seeing and pushing the visual boundaries of story telling that Jim brought and then grew within the Meadville Tribune. It is Jim's leadership that has filled our walls with awards from the many talented photographers he has brought into the paper. We owe him our jobs and helping us realize our love of photography. Get well Jim! As Harmony commented on "We love Jim!" Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
Our second advertisement appeared in The Meadville Tribune this week in the business card directory. This is a small directory and we're the only photographers in it. It is fun for us to see this happening and hopefully we'll have many more of you out there looking for the sort of work we do. We really love photography and making art and want to share this.
SayerMotter Photography advertisement.
I've been thinking a lot about photography today(surprise huh?). How as a society we think about photography in different ways depending on what we want out of it. We grew, many of us, going to traditional portrait studios in our finest cloths all made up and looking good to then sit in front of a background to have our photographs made. Think about this for a minute. We go into someone else's place to sit in front of a background that we probably haven't seen before--or at least not since the last time we had our picture taken and we are dressed up like we only do for weddings, funeral and the occasional business party ---we do all of this in order to have our 'portrait' done. Is that who we are? As we're starting to navigate our way in this photographic business world we are embracing many things, including traditional portraits with backgrounds and lights. We are trying to learn how to do this at a very high level in order to serve our clients in what their needs are. But I couldn't help but think how we should really be fighting more and more for real portraiture--pictures of people as they are--true to the world and true to their legacy. I know the best portraits are those where you can see the honesty in the depiction---I know this. I've taken a couple of these over the years working at the paper. The funny thing is, when we do this sort of honest depiction for our clients we rarely ever sell them that picture. They more often choose the one closest to that picture-style we grew up with. I guess thats the culture of photography, and one we'll try our best to change I hope. None of this has anything to do with the picture above, I just thought I captured a nice blocked shot at the game tonight. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
Where-O-Where is Harmony Motter. Come on everybody...let's play along! Where in the U.S is Harmony Motter? Is she...A) Near the Theater District in Times Square, New York, New York B) On River Street in the Heart of the Historical District in beautiful, downtown Savannah, Georgia C) Approaching the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy D) The Middle of Nowhere.
Photos By: Harmony Motter
Today I began working again on a slideshow for the Miss Meadville Area Pageant of the current queen, Meredith Semon. Meredith came into the studio for some portraits and post pageant shots and I had her do a little dancing and jumping around to try to capture some of the feeling of her talent. Studio lighting is nice, but the contrived situation makes finding natural moments difficult. I liked the lines created by Meredith's arms and legs in this image, but I were to do it again I would use different lighting, more side lighting and a little less direct fill light. Photograph by Richard Sayer
I mentioned yesterday about being sick this week and shooting sports. I got to thinking about Michael Jordan having a 102 temperature and scoring 60 points. You're body just goes into an auto-pilot position and pure raw energy allows you to do what you do. Now I didn't have a Michael Jordan-esque performance, but during my sickness I was happy with my pictures and coverage of local high school sports. I did call in sick on Friday, but the other four days I managed to take pictures I was proud of despite really just wanting to crawl into bed and sleep. Meadville Tribune photographs by Richard Sayer
I've been sick all week and have sort of just 'been there' at work doing assignments. I have had a pretty good week capturing nice moments in sports and some nice lighting in a wrestling match--none of which I had the energy to post nor write about. One of these nights when I was feeling my throat getting redder and redder and denying me the pleasure of swallowing, I made this image from a model shoot a couple weeks ago. I had photographed this girl in high school once as she painted a column and she and her friend had fun painting each others legs completely pink and blue. She is in college now and interested in modeling. I often play around with words and images and this night, after reading a post on facebook from this person, all I could think about were the words...'I can't blame the sun for troubles...only the clouds' and I put them in this piece. I think it related to her post and my mindset together on that night. I'll try to post a few pictures from the week tomorrow. Sorry for missing a couple days on a page that is supposed to have something new everyday! I'll get back on my horse! Photo manipulation by Richard Sayer