Aaron Siskind is considered one of the important figures in 20th century photography. He taught for some time at Rhode Ilsand School of Design. He would mostly be catagorized in the same group with painters like Robert Motherwell and Flanz Kline. He would photograph abstractions in Black and white. Sometimes his photographs were just cracks in a wall or a section of a wall, all shot on large format film. Perhaps some medium format as well. I always liked Siskind and on occasion try to figure out how to see a photograph the way he did. When I took this photograph tonight I liked how abstract it was, how the light and shadow created shapes and forms and lines. The eye peaking out made it for me, it would've probably killed it for Siskind who was after something different. I like how I can learn from photographers and artists even if their styles are so much different than mine. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
Pastor Tyrone Steals speaks to the crowd at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. dinner held at the Family and Community Christian Association (the former YWCA) Monday. I photographed many pictures of Steals from the front concentrating on getting real tight in on his face and hands as he spoke. I got a couple of shots that I thought were passable, but nothing that really grabbed me. I noticed the plain wall to the side and decided to try to get a profile of this man who was quite dynamic as hs spoke and used his hands to emphasize some of his points. This particular gesture came as he was speaking about how having President Barack Obama in the white house would not have been possible today without King. I felt the clean background worked out well in this case to really emphasize the gesture. Sometimes you have to look away from the subject in order to find the picture you need to take. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
Sunday's Meadville Tribune contained a Bridal guide. In it was our first newspaper advertisement for wedding photography. We're looking to bring what we do best, capture moments to wedding photography in Northwest Pennsylvania. We're hoping people respond to this ad as we really feel we can offer a special record of one of the greatest days in a couple's life. We take photography very seriously and feel great joy in sharing special times with our subjects and providing them with the record of not only the event, but the feelings and spirit of the event. If interested don't hesitate to give us a call or drop us a line. Photographs by Richard Sayer and Harmony Motter in an ad in the 1/17/10 Meadville Tribune.
I was photographing the annual bluegrass festival, a tough one to photograph for a good picture. The lighting is bad, their is alot of stuff in front of the musicians that is distracting, the lighting is bad(did I say that already?), the backgrounds usually don't help, its in a conference room, nobody gets up to dance and in case I didn't make it clear before, the lighting is bad. So each year I end up with a very similar picture, a close-up of one of the musicians which is a passable picture, but really doesn't cut it for me who wants to find something of a story within a story. It gets compounded by the fact that we can't stay long due to either deadline or another assignment(it falls on the same weekend with the Meadville Hockey tournament and the Saegertown wrestling tournament. The real story to tell happens after the musicians are done playing and head back to their rooms. Here is where they all mingle and jam. These are not only good times, but good music. Last night this man who videotapes the event every year came up to me and held out this piece of cut glass that was prism like with a hole cut into it. He seemed excited about showing me this piece and telling me what it does. I asked if he used it for still photographs and he said he didn't know if it would work. So I tried a couple frames after figuring it out a little and got the picture above. I forget sometimes to get excited about such things and even though the picture is neat, it isn't my cup of tea, but it was fun talking with this man and seeing how excited he got from a simple filter and what affects he could achieve with it. Its nice to have tools to try and then use. I almost wish I had one of these myself now to see what else I could do with it. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
A picture to tell a story of something we didn't cover after the fact usually leads to pretty boring photos. They end up being portraits because we won't stage or fake a photograph based on journalism codes of ethics. Though a portrait is staged somewhat, it is staged honestly and not with the intent to deceive. During these portraits we keep and eye out for little moments when the subject is no longer posing. That's what we look for and try to capture for the paper. Not only does it add an action to the image, it is more times than not a more accurate portrait of the subject. Today I photographed Walker Dunn, a nine year old who showed his heifer at the Pennsylvania State Farm show. The heifer ended up winning Supreme champion. Walker showed the heifer named 8181 in all but the final supreme champion where his mother took over simple because the heifer was a little agitated and the crowd was a lot bigger than anything Walker had seen before and he was admittedly a little scared. I was happy with this picture because Walker had his picture taken a lot in Harrisburg and I could tell he was expected to pose for those photos because he wanted to pose, staring at the camera and smiling for me. I took those shots too and they would've been fine for the paper, but this - more active picture I think draws us in more and gives a little better understanding of Walker and his connection to his animal. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
One of the ways photographers bust each others chops is when we see them do the same thing over and over again. Well I do reflections. I do a lot of them. Some better than others. I'm attracted to them, I think partly because it is somewhat surreal looking at a reflection. I like surreal, its a place to let your imagination go. Each time I take one I sort of, but not really, vow to not take another one. And I do look to get pictures that aren't reflections, but I guess when I do see them it would be silly not to take it. And it does give a little visual stimulation from time to time for our newspaper. This picture I saw tonight of some hockey fans. I zeroed in on Emma Toner in the center hoping to use the man in the foreground as sort of a framing device. I didn't quite get what I was hoping for with the foreground being a little darker and I didn't want to over post-process it and burn down the edges to create what I wanted, rather let it stand as close to how it actually was. I'll expect my photo friends to bust my chops as they usually do after I take another reflection. Medville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
OK its not a picture for my portfolio. Last Saturday I was told we needed a picture of the snow covered sidewalk over Spring Street bridge. The story was explaining how one organization, PENNDOT is in charge of plowing the street and another organization, the City of Meadville is in charge of the sidewalk. With the amount of snow that fell the plows dumping snow up onto the sidewalk was more than the city could handle. The impact on the people of the fifth ward was our concern. After two failed attempts to show up when someone was using the bridge I was resigned that I wasn't going to get a picture that shows the impact. I saw a bicyclist heading towards the bridge and took a chance that maybe he'd be heading to fifth ward so I turned my car around and even got a chance to chat with him and get a couple of his thoughts on it. It appeared in Monday's paper. When I came in on Tuesday I had a message about the picture and how it got action. By Monday afternoon apparently the sidewalks were cleared. Not exactly stopping world hunger, but it did a little good for some here locally. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer