I made this image my profile picture on facebook and actually got a lot of compliments on it. Its funny. I will try almost anything I think of to make an image including printing a picture out on a standard office printer on cheap paper and then photograph it again held up to an incandescent light without changing the auto white balance--just to see what it does. And this was the result. I had made a similar image on film that I put in a show a few years ago and I called it 'goat'. I thought the title was pretty telling because of the use of the word goat and its many meanings in conjunction with the image that resembled a stuffed pig ready to be feasted upon. That image hangs, I think anyway, in my dear friend Chuck McCleary's house. This is a variation and sometimes I feel like this stuffed pig or goat...not in as bad a way as it might seem. I don't always understand the world around me--but I'm confident that even though I might be a small part of society--I do have a voice---and sometimes that voice says 'no matter what you throw on me...you can't take away my worth.' This is important to note---I talk about this all the time when I talk about the idea of bosses and workers. To me-- a boss has the job to do the work that allows me to use my talents to do my work. They are not superiors--they equally have a task to do to make sure our jobs a functioning at capacity. If bosses understand this--productivity soars and the workers are happy. Its funny--but that is really what the piece 'goat' is about. And yes there are a lot of times I wish that apple was in my mouth preventing me from using my voice--because not everyone agrees with what I have to say and it does get me into some trouble with people who think they are superiorPhotograph of a print of a photograph by Richard Sayer.
I've made up my mind that I need to work on a certain number of images each day just to keep somewhat up. While working on images it is important for me to keep learning how to do things. I'm never sure what some little thing I try might turn out to be something I can utilize in much more of my work. Years ago I tried to learn how to incorporate text into photographic illustrations so I could do something a little different for the creation of the Athletes of the year features we put in the paper. It was simple, I just wanted to put in some of their stats and accomplishments. I bumbled and stumbled through it and it took me far longer than it should have, but I did it and learned alot in the process. Now I make posters and all sorts of things based on that little tiny experiment. So when I stumble on something now--i don't disregard it---I try to learn from it. This image I was trying a different way than I usually do to make the image black and white and I found by pushing the process a little I could create something I didn't expect. Then I wanted to see if I could make the image work.It reminded me of several printmaking techniques and I thought about that and began trying to tone and push the tones until I finally arrived at this. Not sure what I think of it yet, but it was important for me to learn what this little part of photoshop can do--maybe I'll be able to use it more and more in my work. SayerMotter Photography image manipulated by Richard Sayer.
The wonderful thing about free-for-all shoots trying to find a portfolio of pictures--is you can get a lot of different looks and styles. I grew up in the 80's and looking back at that time....well it wasn't the best of times even though I had great fun...I complained about the music which --for the most part(sans the great punk and new wave stuff) was awful....I know--so many people loved those hair and metal bands. And the styles were so plastic and fake it was real hard finding anyone who was authentic and true. They were there for sure, but culture seemed to leave them behind somehow. Perhaps it still does. But those styles--that moussed and messy hair style with hard line edges to features made for some cool photography--(80's photography was pretty darn good!). So for some reason, all of a sudden, I wanted to mess everyones hair up and try shooting portraits and glamour-style shots. I'm not entirely over this phase either(so beware models!) I don't want to create retro photographs as much as create something new from retro ideas--this is an interesting thing to try and we'll see if it ends up pulling off in the long run. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
PS--and the title of this post--perhaps this is a movie that needs to be made--start learning Laurie Anderson tunes Jessica!
Today was a day that started out with teaching, learning, teaching and then doing necessary but not fun things at the paper. I photographed only one basketball game and I forgot to post a picture from that--really just sort of mediocre action shots anyway. But I got consumed today with this idea of taking a cartoon and seeing if I could use it as a jumping off point for a painting. Shepard Fairey took a photo ad made it a sort of cartoon and he became famous and infamous for this with the Obama Hope poster. The notion is--when do you do enough to a piece that someone else originally created that it becomes your own creation? Maybe never--but for some reason I found myself starting to draw into this cartoon and beginning to see if I can make it something that I feel I took to a new place. Mind you--I don't have time for this right now--but still I spent several hours thinking about this and the last hour working on it--and it isn't my own yet. Perhaps it never will be--perhaps tomorrow I'll wake up and won't remember this and it is done and out of my mind. The reason I'm telling you about this under a picture I took of Alysha last winter is that I didn't really think about posting a feature picture today until it was really late and I found this picture that is several months old. I thought about writing about portfolios and portraits again, but my mind is just so focussed on this ridiculous idea of the cartoon that--that is all I can write about. The picture of Alysha is 100 times better than what I've done so far to the cartoon and I'm guessing always will be--its at least something that was created 100% in my presence by Alysha and me and no one else. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
I was standing there in the gym and all of a sudden the lights went out and the spot light started darting all over the place---oh crap--how do I expose for this I thought and began scrambling around to try to figure it out while getting into a position that maybe I could make a picture--mind you it was pretty dark except for this spot light. This whole thing was done for the Conneaut Lake wrestling team as they entered the gym for warm-ups prior to their match against Cambridge Springs. I had no idea they did this--now I want to go back over and over again just for the team to enter the gym. I know I can make a better picture than this, though I do like this one, I know a better frame is there somewhere. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer.
A recent photo session with the Meadville High School basketball cheerleaders was a two hour marathon of pictures. One of the things we tried was taking the cheer individual shots up next to the basket. This required a ladder and for safety--a person to steady the ladder. After a few shot we began to also balance the megaphone on the ladder. This led to an unexpected shot as the person steadying the ladder was framed inside the ladder. The pics are coming soon--by the beginning of next week you should have them girls!
A couple of months ago, I was making small talk with a sorta kinda stranger and they said, "so is that all you do, is take pictures?" I smiled and simply said, "yes." I didn't really want to take the time to explain the entire process of one photo shoot. So here goes...During one photo shoot I may shoot 300-400 photos. After the session, I download every picture. From there I edit them down to all of the photographs that I like. Then I proceed to a second edit and keep only the ones that I really love. At this point I am more than likely dealing with about 100 photos. Now the real work begins! I crop and tone each photograph all the while paying very close attention to details, contrast and colors. I timed myself the other day. It took me a little over nine minutes to properly tone one photograph. After all of my cropping and toning is finished, I go in for one last edit. I am now looking for the photos that are really catching my eye. Usually at this point, I will delete another 10 or 15 pictures. Finally, I am left with about 75 photos or more. My edit is complete and I am satisfied.
My editing process is almost complete with some recent senior portraits that I made of Chasity. I am nearing the end and very satisfied!
Photo By: Harmony Motter
I remember seeing the footage when I was in my late teens or early twenties(funny--my memory of it made me think I was even younger). R. Budd Dwyer killing himself and it was broadcast on the evening news. Back then I was living in Rhode Island. So a state treasurer in PA. didn't make news in RI except for this time. I remember the picture of him with his gun in his mouth that appeared in the paper too. Chilling. Today I had an assignment to cover the screening of the movie here in Meadville. R. Budd Dwyer was from Crawford County. A couple weeks ago I had to find and then photograph the man's grave. I knew a little about him, but not much. I knew he had killed himself and his act allowed his family to retain his pension--I always thought that was pretty smart. He had said he was innocent and there does seem to be some doubt of his guilt--so I really have no opinion on that aspect of his life. I do believe it is possible that corruption could have led to his tragic end--whether it was his own or others that ended up framing him in lies---the sad thing is that corruption exists in the first place. I've never felt that cheating in anything can make you feel good about an accomplishment. So why do it? No one is perfect, but what can possibly be gained from corruption? It certainly isn't something that it will advance mankind--and isn't that the legacy we want to eventually have--as someone who helped advance who we are? When I got into photography and journalism I truly believed it was a noble thing to do--to seek stories to tell--to record history and to find a better understanding of the world. To watch those who do wrong and right and make sure the story is told fairly. I know not everyone in the profession feels this way and that there is corruption even within what we do---but isn't it really what it should be about. I won't go into a longer diatribe about this, but it is important to note--that the press gets blamed for an awful lot of things, but without the press--believe me, things would be horrible---things would not be America and what it is supposed to stand for. One criticism in this case was the way the press handled the suicide. At that time the footage was shown. It was horrific. But now we really don't see the media showing horrific things and I'm not so sure we're better off. Sometimes seeing the horror makes us think and understand life better in our uneasiness. And I do agree that it is a shame for the family to have to watch and see the footage over and over again, I can't imagine it if it was my family. It is a dilemma for sure--and its not something that has a right or a wrong answer. But showing the horrific images of terrible events, should make us understand life more fully and act to make sure that life and mankind advances. My fear is if we turn a blind eye to things that are hard to view--corruption and corrupt people will win out and cause more damage in the long run. I could go on. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer. And I'm not sure if this documentary investigated things enough--it was pretty one sided on the fact that Dwyer was innocent and wrongly accused and convicted....but it certainly does get one questioning...which is good. This photograph is of the director after greeting the crowd prior to the showing of 'Honest Man' Saturday night at Allegheny College.
Did I mention--that Black and white photography really does narrow the focus on to the subject matter? It does!