My limited knowledge of modeling is this, puling off a look is what the model and photographer need to work to find. And this search is highly dependent on how well they work together and trust one another to pull off the look one or the other comes up with. I know, as a photographer I'm not comfortable with horror style shoots with fake blood and nooses and such things...its not part of my vocabulary. Some models aren't comfortable with showing too much skin or being overly sexy. If what you're being asked to do doesn't make you comfortable--then its probably not a good idea and it probably won't turn out great. So...when I get into a working mode with a model we talk and try to find out what we think will work and what we think would be a good representation of our work. A model could work with another photographer and do something completely different and it could turn out great. In a one to three hour session several things can be tried--some work and some don't. Recently I was looking at some old 80s photos and styles and was taken by some of the wild punk and new wave hair styles, my friends recent interest in Patti Smith has also reminded me of that certain cultural look of the 80s punker metal poet heads. I think this stuff came into play when working with Jessica recently. We sorta messed up her hair and suddenly her look was completely different and we found a different syle to try to push in making different photographs. Jessica seems to pull off serious/art/cult/punk looks very very well. We're going to try pushing this a little further as well with some body paints and eye and lip make-up when we shoot again--to see if we can push the look even further. SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer
I did not intend on using this tie-dye back-drop we made this fall for a gown shot, but somehow I found myself hanging it up and then making the image anyway. Sort of mixin' 30's Hollywood glamour with 60's psychedelica. Later we added sort of an 80's hair style to it too, but that might have been too much mixing. The key here was trying it out and some of them worked, and some just didn't quite. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer
I attended a luncheon with the International Referral Network at the Meadville Elks Club this afternoon. It was a new experience for me and it was great to meet some local business owners. I sat next to Brielle and her mom, Connie. Brielle is 5 months-old, quite smiley and cute as a button. I love to photograph little ones! They are real and in the moment!
Photo By: Harmony Motter
Every semester as I get ready to teach my class at Allegheny College I go through my past course descriptions and hand-out to get an idea of how I want to approach this class. One of my hand-out has been a copy of an article by photographer Jim Gehrz. This guy is a photographer. The title of the article is 'finding your photograph' and he talks about how he approaches an assignment and does all the necessary things to tell the story, but he takes it one step further and works all of that into his way of seeing and documenting--he isn't satisfied until he finds that one frame or two that really speaks to him. I understand this. I will be working a subject with my camera and feeling like I'm getting all the right parts to tell a story, but I'm not satisfied. So I keep searching and looking. Sometimes its subtle--an angle or waiting for the light to do something special--other times its a fleeting moment caught. I never really know what it is...I think I do and try things...but what it comes down to is its just something where everything comes together just right to say just the right things at the right time. I was working the other night with Jessica on her portfolio and this picture above was that frame to me. It is real and for some reason it says more to me than all of the other frames we took that night. There seems to be something searching in those eyes. I took several frames with her hair like this, but they are different--this one was the one. It was my photograph. The image below I decided to try a few frames where I hit Jessica with the full power of my on camera flash to see what I got. I know from experience using this technique that if the features a re strong enough a nice image can be made. I didn't do much with this--I think I took 4 frames total, but this one I liked and when I darkened up the features using brightness and contrast in photoshop it began to look like an old ink drawing. SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer
I never really wanted to be a photographer that does group shots. I prefer action or active portraits of some sort. But taking on clients that require group shots, I really want to find better ways than just lining them up in rows and snapping a picture. Its harder, but more rewarding and fun. We had a plan yesterday t have ladders and boards and create a large group portrait in the main high school gym at MASH, but the one problem. The boys basketball team was practicing in there and their practice certainly took priority. So we went to plan b. I had lugged all my lights in to use in the big gym, but the junior high gym was different and sudden;y we were behind schedule and only one ladder was available(note to self--plan better!) So in scrambling I saw the center court bulldog and figure I could play off that and circle the cheers around it. This wasn't my ideal shot, but I think under the circumstances we got something slightly different than they have been used to. And the rest of the shots we did all seemed to have a little different flavor--I had to climb up and down off a desk about 100 times, but after two hors of shooting we got the pictures taken and everyone seemed to have fun---that might be the biggest key! SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
Jim Stefanucci took both Harmony and myself under his wing when he hired us as staff photographers at The Meadville Tribune. On Saturday Jim's wife Debbie pulled off the nearly impossible, she threw a successful surprise retirement party for him. During the party Jim got a chance to do one of the things he loves most, he played his guitar with the people he gets together every week to jam with. Jim is a very very good photographer and he draws exceptionally well and he plays guitar like there is no tomorrow, he is an extremely talent guy. And most of all, he is one of the best human beings on the planet. So Jim's retirement from the Meadville Tribune might now be official, his creative life in making art and music is just hitting its stride. The party was a great way for folks to tell him what he has meant to them and perhaps the best way they could've done that was by sitting back and listening to one of his rips through an old blues song. Thanks Jim from two folks at SayerMotter Photography who really owe you more than we could ever repay!
A conversation and reading a recent post by a friend got me thinking about a bunch of things. Film--what is the reason to still teach our students about developing and making prints from what seems to be antiquated technology--using film. I admit I'm a diital convert. Truth is I can do more with digital in my work than I ever could with film. But film has qualities that cannot be duplicated with digital cameras. I won't say its better or worse--just different and unique. Film isn't constructed in squares or grids like a digital image is--so there fore it is just different. Affects look and feel different. Again--not saying they're better--they are just different. Serendipity in the process is also something lost in digital production and the idea that an image might not be able to be made any better is not longer the case in digital. There was a point that the processes in film and paper seemed to bring an image to a closure--no longer. In the digital world we can do any number of things to improve, or change or alter an image. Film grain seemed to do what it needed to do, but digital noise seems unnatural and it has an edge(now with more and more refinements this is less and less). This image was shot on film about 6 years ago as I was getting work together for a show I was having with Harmony Motter at the Academy Theatre. I posted it today be cause I stumbled upon it while looking for another image that was in that show. Harmony posted a couple days ago about how when she was younger she just wanted to make pictures and didn't really do it for any other reason than she wanted to and wanted to express herself artistically. When I looked at this image, which wasn't even in the show I felt that ideology of wanting to make something for really no other reason than experimenting in finding personal imagery. Some work--some don't. There is something special about that approach. It is similar to film that way. You try something--you process an idea or film and see what you get. Artists sketch and write in journals. Photographers shoot pictures! Its a great thing. Photograph of a projected image od my friend onto some gears from a washing machine. 2005 by Richard Sayer.
I usually cal it-'finding something to wrap my eyes around!' That something within a scene that become the pictorial device in which I focus my attention. Swimming at the MARC is really discouraging because it is just so dark in there. The only real way to get action shots is by direct flashing the swimmers. This leads to the same old pictures tima nad time again and its never really satisfying as a photographer. I guess the pool now has an electronic scoreboard with lights. This provides some reflections at least that I can use to try to add some interest to the overal image. I wasn't at the pool long enough to try to really work this pictorial device, but it has made me more excited about te next time I'm assigned to go there. I think I'll try slowing my shutter down and still using the flash, but see if I can get these colors in the reflections to become almost painterly. If we had strobes and time to light the pool correctly it would also help. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer.
Here are a few from the vault, circa 1997-1998. I like looking at these every once in awhile. It reminds me of younger years in photography when I didn't think too much about artistic ideas. I just wanted to be creative and have fun. Now, I find that the older I get, I will get an idea and start to talk myself out of it. Why? I don't really know. I guess that's what older people do...or at least 33 year-olds!
Photos By: Harmony Motter