I have this old funky hat given to me years ago by a very good friend. I don't wear it anymore, but I find its a really great hat for some photo shoot. It is very versatile and seems to be just the right thing at times. I find that hats often help us see the eyes in a person. Foreheads reflect a lot of light and are, for the most part flat without a great deal of visual interest(ie shadow or shapes). Our eyes are drawn away from the features--so hair over the forehead or a hat tends to draw our attention more to the features -- especially the eyes. And this old hat seems funky enough to be suitable for young people as well as older people. I get fascinated by our choice of hats and timeless hats like a fedora always seem to be classy and cool. Ball caps seem to be telling of personality depending on logo or newness(old beat up ball caps suggest comfort level--newer caps seem to be more fashion oriented). When I was a kid I wore my ball caps all the time and when I became a teen I had a Greek fisherman's style leather hat, a flat hat, and a few other including a monster swamp hat that weighed about 23 pounds I think. I got out of wearing hats other than winter knits skullcaps, but then started wearing ball caps again--mostly because of my eyes. I got to thinking about it last year--is this part of my personality? I suppose it could be. If I thought about it more I'd probably wish I was cooler and had a cool hat, but that probably isn't me either. But when it comes to photographing others, I really like shooting people with hats on, mostly because I like getting focussed in tight on the eyes. I think too that is why I often find myself zero-ing so close on peoples faces and chopping off the tops of heads--the eyes and nose and mouth are far more interesting and telling of personality than the top of someone's head.,,,unless of couse my subject has a red painted pointy mohawk. Sa
Today I made three portraits while enjoying myself at Sunday Brunch at the Newcamp/Stabiles. George (top photo) is one of my favorite people... a few years ago he introduced me to the concept of the Sunday beer and we have shared a few brews over time and each time we have great conversation and laughs. His wife Barb(middle photo)really helped me understand a part of a story that I did on Alzheimer's that was difficult to tell, the tough times the disease puts on the whole family. They have been good friends for years and today at brunch I met several other people who they call friends that are just great people. I met Barry Bonnell today and I simply asked if I could take his picture and he agreed and we talked for sometime about art and photography. His wife is a photographer and he is graphic artist. It was a good morning. I enjoyed making these pictures because they are pretty candid portraits and all three subject knew I was there with a camera and they just became comfortable and didn't stop being themselves even though I was there with camera in hand. Now a Sunday beer is simple really, you make having a beer on Sunday something special by either having a beer you haven't had before, or one you simply enjoy or you have it with a friend or you just have a beer--think of your friends and savor the fact that you can have such a moment and enjoy the simplicity of drinking something good. I think Sunday beer should become a past-time. It certainly has for me and for George. Maybe we can start a movement! Photographs by Richard Sayer. Oh about these photographs as portraits--what I do like about these os they are moments in time that encapsulates the character, even if its only a brief moment, of that person or at least a small part of their character. This sort of portrait is much stronger than the posed portrait in front of some backdrop in a studio.
I have seen these road side memorials placed out at the site where someone lost their life over the years and I admit, they didn't really affect me much. I didn't know the people who died or who left behind their sorrow in form of a cross and some flowers etc... I didn't have a connection. Last year we were working on a story about dangerous roads and I remembered this memorial on I-79. I remembered it because it was placed there after a tractor trailer accident where the driver died occurred and I was called out to photograph the accident. A couple things happened to me when I went out to make this picture--one I saw several tractor trailer trucks go by and I made this one picture above with a tractor trailer and it sorta choked me up. After having this somber experience I decided to spend a little time at the site and take it in. I walk around the area and remembered the night I was there making pictures of the tragedy. I then walked around the cross and saw that there was a toy tractor trailer truck on the cross. This really got to me. I began thinking about the family who had their loved one simply going off to work doing what he has done probably for years and thinking nothing of it. I then thought about my brother who is truck driver and suddenly these road side memorials seemed to mean something even to me. We can easily be one of these memorials. My dad told me when I was learning to drive that driving is the same as holding a loaded gun. Its safe if you know what you're doing and are careful--my dad is a wise man. I trust my brother like I trust no one else so I trust that he will be safe on the road, but it does take you back a little looking at these crosses and memorials when you you know the story behind them. Meadville Tribune photograph from this past Spring by Richard Sayer. I took a couple pictures today I really wanted to post, but left work forgetting to do so...those will be file pics for another time now!
We moved into our house in 2001 and Java moved in with us. Shortly after that lil' bro came to live with us. I noticed that when I let them out in the morning before breakfast that they were anxious to get back in to have breakfast. Then I noticed lil' bro sorta throwing himself against the window. Then Java learned to do this and they have both done this ever since. I can't scold them for it because I laugh at it everytime. Bro is going to be 12 this year and the little guy can still get some air! I took this shot today, it wasn't before breakfast, but it was when I came home when they were outside. They do get excited when I come home which makes me feel really good about things for sure. This is probably the fourth different time I've taken pictures of them jumping. Usually a different angle and I even videotaped it once. I love dogs! Photograph and video by Richard Sayer.
Tonight and this weekend I'm dedicating myself to Justice! I love that sentence--sounds like a mission to change the world. Truth is I'm talking about editing the pictures I took on Sunday of Justice. I've gone through the initial quick edit and now will begin to narrow down and tone the best. I use this idea of the mirror(see yesterday's post...and many others from the past). I look for the reflection that adds to the dynamics of the pose. Stripes are great to reflect and the more I use the mirror--the more I see possibility. I want to try to use this mirror on an angle sometime soon with an elegant gown--I'd love to do this in a setting with Victorian architecture--I have a vision for it, just need to find a way to make it happen. The more I think of it, if/when Justice becomes famous I'll be able to say that maybe this editing and toning is in fact a mission to change the world. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard
Many people who know me and have known my photography for years knows I can't pass up a reflection. Add in a funny mirror and I'll work it until I get the angle just right. Sometimes it happens--sometimes it doesn't. During a recent wedding this little mirror was being held up and I tried and tried to get a shot....nothing. Then I sorta got one but my focus was a little off. Then I finally got this picture of the flower girl as she was getting her hair done. These aren't the moments that you think about from a wedding, but they are the moments that you might not have taken notice of at first, but help you to remember that time...remember the pizza and bagels and watching the wedding singer and doing each others nails and sharing some laughs while you looked for something borrowed and something blue and got ready for the big day. We shot a lot of pictures before the wedding even started in hopes to capture the essence of the day for the bride and the groom---as well as everyone else involved. I look at these pictures as being great little asides that help set up the big moments that we too try our best to capture. Wedding photography should document more than control what goes on. Thats the type of wedding photographer I want to be. Photograph by Richard Sayer.
Sometimes you get a chance to take pictures of something really important. I admit, at some level most of what I get to do has importance in some small way. But when I get to try to make a portrait of someone, especially someone with a great deal of life ahead of them, I feel it is something really really important. Andi has some pretty neat parents and I think she is on her way to living a very bright intelligent life. She is bright as can be and could see right through me as I tried to get her to do certain poses that she just refused to do--and rightly so. A pose has to be felt to work--and if she didn't feel--why waste her time. I don't know how great I did in capturing Andi, but I did have fun trying to find in her moving around a nice portrait and some fun little moments, I do think that the pictures I took of her with her blanky and sunglasses on will be my favorites when I get to really editing and toning the pictures, but truthfully...I wanted to pick these pictures to show because its my birthday today and I know my mom will like these pictures and I wanted to thank her for having me 45 years ago. She doesn't know this little girl, but I know she'll just love her after seeing these pictures--who wouldn't. Thanks Andi and Lori and Pete! More coming soon I promise! SayerMotter Photographs by
Today I got a chance to work with Justice. She is a beautiful teenager with big dreams and I think she'll reach them. She is beginning to build a portfolio and I was privileged to be one of the first photographers to work with her. I hope we get a chance to build even more on to her portfolio in the future. These are just a few of the shots taken today in a quick edit of what we did. The first shoot is always a time to ---sorta figure out what the photographer can bring and model can bring and what they might be able to do together. From this first meeting I think we might be able to really make a pretty solid portfolio that includes serious and fun shots. SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer.
We pass through this life often not taking the time to notice what this life really gives to us. I think making pictures is a wonderful gift....I get to take notice of things and make them noticed by snapping a photo. The recent visit of my friend Craig opened my eyes again to the pictures around me--(I hadn't noticed that they were closed really). Craig asked me to turn around so he could make the picture below with his cell phone---it was brilliant---I didn't see it ..but it made me think again about how much is out there to simply just enjoy for its beauty and to make a picture. I was amazed seeing this picture and it really made me think about how I go from assignment to assignment these days with almost having blinders on to the world around me. So when I saw this smudge on the wall in the art department at Allegheny College--I thought--this is a positive message and I want to make a picture of it. If for no other reason, but to make you all smile a little today! Now enjoy Craig's picture of a car in the snow out on 322 between Conneaut Lake and Jamestown! It's a beautiful photograph!
Above is a photo of my friend, Levi and his friend, Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime, A.K.A 'Optimus,' is a character from the Transformers, the cartoon and movie. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots . He never succumbs to despair. The Autobots need a charismatic leader, and that is what he gives them. On the battlefield, there are few who rival Optimus Prime. He is the strongest of any Autobots and he would sacrifice his life to protect his fellow Autobots. His compassion is his only real weakness.
Photo By: Harmony Motter