Peony's are beautiful and this is their time. I picked a few to bring into the house the other day and now I am making late, late night photos of them with my iP4(I saw Michael Williamson, a great photographer call his iphone that and I decided I wanted to be cool--and maybe it'll help me become a better photographer by copying the greats!!!). I made this before hitting the hay using the kodot film and Adler 9009 app combination and then using an instagram filter which only slightly changed the contrast. I lit it with two flash lights and no other lights on in the house. There are pictures everywhere if you want to look hard enough for them. I use these late night flower pictures as a bit of stress relief and hope to create some beautiful images. I don't always think of beautiful when I'm making story telling images, so this is a reminder to me that beauty is there and to maybe think about that more(another lesson I'm learning from Michael Williamson, who posts unbelievable photographs daily on his facebook page). Photograph by Richard Sayer
Its all about the bride on her day!
I think we all believe that its true, the wedding day is that fairy tale princess moment, but we do live in a much more modern time where men and women are beginning to be recognized on a more level playing field(finally right?). So when it comes to the wedding day why wouldn't we want to dedicate the same ideas for both the bride and groom. There are great moments that happen leading up to the ceremony. Brides and her maids exchanging laughs and memories as they have their hair done and put the finishing touches on the dresses and make-up. Some of my favorite wedding day moments have come from before the wedding even started. So too do these moments happen with the boys. Straightening ties, having a cold one to toast the day to come etc.... I was very fortunate my niece asked me to hang out with her husband to be and make some pictures of them getting ready. These are a couple of my favorite frames from before the wedding. Photographs by Uncle Dick.
Cutting the cake, bouquet toss, father daughter/mother son dance, toasts, first dance and garter..... all parts of traditional wedding reception activity. I have to remind myself of these all the time, because I simply just try to observe knowing that special moments happen unexpectedly and at any time. This was one of those cases where the interaction and facial expressions told a great story during one of those traditional moments. These are staged and contrived, but within that there are two people interacting and sometimes, as a photographer, we're lucky enough to make a picture that captures that. Photograph by Uncle Dick.
This coming weekend I'm photographing a wedding in a beautiful setting, the Riverside Inn in Cambridge. The setting and the surroundings will be a character in the wedding story. Much like the beautiful church at Villinova where my niece got married a couple weeks ago. My main focus is always looking for and hopefully capturing moments, but I also have to be aware of the beauty of place and make sure I capture that at the moment of the wedding. The Riverside won't have anything like this, but it will have its own unique beauty and if I do my job right, it will help make the memories beautiful in the pictures I make. Photographs from Sarah and Marks wedding a couple weeks ago. Photographs by Uncle Dick.
After a recent volleyball game, after the sun had gone down I was heading back to my car behind the high school and i saw these lights shining in a direction on the yellowy bricks. The lights are those --i think they're called sodium sulfur lights or something similar(sodium Sulfur might be a photo chemical and I'm mixing up my names!!) They are nearly impossible to color correct. But I thought it might be fun to shoot some picture and just let them go all sorts of yellow orange. I made several images in the glowing light and I think I might want to use this spot for an up coming senior portrait shoot. It was good to see this spot and get a chance to test it out...the only problem will be that the setting needs to be used after the sun goes down, which gets later and later these days. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer
I wasn't feeling very good about my photography today--I basically wanted to just be alone and not have to talk with people, but unfortunately I was working and had too. But I made a couple of smart decisions, one was to shoot wide angle from underneath the Blue Streak and the other was go do a fishing story around sunset. The day ended better than it was going before that. Photograph by Richard Sayer.
The day of the wedding everything is split before it all comes together as one. As a photographer its a task to cover both the men side and the women side. Luckily the men want the photographer around far less(usually) than the bride and her maids, but it is just as important to get the men--afterall they are to be half of this combined life--bride/groom, brides friends/grooms friends both families etc... At my nieces wedding I was glad to help out by hanging with the guys and making pictures of them getting ready. I mentioned a group shot of them all before they left the hotel so we just stopped on the stairs. Photograph by Uncle Dick
A funny little comment made really made me think a little last night. We needed a picture of a statue to go with a story and I came back to the office holding my iphone. 'Did you shoot the statue with your cell phone?' "I did?" "C'mon, this isn't a game ya know!" All of it was kidding around and I did shoot pictures with my real camera as well...pictures that possibly showed the details of the statue important to the story. But that idea of it not being a game. I take photography seriously and its because of this that I find it compelling to use my cell phone as a tool and not a toy. I know the phone camera has certain style to it, especially using the hipstamatic app and I'm trying to learn to use this in a way that isn't joking around at all. Not everything needs to look the same....sometimes we need to force ourselves to see the world a little differently and this is what I feel is important about trying new things. I think the still photograph is one of the greatest tools of information (and expression) that we have. So when I make an image that has the information needed to convey the story--the apparatus really doesn't matter.
Another old lesson was relived in me today. I went to a discussion by a local newspaper photographer back in Providence RI and the thing that was repeated is to listen. Photographers are known for their eyes, photojournalists are known for their ability to listen to be in the right place to use their eyes. One line he said is 'listen to everybody--even the janitors, I've gotten great stories from the janitors!' Last night as I was stopping to make a self portrait in the shiny surface of a storage trailer behind the high school, a man came out to throw some boxes away in a nearby dumpster and was asking me about what I was seeing. He then asked if I ever looked on the back side of this and we went around to see this wonderful corrugated shiny surface reflecting the colors of the late sun hitting the bricks on the building. If I dismissed what this man was saying to me, I would've missed a pretty cool thing. I'm actually hoping to go back tonight and try something else with this spot hoping the light is just as good.
One of the things I love about this cell phone thing is the immediacy of recording a thought. It has a different focal property to my dslr and its square--so I see differently when using it. I saw this reflection in my friend Jim's outdoor table and just thought it was a nice abstract image...not a great work of art, but noteworthy to me--a thought to record and remind myself that pictures are everywhere if you just look.
Pictures of pictures. Most nights as I'm readying myself for bed I look around my house and think about making an image or two before I go to sleep. I have this print from a show I had of some of my early newspaper photographs. It is hanging in this dark little corner of the room and I thought I'd make a square frame out it to see what it looks like. Its a picture from a library pet show that I took back before digital--probably around 1998 or 99 I'm guessing.
Photographs by Richard Sayer
I was talking to my mom about photographs the other day. I was trying to find a way to describe what I look for...its hard to describe really.... we have learned terms like moment and composition and lighting etc.... but none of these things fully describe it. I was trying to explain the difference between a picture taken that has all the parts to it that you want and one that has a story. I kept saying a picture needs to have life in it. An old professor of mine used to talk about a work of art reaching a level of poetry--and thats it exactly. The moment an image sings--a moment an image captures something we can relate to about life and emotion. I don't believe in putting the camera down when something is going on--and something is always going on. I loved being right where I was at this very moment the priest was telling a story about my niece and her soon to be husband and someone in the crowd. When Sarah looked back and I could also see Mark's face I knew I had a picture that told a very nice part of the story of her wedding. It has life in it. Photograph by Uncle Dick
Pose or not to pose? Weddings are an anomaly to me in so many ways. They are all about the moment and the emotion of the moment. Yet we, as photographers have to dance around the priests and wedding planners all the time to find out what we can and cannot do during a service. I always explain...in a nice way to the priest that it is about the bride and groom and that is what I'm there to preserve by capturing the moments. I've been told we can re-stage things after the ceremony---why. can a re-staged moment ever come close to the real thing? Recently at my niece's wedding I was just an uncle with a camera... she hired a wedding photographer to make her pictures, but I'm a guy that doesn't do well with ceremonies unless I'm working so I said I'll just try to stay out of his way and make photos. I didn't bother hanging out after the ceremony for the group photos etc.... its not my thing. I've learned to do them, but the real thing is to make pictures of the moments that I saw. This picture was the result I believe of their wedding photographer asking them to stop in the doorway and kiss, he was on the inside--I'm guessing making a silhouette. I was glad he asked them to stop and I was glad I was rushing out and tinkering with my ISO so I could be in position to get this picture. And I was glad my niece had the bouquet in her right hand! Photograph by Uncle Dick