I photographed Jaclyn a few weeks back and we concentrated mostly on her sports life. I emailed her a few days later and said I had this idea for a picture with an elegant gown and we decided to do a second part of her senior shoot concentrating more on her not athletic life. So today we shot more pictures and when we were done she mentioned how she couldn't wait to see them and admitted she was a little impatient about because she was so excited to see them. We joked about it and I promised to do my best at getting them done sooner than the three weeks I told her. And I wanted to to post something for her tonight to sort of give her just a taste. It is exciting to a photographer to hear how excited our clients are after a shoot. These are just a few quick looks and I'll work on them more keeping some in color as well later on. I am excited myself to see what she ends up picking in the end for her final senior pictures. SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer.
I met Dee several years ago and have spoken to her classes at Saegertown many times. When she got engaged to be married she asked if I'd photograph her wedding. What an honor to be asked to document possibly the most important day in ones life. Today we got together for some engagement photos and Dee and Greg and Bella and me hung out for a little more than an hour and made some pictures. Here are three of them. I had to show three together just because I had to use the headline 3-Dee. But I'm glad I decided to do this - I like these three pictures. Below is a third one--I wondered if it was possible for them to make a heart shape with their bodies and even though it didn't work--it is a fun image and even better--we laughed at the absurdity of even trying to do it! SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer.
I remember years ago seeing a movie where a girl came in from a down pour and I thought she was the hottest thing ever. I don't really remember the movie, just the scene. I know a lot of people want to have their picture taken with finely made up hair(often they spend several dollars to look that good for the picture). But I've always preferred a more natural look and sometimes I ask the people I'm photographing to soak their heads. The thing that I've noticed with this approach is the person being photographed--for the most part looks more comfortable when posing--perhaps because they're not afraid of mussing up their do. Whatever the case I do ask the people I'm working with to often just stick their head under the faucet for a little while and then shoot pictures with their hair all wet and messy. The pictures look different because most people believe they need to have every hair in place before they get their photo taken. Its why we all stop and pose for a picture when we see one lifted to the eye--we want to look the way we want to look--not always the way we actually look. I've photographed Angela several times now and she is just great--she photographs as well if not better than anyone I know and she should very easily be able to make some money--if not a living just as a model. She can pull off many looks, perhaps because she is an actress, I don't know for sure, but what ever it is--her persona seems to reach right out of the photograph. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
Part of what I explore as a journalist is not passing any judgment what-so-ever on the subjects I encounter. If I think some one is doing bad things--it is likely I show them in a negative light--if I don't make that judgment I'll just show them as they are. This is important in journalism. What about fashion. I made this picture of Nikida for her portfolio and I can say that she is a very sweet girl--in this case she is playing a part to create a certain look or style. So the rub for me is---is my making images like this ok? I'm not documenting someone here, I'm making a picture that looks like someone who is living sorta hard--yet in a way that makes her sexy. I think the thing that runs true in the history of my work is that I do tend to air on the side of experimentation and not caution. Lets try it and see what it does. That last sentence is almost a mantra to me. I learned a long time ago in my development as an painter that if I was afraid to ruin my painting, I'd never make a good painting---so I've ruined many paintings en route to making a few good ones(though I admit I have not made my masterpiece yet!) A friend of mine talked to me about my pictures of smokers and it is true--by making sexy looking photos of girls smoking cigarettes might glamourize smoking. I guess I'm not anti-smoking even though I don't do it(inhaling cigarette smoke directly from a cigarette actually makes me cough and want to die there on the spot!), most of my friends for years have been smokers and though many of them have quit--some things I remember that were good--we used to go outside a lot--even when it was raining and we experienced nature--and I don't find myself doing this unless a friend is 'popping out for a smoke.' So I guess I'm stuck in my thinking--what is bad to some--others find enjoyable---so is it bad? I know there are lines that shouldn't be crossed---but who set those lines and are they straight lines or ones that waver a little? SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer--by the way this is probably my favorite picture of Nikida from the shoot!
When I was in photography school using very expensive lights my favorite and least favorite things were the barn doors...metal plates on hinges that are put on light to block and direct the lights to smaller areas. What I didn't like about them was how hot they got and my seeming inability to remember this before grabbing hold of them to adjust. I always wanted to use small area of hard light as opposed to broad areas of soft light in my portraits---probably because our instructors were showing us the benefits of soft lighting(I generally don't go in directions I'm shown to be true without first having to push the limits and question everything!) If you read my postings regularly you'll note that I try to shine my lights through things all the time to create shadows and highlight area. Recently while photographing Nikida Eve i had her lean on a chair seat as the light shone thru the back--we moved minutely to find sweet spots of light on eyes and features. I think I'm going to look for all the shaped metal pieces I've collected over the years and just begin to shine lights thru them to see what I can get out of it! SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
This picture was already over exposed to heighten the contrast and mood and then I just took it a little further to see what happens. Some people don't like pictures that they can't just look at and get what is going on right away. I do understand this--in fact probably most people want to look at something and feel like they get it. I've never really been that way myself. Pictures that I get right away often eventually bore me. Though some a pretty to look at over and over again, if I'm not engaged somehow to search inside myself for some meaning, I don't find myself overly interested in an image. So when I see and even make an image like this I get a little excited that maybe there is something I'm supposed to bring to the meaning. It allows the artist/photographer to engage the viewer in the creative process itself. I appreciate that when artists do this for me. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
Do we really know what love is? Yeah--probably. It takes on funny roles sometimes. People say they love pizza or ice cream--but is it really love--or just an extreme desire. I mean we can all live without ice cream--but can we live without love? I've often been skeptical of love even though I believe in it wholeheartedly. Excitement, lust and want often disguise themselves as love--especially when we''re young(we learn in time really when a love is something so deep and true). When I recently photographed this high school senior couple I realized that these two young people do seem to have quite a bit figured out about love already. Simple things like a little glance they'd give each other--especially when the other didn't even know, a touch and another seemingly simple acknowledgment that some graffiti sprayed on the wall was a name spelled the same way and that a picture next to that was what he wanted to do. Simple stuff--but real stuff. After I photographed this pair a week ago or so I posted a group of pictures under the heading of something like 'restoring my faith in humanity'---ok it wasn't quite that, but close---seeing two people support each other the way Alyssa and Jordan seemed to was very impressive to this middle aged guy. As I'm working on their pictures today I'm thinking about their future together and hoping that whatever paths they choose, that they are good paths! SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
Today I'm going to be working on some portraits and portfolio works I did last week--or the week before. One shoot was of Alyssa and Jordan for their senior portraits. During the shoot I had a little fun with the reflections in Alyssa's glasses of her boyfriend Jordan. These might not end up in their collection of portraits--or maybe they will, but I never concern myself with that--if it is there and we can have some fun and make a fun picture--its worth doing. I try to listen to what the client wants and needs, but it is most important for me to recognize in that working relationship when something can be tried to maybe make something different and special for them. I'm excited to be getting a chance finally to go thru their pictures today and hopefully get pictures they both love for their senior year. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
a year or so ago --maybe closer to two now I had a friend make me a print of a new piece that I wanted to enter into the Erie Art Show. She had just gotten a new printer at work was learning how to use it--she offered to help me make this pretty large print. In the testing process she learned several things about the paper and inks and showed me the several attempts she made--some she found had wet inks that would smear. She asked if I wanted these--YES! this is my sorta thing. I get excited by things that happen unplanned and try to make something more out of it. So I smeared a little more and then they became like many other things, a stack under a stack under a stack. Last week I was cleaning up some stacks and decided to re-photograph some old drawing and painting and some of these stacks of stuff. My plan was to have documentation, but not keep everything--time to rid myself of some stacks! Stuff like this though influences the creative process so much if you aware of it and more importantly if you allow it to happen and take notice that maybe sub-consciously these things happen on purpose. I am completely unsure if these little prints--or the photographs I made last week of them will ever amount to anything solid in my work, but I feel its important that I be aware of what these things do to my creative processes. Maybe they will be an innovation or lead to an innovation that becomes very important to my work. Photograph of a print made by Missy Hindle of one of my works(detail). Original piece by Richard Sayer.