Ever take pictures of total strangers? Photographers do this because they love to document and make photographs. Most people don't do this because photographs to them are personal. When I was a student many years ago I made this portrait in Boston during a day trip to take photographs. I have not seen this man since and since it was 25 plus years ago I'm not even sure if the gentleman is even still with us. I asked him if it would be ok if I took his photograph, something I rarely do because I'm usually much more interested in capturing people as they are--not how they pose for a picture. I believe those pictures tell us more about ourselves and where we've been--perhaps even a little bit of how we got there. I think photographs for photographers are personal too, but in a different way--they show us where we've been and who we've come across, even if for just a fleeting moment. I still remember many things from my past that I didn't photograph, but those things change in our memories and get cleaned up of extraneous detail and are focussed only on the important things we want to remember. Photographs help us remember the facts(though admittedly sometimes we end up remembering the photograph more than the actual event). Photograph by Richard Sayer--circa 1984-5
Stairwells are neat to shoot pictures because of the different levels you can get. I prefer old beat up stairwells or industrial ones when working with models. In our new studio space there is a stairwell and I've tried to shoot in it twice now. Its painted white and the steps a brown and the railings are finished light wood. I haven't really been able to 'find my picture' there--accept when I purposely over expose. I shot some very high key pictures the first time I shot in the stairwell and the second time when I was trying to do some darker moodier shots--they just were not working--too light in there(I'll find it eventually) so I ended up going back to that idea. Moriah's glasses were great and I thought she might make an interesting foreground as I was shooting pictures of Sam for her portfolio(Moriah was there as support for her friend--not to be photographed--but was kind enough to just be in a few frames!) What I like about having done this so long and having worked for a newspaper is that I think on my feet and don't get discouraged when a plan doesn't work out--I adjust and move on in order to 'find my picture'. This also proves to help me move forward as well--if I only try to accomplish what I pre-thought out--I feel I am missing that wonderful serendipity that brings great things if you're just aware that its there. So try to take a bad picture--sometimes it works out pretty good. And even if it doesn't sometimes you can find something to learn from in the process---and thats the best of all! SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
So when your artwork influences you commercial work--is it a good thing--i hope so. I find myself sometimes looking at a photograph and thinking--this has something, but is it what I want. Then I begin to do my normal editing and toning and sometimes it comes together and sometimes its something I think if I re-do it this way maybe it will work--but often it never quite does the same thing you want it to do a second time. Recently I've been making images where I mark up the surface. In drawing and painting mark making is the artists hand creating an energy on the flat surface--through marks and color the images assemble. I the photographic image they don't so much assemble the image as they create a layer of activity--adding another element over the surface to create some sort of movement. Eye movement over a picture is what we try to obtain. We don't want our viewers to be stuck in one part of a photograph, we want them to experience the whole thing either consciously or sub-consciously. So I sorta stumbled upon making these marks on a portrait a couple days ago and it has opened up a whole new can of worms for me--perhaps a better way of saying it is that has opened up possibility for new directions these works can take. I hadn't thought of combining my personal work with my client work but it seems to make sense--especially with these images geared toward the graffiti and hip-hop culture. Marks are everywhere--on walls, on cars, on bodies---so why not on senior portraits. Check out our senior portraits and senior portrait specials on our website. SayerMotter photo manipulation by Richard Sayer.
I photographed my little sister, Sarahbeth tonight. We had a lot of fun! She danced to Bob Dylan, we talked like gals do, ate some pizza and made some pictures. This is one of my favorites because this is what Sarah looks like to me. Thanks Sarah! God loves a bullfrog forever and for always.
Photo by your older and wiser sister, Harmony
workin...looking to find something to give a little different look... it ain't easy.. doesn't always work.
Even as I began posting this picture I saw something else I want to try. I'm a photographer with a great deal of training in drawing and painting.... so i think like a photographer and I think like a painter and sometimes these things come together--I'm going to try drawing some lines on this image--if it works out I'll be back later to post an up-dated image as well. This is fun--time-consuming, but fun. SayerMotter Photo manipulation by Richard Sayer.
I made these images over 25 years ago. I've moved them in my portfolio case 5 times now. I'm in a throw away mood and am going through everything and if it doesn't seem like a must have, its gone. I'll probably keep these, but i took pictures of them just in case I change my mind. These images were my first professional awards when I was about 19. The Window washer won a blue ribbon in the Professional Photographers association of RI's annual contest. I also won a judges special recognition away, The one above that I titled wall relief of Michele won a blue ribbon and was selected into the court of honor. To be honest I think the judge who fought for both these pictures was just tired of seeing standard portraiture and was interested in these because, well there just wasn't anything else like them in the competition. Had I not been 18 or 19 and had I known what the competition was really about I probably wouldn't have even entered them. But I did and I got a phone call from one of my instructors 'suggesting' that I come to the awards banquet. I was sorta stunned actually and when I went and saw that I had gotten awards i just felt really awkward and out of place. It was neat, but i really didn't like the attention that I was getting---well didn't like might not be the right way to say--I didn't know what to do with it. I still don't in a lot of ways. Its great to be acknowledged and I certainly put the awards on my resume, but it still feels funny to get congrats...maybe because awards are for work done usually months earlier and I've moved on--and when someone says something nice about my work and I know I just came back from an assignment I just didn't do well on--well it puts it in perspective! Old portfolio photos by Richard Sayer--the funny thing was I was still using the window washer when I applied at the Tribune 14 years ago--it was the picture that stood out in Jim and Kirk's mind as we met for the first time. That and a picture I took of a beautiful girl in a pile of shredded paper! I'll have to find that one some day soo too!
Yes Mom--these are the ones from that show--I thought I'd add a little bit about the top photo. It was a photograph of my friend Michele pretending to sniff a fake flower in the basement of the house I grew up in. I had a bad habit of underexposing all my negatives back then. This photo was one of my favorites at the time(truth is I really just loved that girl, she was a great friend.) I was learning all sorts of techniques in the dark room and one that made me really want to try--was creating a positive by sandwiching my negative on litho film. I then sandwiched the developed litho positive with the negative and just slightly off-set them creating this 'wall relief 'look, Enlarging it onto 11x14 paper--this was my result. Now I didn't take great care in the process so there was a lot of texture and stuff that real techno types wouldn't have been happy with, but I was and still am a very serendipitous guy and when it turned out this way by accident--I thought--cool!
I'm not a smoker and I'm not a huge fan of smelling cigarette smoke, I do like to look at old photographs and the people smoking in them. I'm getting to know more and more people who smoke--this is funny because I used to a lot of people that smoked and then it was many many less over the years--until recently. Almost seems like its gaining in popularity again. Not sure why--because it is pretty expensive. Awhile back I started to photograph people smoking and backlighting the smoke. It was pretty neat to see what sort of shapes and designs the smoke would make. I'm not advocating smoking, but I do like to photograph people who do smoke. They seem to enjoy being able to relax with a smoke--although they seem to power smoke in order to get more pictures. One thing I do notice about smokers--is they know how to take a break. I don't really take breaks--when I sit to relax a little it usually isn't long before I'm forgetting to break and start doing something. Smokers usually finish their smoke and then get back to work. I envy that...though I don't envy the sm
you know-- a gazillion years ago is a gazillion years ago. When I was at Edinboro University I made a few photographic portraits. Most of my photography from this time was for reference for paintings or work for the PR office of the school. But the portraits I made are some of my favorite work. I made pictures of Paul Donnelly one day and immediately paired them up with this ceiling tile I had (possibly stole) absconded inside of either Hamilton Hall or Loveland Hall. This was actully a four part photo portrait but today I re-photographed each piece separately and decided to only show the two profiles. Paul is a great guy and though I've lost touch with him (years do this to you!), I remember his laughter and willingness to bring levity to most things. One of the good people I've met along the way and I'm pleased I took some time to make his portrait all those years ago. Photographs by Richard Sayer.
I had a thought awhile back to hang clothes line across our studio space in order to hang backdrops etc... When I went to buy the clothes line there where many options, but the least expensive no synthetic(at least it wasn't plastic fiber or coated) was this 100 feet or so of hot pink clothes line! I use this line which is strung up in 5 places in the studio. Sometimes I hang an entire background and other times I just hang fabric from the line to use either in the photograph itself or as something to shine a light through and cast shadows. I don't do many things more than once or twice, but it is fun to play around and see what sort of picture can be made within a space. Our studio space is still relatively new to us, but we're starting to make 'our' kind of images there. And as we grow, get better equipment, more props, more backgrounds and material, the more we'll get to play and make some new images for our clients. The exploration is the most fun part! SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.