SayerMotter Photo By: Harmony Motter
Harmony Motter Photography
Richard Sayer Photography
I should start off by saying that I love, love, love to photograph little kids. They are real and in the moment and nowhere else. This evening I photographed Anelina Bravo. She is one year-old and full of an indescribable amount of energy and absolutely adorable. She keeps her Mom and her Grandma on their toes. She kept me busy as well, as I snapped away.
SayerMotter Photo By: Harmony Motter
When I was in art school learning about what being a painter meant(still struggling with that) one of the things that got into my mind was the idea of layering. Layering color, layering marks or brush strokes, layering glazes... painting always seemed to be about layering and creating vibrations of color and shades. I really took this understanding into my photography and I think it has helped me a great deal. Awhile back I began a series of images shooting into my glass of beer. I thought they were just these fun little things...not overly serious. But as I keep making them I find more and more that I like making them. I think it is a series worth making more and more images(I know many of my friends are now saying---well I saw this coming--another reason to drink beer). But I'm serious. I think there is some beauty in the suds and the reflective qualities in the glass. Tonight I made several images in several different styles to see what I could do(unfortunately t he beer got pretty warm in the process.) I'm even excited about maybe trying to do a person's portrait someday through the suds, it'll have to be a beer lover....hmmm do I know any beer lovers?????? Photograph by Richard Sayer.
Courtney, her mom and I zig-zagged around Meadville and Saegertown for over three hours this week making photographs. We tried to go to a wheat field I had photographed in the day before only to find large machinery parked on the edge of the field and all the wheat mowed down. We shot pictures in the middle of the road and on train tracks, against graffiti walls, with a smoke machine and my new large mirrors. We tried a little of everything. And we got some very beautiful traditional-esque senior portraits and some very non-traditional ones. Courtney will have a very diverse group of pictures to choose from. She is a beautiful young woman and was a real pleasure to work with. I'm excited about getting her pictures to her and seeing all the different looks we achieved in such a short amount of time. SayerMotter photographs by Richard Sayer.
One of the cool things that has happened to me as a photographer is meeting good people. I photographed all of Saegertown sports last year and this gave me a chance to get to know some young people a little more than just by photographing them from the sidelines for the newspaper. To me I was honored when so many of the athletes have come up to me and said they want me to make their senior portraits. They even come up and say hello at games that I'm covering( a few times groups of them even began chanting my name when they saw me---which probably turned my face pretty red and made me squirm around a little in my little corner on the sideline.) So when I get honored by these young people I hope to make photographs for them that live up to their expectations. I am constantly trying to learn new things to make their pictures better. I tried some things with Hunter, who is an excellent baseball player and Cross Country athlete(I had to tell him my story about trying Cross Country, I told him I really didn't enjoy throwing up enough to stick with that sport!)I hope they like them and understand that traditional senior portraiture is good, but we can mix in many other things in hopes of making the entire experience a good one. Thankfully most of the time they at least humor me and say they had fun making the pictures. SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer
David Bradley is a good guy. I have known him know, at least through photographs, since he was around 9 years old. I remember photographing him as the winning pitcher in some district or regional championship all-star game way back when. They called him D-Train. The thing I like best about photographing kids playing sports is they are heart and soul, 100% authentic in their emotions and they really really have fun. D-Train's face was fierce when he pitched and it lit up when he won. I was thrilled when he said he wanted me to make his senior pictures. D-Train has grown up now and now he is getting ready to embark on his final year in high school. He is almost an adult, but he acts like one already(well at least when he is not on the sidelines as a super-fan!!!) I enjoyed hanging out with him the other day and his mom Sheila(who calls herself D-Train's momma when she talks to me). We made several different types of photos. The other D-Train will be remembered for in my book, I think he only brought three shirts and one we didn't even photograph him in. He is without an even close competitor, the person who has come with the fewest clothes for their senior picture. He knew what he wanted. SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer.
I did a boyfriend/girlfriend senior portrait session to start out the week. It was hectic bounce between one person and the other for their individual shots and then a few together photos as well. We really didn't rest much during the shoot and we found some nice locations to make some images. We did some shots in studio and outside looking for those right combinations of expression and light and gestures.
I was also try hard to not make the exact same pictures for them, although we did do several of the same locations and styles of shots. I felt it was important that they each had their 'own' senior picture experience and then also make some pictures that showed their love for each other. I think in senior portraits we try to capture something within the personality of the individual. We try all sorts of things from smiling to serious, attitude and reflection. It is hard to know the person as a whole having only just met them recently before the shoot or in this case a few small encounters from when I photographed them in the athletic endeavors, Meghan as a MASH Cheaarleader and Colton as a baseball player. We did a lot of things this day in the hope that we found a combination and a set of pictures that will tell a little part of the story of their life as a senior.
Sayer Motter Photographs by Richard Sayer
Years ago I remember talking with a photographer who was complaining about how auto-focus was giving people a misconception about the art and craft of photography. I admit I somewhat agree because when I look at the folks who shot film with slow manual focus lenses and made unbelievable images I hold them in a much different regard as artists and craftspeople. But innovations such as auto-focus and the like have allowed us to be better at what we do. I missed many more sports photos manually focussing than I do now--which means I provide a better product today--I tell a better story because I am capturing something I may not have before. It adds force to my might if you will. I'm a pretty retro guy overall, but I don't think to critically about advancements. I look at them and try to embrace the ones I think I can use as a tool to make my images and tell my stories. The iphone and apps associated with the iphone and like phone cameras are just that--tools to work. I use it almost as a sketch book--but also as an alternative to what can be possible in image making. Its still new to me, but I'll gladly pull out my phone to make an image if I think it will add something to the process. Sometimes it doesn't, I won't lie, but sometimes if helps me formulate better ideas and sometimes it makes an image that i just might not have been able to make with my dslr or any of my other film cameras. It is just another gun in the arsenal! and a fun one and ver accessible. For instance--this image was made after having a drink while watching a movie. I paused the film--somewhere around 2 a.m. - to get a snack or go to the bathroom and when I came back I made a few photos holding up my glass to the TV screen to see what it looked like. Its not a great image, but it is something unexpected and every time I do something like this it gives me ideas for other things to try. I don't disregard anything that can make me a better maker of images and a better story teller. It is fun to try ew things and I thank people who are making things for me to try! Keeps me young----ish! Photograph by Richard Sayer
The hail mary produces interesting unexpected things. Like this crop isn't something I would think to do if I was looking through the camera. When we look thru we organize and usually don't take too many chances with composition and the like. But this picture taken with the hipstamatic app with a lens and film combo that produces some 'surreal' affects that are ramdom. So a hail mary above the head not really being able to see what I'm shooting using a film/lens/app combot that produces an affect I cannot predict shot seems like a recipe for disaster, but.... Despite the crop being what most people wouldn't like I find it gives a visual tension to the point of of the action and allows me to read the rest of the photograph in a much different way. I sometimes wish I would learn to shoot this way more when I do look thru the camera and I do try things, but my need to organize my frame seems more often than not to dictate my action. Even though I'm getting better at it all the time, its hard to do something you don't quite understand to be good until you see it later and can digest it more. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer
One of the reasons its so hard to teach photography is there are so many different possible ways to make a good photograph. I've been side by side with other photographs and we make very different photos of the same thing. Often I try to teach my beginning students to zero in on their subjects and include only the necessary information to tell the story they want to tell. Above is a zeroing in on one action to tell a very succinct and easy to read story. Below is something different. There are multiple things in the photograph that tell an even broader story. My first inclination was to zoom into the bride hugging one of the guests(and I may have done that with the next frame) but to do that we might miss some other aspects of the photo that are important like the best many looking back towards the door leading into the reception hall. Or the groomsman on the right who always wears his hat looking at his wife walking towards him. Will he wear that hat into the reception hall like he said he would(he didn't). So the bottom picture has a lot to look at and possibly multiple stories in one, but the clear focus is on the bride, especially since it is a wedding photo. I liked both of these photos for their strong moments. Good moments almost always make a photo good! SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer.