Today was not a good day with the camera for me--these days happen, usually has little to do with photography or even seeing pictures, it has to do with motivation. Today I was asked right away to do something I absolutely hate to do...its actually something I hate doing so much that each time I'm asked to do this I think about quitting. So my mind wasn't 100% in the game. The one shining moment came while I was waiting for this one guy to show up, a guy, mind you, who I was told was already there doing something entirely different than what I ended up finding(further adding to frustration). But as I waited I saw this little statue and really thought I needed to take a picture. Its the sort of little thing I see friends of mine take with their iphone cameras with some cool little app to make it look funky and cool(no I still haven't gotten one!) When I was lining up the shot I really thought it would end up as my facebook profile--and it has. Not a great photo, but its a happy little picture and it really was the only real bright spot of my day behind the lens. Oh and it rained again for football! Photograph by Richard Sayer.
Experimentation is the key to learning new things. When I was a kid I drew pictures of cardinals and chickadees. But I drew them the same each time. I never went outside my comfort zone. I bet I could still draw the same pictures to this day. It was learning to fail that really help me understand how an artist thinks. We don't simply make what is comfortable, we try something new and see if we can make something out of it. We live in a realm of experimentation. Let's try it and see what happens. I still say that I fail more than I succeed, but even in failure I feel excitement that maybe the lessons learned will lead to something better next time around. I recently did a family portrait shoot and one picture I took I really liked. And I saw something to try by duplicating the image and flipping it and tying the two together. This then led to many more duplications and flips until I had something that looks a little like one of the posters that is a pattern but if you quint just right and image appears( admit I have yet to make one of these posters work). I thought it was interesting but not something a client would want. But I decided to show it to them anyway. Not expecting a sale, but hoping it shows my commitment to making something unique for my clients. Again, not all are going to be home runs, but along the way--maybe we find something to stop and look at for a second or two and say...that is pretty cool! Saye
Ed Kashi, one of the great photographers of our time put out a book a few years back titled Three. In it he put three pictures together on a page so that they would be read and triptychs in a sense--or at least related is some manner. I haven't gotten the book yet(sometimes these things escape me as to why I haven't done something!) but I have seen a few images and the whole concept really fascinated me. I think about pictures I've taken over the years and its pretty interesting to see themes and ways of shooting appear and reappear. I recently had three frames all taken on the same day within a short amount of time that I thought showed three distinct ways in which I think about my work. I put them together and was disappointed that they didn't really seem to work, but then I thought about it and maybe they do. I certainly look at them and question the meaning of them together and begin to try to decide what possible meaning they can have and come up with many things--so I guess thats what art is supposed to. Now I still don't think this will end up in a book or even on my wall someday, but its giving me some things to think about today and maybe that will lead to more work tomorrow. Photographs by Richard Sayer.
I photographed Angela Grrchak's senior portraits last week. She is a senior at Hopewell High School. One of the first things that I noticed about Angela is her love for fashion. I recently returned home from a trip to Italy. While I was there I had the opportunity to visit Milan, the center for fashion in Italy. So when I retuned to Pennsylvania, the styles of Milan were still very fresh in my mind. As I was photographing Angela, I was telling her to imagine herself on the runways of America's next top model, New York City or Milan. We had a lot of laughs and found ourselves giggling up a storm!
SayerMotter Photo By: Harmony Motter
I recently photographed Nick and Tristen Grindstaff's wedding. They had such a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding. The leaves are starting to change in Northwestern Pennsylvania and is was such a pretty setting. The part that I really love about photographing weddings is the private moments that you are able to have with the bride and groom before and after the wedding ceremony. You sort of get an inside scoop that most of the guests or wedding party does not get to see. Like, I remember Nick talking about the "butterflies" that he had in his stomach prior tho the ceremony and watching Tristen and how excited she was to be walking down the aisle. It really was a magical day for the both of them.
SayerMotter Photos By: Harmony Motter
I talk a lot about the importance of reflecting back on what you've done in the past. Sometimes we get led away from what we started doing...and we learn, but if we keep looking back we can find that which got us started and believe me that can really invigorate you. When we're young we have so much hunger...thats the greatest thing. When we get older and develop more skills, have more responsibilities to pay bills etc... we sometimes forget that hunger. Recently we began chatting about a friends 80th birthday coming up next year. I suggested we all make a piece to give him. What I didn't realize is this little statement would lead me to really looking back at the work I was doing as a student learning from this friend, Enrico Pinardi, and getting pretty excited about making new work using some similar imagery(in fact using some of the very same objects). And I'm doing these as homages to my friend in hopes that this will lead me to even newer work. Its fun, I'm not drawing or painting as I did back then, but I am constructing these images in much the same way and who knows, maybe these will become paintings before all is said and done. Image constructed in photoshop using some photographs and invented shapes and colors and tones using the program. By Richard Sayer.
I recently had the opportunity to photograph Lauren Weston's senior portraits. Lauren is a senior at Meadville Area Senior High School. We had fun running around town looking for different locations. One location we were keeping our eyes peeled for was a Fall like scene. It is early in the season and it was difficult to find some trees that have changed colors. But, we managed to find one tree and made it work. Lauren is a very confident young woman and worked well in front of the camera.
SayerMotter Photo By: Harmony Motter
Over the last few months I've been designing memory mates for the various sports teams we have as clients. I try to make each one a little different from the last and sometimes they have been complicated designs and sometimes they have been simple ones. I've never been fond of straight team pictures, I understand the importance of the team photo for record, both for the school and for the individual, but mostly they are just run of the mill shots. I do try to change them up a bit, but sometimes just the straight on one ends up being the best one overall. So to make the MASH gold team memory mate I did something similar to what I did with the Saegertown golf team with the cutout of the golfer in the foreground. It left me with a big ole empty field of green though--until it hit me to add a cast shadow which design wise really helped give the image dimension and helps our eye move around the frame and back to the group in the background. The bold red against the green also helped give the picture depth. SayerMotter Sportsmate design by Richard Sayer.
The smoke machine! When I decided to buy a smoke machine for the business I really didn't know how one worked. I bought two bottle of solution and almost ordered more thinking I would have enough. Well, for taking photographs I'm going to guess that I have enough for about five years as it turns out. For the senior picture for Casey Chapman I don't think the machine was on for more than 3 seconds and we had to open a door to dissipate it so we could actually take photos and see Casey. I'm looking forward to doing more with the machine and creating perhaps an old foggy street scene like in a 40's movie for a senior who is into retro styles or an atmospheric beautiful gown photo where the color shines through the smoke. Its one of those things that there are so many ideas to try that you can't wait to find the right folks who want that look for their pictures. SayerMotter Photograph by Richard Sayer.
One of the things that is sometimes fun is while processing photographs for clients is to discover something and get lost a little in the creative process. This doesn't always produce results, but usually I learn something. Its when this happens that I wish I had more time. These don't don't happen quickly and fine tuning them so they are perfect really takes a lot of time. I never know if the client will even like them, but they do offer them something unique to at least look at. I think senior portraiture should never be something just done like it has been for years and that it should be something new and reflective of young people(which is hard since I no longer am one of the young people). So in today's media crazed society I think the possibilities are endless. Yes we still have to take that nice outside photo by a tree or stream, and that more formal studio shot, but we also need to realize that there is a world of possibility out there and we need to be as bright eyed about finding this as the seniors are about their futures. It keeps us growing and hopefully improving our craft--I'm looking forward to the next year or two of making senior pictures, I've been getting hundreds of ideas for that 'different' shot. SayerMotter Photographs and illustration by Richard Sayer/