I was recently complimented on a modeling portfolio site. The compliment said that the pictures were beautiful and dark. I'll admit, I'm never really sure what I'm after in a photoshoot, I set out with something in mind, but that always morphs into something else and then something else. I figure the models have as much input into the final piece as I do--perhaps more. I don't care for cheesy and even sometimes just the act of posing seems so unreal that I have a tough time with it. Usually its the unexpected that gets my attention in the editing process and then if there is something there--I may even try to take it further with some photoshop--or with combining pictures together. Its nearly the exact opposite approach I take with my photojournalism work. I got to laughing at myself recently as I've looked through about a dozen of my last shoots and each time I had the old George Hurrell photos from the 30's and 40's in mind when going into the studio and each time failed to even come close, but I suppose inspiration takes on a life of its owns sometimes. Photographs by Richard Sayer
Why is it so important that members of the media cover things like fires and accidents? We have to invade the private lives of individuals during perhaps their worst times. The news value is that when something private happens that requires public help(ie.. the fire, police, emergency personnel etc..) where people have to risk their own lives and well being, then it is no longer private and it is newsworthy. When a situation can help a community understand itself better, then it is newsworthy. When telling a story can help the victims then it is newsworthy. When doing the story can help a community remember do some things like check their smoke detectors, clean their chimney's or slow down, then it is newsworthy. I don't like covering fires or accidents, especially when death is involved, but this is perhaps the most important work that we do as journalists. If we can tell a story in such a way that helps the community in which we live, helps us all live better lives, then its pretty important work indeed. This photograph was taken on December 18, 2009 on Carpenter Road in Randolph Township. As the firefighters tried to pull down a remaining wall to better fight the flames, I thought how dangerous it is to be a firefighter and what a shame it is to lose a home. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
I just received word that I won a third place award for a feature picture in the National Press Photographer's Association Region 3 monthly clip contest for March 2009. In an earlier post I discussed awards and the state of current photojournalism after winning another award. In that month the judges said the category was weak, so it took a little of the pride of winning away, a little of the feeling good about doing good work. This picture above was given high praise and the judges this time said it was a strong category. Awards are a funny thing, as I stated before. I've taken pictures that I thought would win, but didn't and others that I felt very good about, that I took a good picture and did justice to the story, but didn't think it would win, but does. I think thats the key, does the picture do justice to the story, so that it elevates the story in order to convey its importance, or possible importance to the readers. I guess thats the key. We take pictures of probably 5-10 different band rehearsals a year, finding something new is a challenge to say the least. I think this was rewarded because we're not the only ones having to come up with a different way to tell the same basic story over and over again. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
Saegertown High School has this yellow wresting mat. When the varsity wrestles they shive a spot light directy down into the center of the mat. The reflective light is wonderful. I lose far more shots than I get in Saegertown because I choose to shoot it natural light instead of flashing, but the ones I do get have this great light. Harmony Motter posted today these words today on facebook....'if you love photography...let the light breathe.'
Meadville Tribune photographs by Richard Sayer
On October 21, 2009 the Burdick family lost everything in a fire at their Hartstown home. Since then they have been staying with reletives while they figure out what to do next. One of the things that is both tough and rewarding in this job is meeting people when they are down and out. In this case it was a story about how the family lost everything, but also how friends, family and the entire community have come out to help them rebuild their lives with fundraisers and help. We did the story to show this help and increase awareness that people are indeed, in need over the holidays. Its not our goal to be an advocate for helping out this one family, but to at least tell their story so if someone does wish to help, they will know how. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer
Photography is a many splendid things! As a photojournalist I won't manipulate an image. As a studio photographer I will do my best to please my clients. As an artist all bets are off. Its no secret that changing part of an image to black and white and keeping part in color is a big thing. Photoshop has taken this professional concept and given it to everyone. It can add interest to otherwise mundane images for certain. Its finding the right times to use it that is the key to good work and trickery with photoshop. What I find is that the basic elements of photography, light and shadow still need to be there in order to make a photograph work beyond just the simple manipulated tricks in order to take the image to the next level. Natural light is most often the most beautiful light you can us, though studio lighting allows you to create the light you want anytime you want. The studio I use has a nice window light in the bathroom/changing room and I enjoy using this light when I can. Photograph by Richard Sayer
I was sorting through my e-mail accounts and came upon these photos of Jim Stefanucci, Richard Sayer and myself. These photos were taken on December 22, 2006 in a small donut shop in Meadville, Pennsylvania. I learned newspaper photography from these guys. It is always super fun to hang out with them!
I don't photograph the tip-ff very often. In fact in 12 years of shoting basketball I've shot it perhaps only 8-10 times. I do it on openning night sometimes. Last night was opening night, this is when schools host tournaments to kick-off the season. Referred to as Tip-off tournaments it seems a very appropriate picture to get. When I started at the paper photographer Kirk Serena was still here at the Trib and he worked Saturday's with me. He had planned on going home early this one Saturday when the sports editor came in and asked if we could shoot two games right at the time he had planned to leave. Kirk was scheduled to work later, but wanted to duck out early. Kirk was known for having a bit of a temper and got sort of pissed off about it. But he went and took pictures of the game for the next days paper. He went and shot the tip off--took two frames and left. This is my favorite basketball story. The picture above I decided to post as a remembrance of Kirk who died a few years later from a motorcycle accident. I took it last night at Meadville's Tip-off tournament. Meadville Tribune photograph Richard Sayer
"You probably can't get a good picture out of a girls game can ya?" I was asked tonight. I get a version of this question every year. I think because people, mostly older men, don't enjoy watching high school girls basketball because the level of athleticism and skill that they think is basketball just isn't in the game. The games are usually lower scoring and there is only one or two recorded dunks ever in girls games(and certainly not around here). But I enjoy girls games to photograph so much more. The intesity level of the players is higher and some of the supposed lack of skill level often leads to balls and bodies flying all over the place and the pictures of faces and action are great. I think girls try harder and I think it shows in the pictures. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer