Ik wil jullie voorstellen aan een meisje dat ik ken, Sarah.
Ze is afkomstig van zutendaal (België).
Zij fascineert de wereld met betoverende foto’s die schoonheid, liefde, angst, en zelfs een beetje van speelsheid oproepen. Zo prachtig als zij is, haar bescheidenis is opmerkelijk.
Op het internet heb ik zopas zelfs al een interview met haar gevonden:
Me: Many photographers say that photography has been their passion since they were little. Do you find that to be the case for you?
Sarah: I have always been a shy girl who preferred to be alone rather than surrounded by people. And while alone, I loved spending time rearranging my room, my hair, and taking pictures. But it is not that I grew up with a camera, I think my first pictures were taken on a school trip at the age of eight with a disposable camera and my first digital camera I got at the age of 12. Mostly photos back then were shots of me and friends, doing very random things such as shopping and eventually those friend shots became self portraits, for I was the only person who was not shy enough to model.
Me: You wake up one morning, and as you are sitting up in bed, realize you have absolutely nothing planned for the day. How do you spend your free time?
Sarah: Scrapbooking! I love going through magazines to look for pretty things, cut and paste them, and make an even prettier something with them. I can spend hours and hours on my computer too, with a cup of tea, and Au Revoir Simone in the background. Blogs, flickr, and weheartit.com are some of my favorite things and they inspire me endlessly. It always makes me jump up and take some bad and sometimes better self portraits. Other than that I adore watching movies. I just discovered ‘Picnic at the Hanging Rock’ and it’s so magnificently shot. People might say this makes me boring, to choose to be alone rather than hang out with friends or just go out, but that’s just who I am. I’ve always been a shy one, and when I don’t have to, I don’t go to public places, but I stay in. I know it’s not a very good thing, for there is so much more out there! But I love it this way, so I don’t see the need of living my life in a different way.
Me: Mmm…I’ve always wanted to do scrapbooking, or create little inspiration books, like these. My idle time seems to be occupied by the computer. As you, I can spend multiple hours on the computer if I don’t pay attention to the time. You say blogs, flickr, and weheartit are some of your favorite things that inspire you. Do you have any particular blog, flickr, or weheartit that you find yourself constantly visiting for inspiration?
Sarah: I do. In blogland, I believe these two blogs are known by everyone, and no one could ever question why, because as soon as you open their page, you’re in a different world:
Loveology and The Unicorn Diaries.
Me: What type of camera do you use?
Sarah: I use anything. Whether it’s a disposable camera (they are so good, everything’s sharp, they’re so easy to use, and it’s film!), my Nikon F90 which I bought for 20 euros in a thrift store, my polaroid or my digital Nikon D40, it all works for me. Though I must say that I’ll always choose film over digital.
Me: Wow, you’re one of the few photographers I’ve spoken to that prefers film over digital. Doesn’t that get a bit tiresome for you, going through the whole manual process of developing the film as apposed to being able to upload photos straight to the computer? Also, you mentioned you use anything. Do you use lomography cameras? I’ve been thinking of purchasing one, but I keep hearing good and bad things about them. It seems half don’t like them and the other half are in love with them. What are your opinions on lomography cameras? Also, if you like to use lomography cameras, which kind do you use?
Sarah: It doesn’t annoy me at all, it makes photography even more special to me. When I few to New York I was sitting next to a fashion photographer. He tried to convince me to start using digital for over two hours, but I thank my genes for being so stubborn and not following his advice. I’m studying photography now, because I always wanted to be able to print photos myself, instead of bringing them to a lab, and I love it. Of course it takes more time, but the grain and color saturation are just so special that it makes it all worth it. Not a single photoshop action could ever replace film! For a while, I have been very much into lomography. When you go to my first uploaded photos on flickr, you see some square Holga shots. I love it a lot, but it also tires me after a while to always have the same surreal effect to a photo. I want surreal photos, but in a way I still want them to be realistic, so I sort of stepped back from multiple exposures and dramatic colors. I have a Fisheye, Holga, and Color Splash camera, and the Holga definitely was my favorite because of its square format and vignetting corners. If I would buy another one, I believe it would be the Diane or Lomo LC-A, but I don’t think I will. I think more about saving my money to buy a regular medium format camera.
Me: What would you recommend budding photographers who are looking to get into the industry to do?
Sarah: When you know how to do it, please tell me! I have no idea myself. I had been thinking of selling some prints online but since I never got any requests I let go of the idea.
Me: Awww…that’s too bad. I would have bought all your prints! All I can say is, you’re pretty popular in the blogosphere. I’ve seen innumerable photo blogs feature your work. Ever think about selling your prints anyway?
Sarah: Oh my, yes! I definitely want to. I’m thinking of a way to do it, but it makes me feel so conceited to say: ‘Hi, buy my prints! Pay me!’…Of course this is what I dreamt of for years, but thinking of actually selling prints, knowing that people want them is still so unreal. I found out about my photos on blogs after my friend told me: ‘Wow, Sarah, I’ve found your photos on a lot of inspiring blogs!’ I was very surprised by that, and did the awkward thing of googling myself. I was happy like never before to discover my photos on blogs that featured work of so many amazing photographers. Wauw, thank you.
Me: What program do you use to edit your photos?
Sarah: Photoshop. I used to photoshop almost every shot, even if it was only for a little bit of color adjustment or cropping. But I think my technique of shooting has improved and I don’t see the need of doing it anymore.
Me: I wish I had photoshop…I think I’m the only person on the surface of the earth that’s interested in photography that doesn’t own photoshop. May I ask what photoshop program you have?
Sarah: Oh, no. I’m sure you’re not because it’s just ridiculous how expensive it is. I got Photoshop CS3 this year because it’s required for my photography classes, and now they’re talking about us upgrading to CS4…I’m sorry but I don’t have a money tree!
Me: Don’t we all wish we had one of those? Oh well…
Me: Do you have a photographer who’s your icon?
Sarah: It would be a forever going long list, it really is impossible to pick out just one. I think that if Sofia Coppola would be a photographer, she might be the one. But Julie Pike, Diane Vincent, Lina Scheynius, and Candace Meyer are some of the many current photographers I admire!
Me: Mmm…some of my favorites are in that list, too. Would you say any of them inspired you to keep pursuing your photography instead of just giving up and doing something else?
Sarah: They definitely did, but I’m not convinced yet. There’s not a single day I’m a hundred percent sure about what I’m doing. If this was the right choice to make and a reasonable future for me. I of course hope to continue this, but I feel like I have to make a back-up plan too. A plan that is very blank still.
Me: What type of message/motif do you try/want to get across through your photos?
Sarah: It’s a hard question to answer…People tell me my photos are like a dreamworld. I try to give my photos a feminine, playful, dreamy touch, and make people drift to a prettier world. It’s funny when people write me: ‘I wish I would be you and live your life. You seem to always spend time playing in forests and dancing in the sun on the beach. Your life seems perfect and so happy!’ Well, I’m sorry to say so, I wish you were right, but my photos are not a documentary of my life I have been through miserable times, and I suppose this is my way of trying to get over it, and you know what? I think it works!
Me: Wow, that’s surprising to hear. Your photos are always so perfect, it’s hard to believe that doesn’t hold true to all aspects of your life. You said that photography is your way of trying to get over hard times in your life. Is photography a stress reliever for you?
Sarah: It has always been, it always was part of my non-education life in high school, but the further I get in my education now, photography, and the older I become, the more it becomes a stress creator too. Because I realize I have to try to earn money, and I’m not sure if I can do that by just photography. But, however, it sure does relieve stress for me. Because it’s not only shooting that’s part of photography. It’s also looking for pretty clothes and accessories, drawing ideas in my sketchbook, looking for pretty places. And then the shooting is a lot of fun, too. We usually play music to make it less weird to start dancing and posing. I love it! And sometimes I come up with the weirdest poses, and then both ‘the model’ and I end up laughing for ages when it just doesn’t work out. Or when we were shooting this one, there were about 20 other people staring at us from a little bridge. But then a guy on a bridge said: 'They look like fairies! and we were so flattered. But it was extremely cold, so running through the water wasn’t that easy to do as it seems! Haha.
Me: What inspires you?
Sarah: Cliche, cliche, my emotions do. Even though my photos are not documenting my everyday life, you do always see a part of me in it. A part of longing to fly and have someone to fly with. I love doing one person portraits, but when you have someone to share things with, it makes it even more beautiful!
Me: You know, you’re actually the first person I’ve spoken to that said their emotions inspire them. Most people say that they are inspired by movies or photography or books. I never really realized that all those sources of inspiration all root back to their emotions.
Sarah: Oh really? I thought this would be a ‘oh yes, we’ve all heard that before’ answer. But as you say, of course other photography or the visuals in movies inspire me too, but I wouldn’t say that’s my biggest inspiration.
Me: Do you use any of your family or friends as models in the photos you take?
Sarah: So far, I have never been shooting a stranger. I wonder how it would be, because so far, there’s always been a lot of trust between the model and me, and it must be rather strange when you know nothing of each other. You’ll often see the beautiful Sarah Meuter, a German girl who I spent half a year in LA with (and became one of my best friends) or my little cousin, Chloe Nijs, who I did the shoot with the starfishes on the beach with.
Me: Ohhhh, the starfish photos are some of my favorites from you! And your family supports your career in photography?
Sarah: I have to admit that my parents aren’t really excited about the choice I made. I think they would rather see me doing something with a guarantee on a good career. It wasn’t until I told my mother that I had an A in class that she was excited about my work.
Me: Where do you get your props and those lovely dresses?
Sarah: Haha, thank you! Of course I love vintage shopping, and other than that Urban Oufitters or Anthropologie must be my favorite clothing stores. There’s this dress from U.O. that Sarah Meuter wears in a shoot, and I received so much feedback and questions on the dress, that I expected it to sell extremely well. Surprisingly, every time I go back there, I still see a bunch of them getting cheaper and cheaper. Props such as the seafishes, butterflies, and feathers, I buy in craftstores, such as Michaels. I can seriously spend hours in there.
Me: Urban Outfitters is one of my very favorite stores, too! I’d also recommend Free People, as it is very much so your style. It’s kind of on the pricey side, though, which is why I own so little from them, but what I do own, I treasure.
Sarah: I have never heard of them! I’ll make sure to check them out, thanks a lot!
Me: Where’s your favorite place to take photos?
Sarah: Nature. Whether it’s a forest, field, or beach, I love it all. Rooms with lovely shaped daylight coming in are also a great place, but I haven’t found many of them yet.
how did it feel?
Me: Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?
Sarah: Chocolate! But I would trade the ice cream for frozen yogurt with chocolate chips, granola, and raspberries. It’s one of the best things I discovered in California, haha. I should open a frozen yogurt place in Belgium because I had no idea what I was missing!
Me: Oh do they not have frozen yogurt in Belgium?
Sarah: No, they don’t! Not even the global Starbucks!
Me: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be and why?
Sarah: Music, a diary, and polaroid camera (with never ending film). I would say a laptop, but without internet it would be useless anyway. Wine would be lovely too. Getting a bit drunk and dancing on Edith Piaff (like in My Summer of Love) is so good!