Sarah Downie [seeingsarah]
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
i've been taking pictures since college, about ten years. i began by taking pictures to go along with stories i wrote for my college paper. i enjoyed it so much as an art form that i began creating a personal portfolio and have been building on it ever since.
What has been your education as a photographer?
none, really. just learning from my mistakes, studying the work of others and the occassional workshop or artist's interview.
What is your favourite type of photography?
environmental portraits are my favorite work to create, followed by the work i do with bands. there's a lot of creativity involved in putting together a music photoshoot and i really enjoy that aspect of it.
How do you choose your subjects?
i shoot what and who happens to be available. my music work is different because generally those artists have seen my portfolio online and they come to me. for my artwork, i prefer models with darker skin, because the tones and complexities read beautifully on camera.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
when i'm working with musicians, i like to get a good idea of what they are looking for. my work is known for being a bit on the dark side, with high contrast and color so by the time they come to me, they usually have something in mind. then, i listen to their music and check out the images they already have so that we can go a different direction. then, it's just a matter of putting the elements together, bringing in the musicians and taking a lot of pictures.
i go through a similar process when putting together a photograph for my fine art series. it starts with a concept and then i try to figure out how to put all the right elements in frame (model, lighting, make-up, props, background) to create the final product.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
it depends on what i am shooting. more preparation goes into my fine art and music work than in the environmental portraits i do. with those, i tend to use available light and subjects and backgrounds. there's very little setup because i shoot the same way everytime, only changing up the lighting when necessary with reflectors and whatnot. i'd really like to do more strobist style work also, so that's coming up next for me.
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
right now i'm shooting with sony but i am saving for a canon 5d. the quality of the images put out by that camera are usually astounding. also, the lenses and speedlites compatible with canon are great.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
whatever i have handy. like i said, i'm currently shooting with a sony but i'm moving to the canon 5d soon. other than that, i get really creative with my lighting, using everything from strobes, speedlites and monolights (when i can get them) to shop lights from my garage, flash lights and bare 100 watt light bulbs. my favorite light modifier is a big piece of semi-transluscent plastic that is usually used in flourescent lighting fixtures. i just put that between my main light and my subject and it diffuses bright light and gives a cool soft box effect. it cost me $4 at home depot. :)
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
i just got a new computer and didn't have photoshop on it. then i found GIMP2 and have been using it. it's good but i'll probably go back to photoshop in the next couple of weeks. the pro version just offers so much more.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
i right click protect my work and try to put watermarks on that stuff i can't right click save. i am aware that a lot of my work will end up unprotected but i'm risking it because at this point in my career, the exposure is so important.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
i work exclusively with digital because of the way that i manipulate my images. i do think that film gives a good effect, though, lots of nostalgia, especially if it's processed using interesting techniques.
Bakersfield, CA USA