Sara Lando: The Language of Photography (Pt. 1)

I've met some pretty interesting individuals over the past couple months, but I think Sara - and her husband Alessandro - might be my favorite (not to take anything away from anyone else I've met though, you are all fantastic human beings).

 One of my rejected shots from my shoot with Sara Lando. More on that later, so stay tuned :) In some ways I wish I had used this image in my and Zack's shoot out to throw people off a little more.

One of my rejected shots from my shoot with Sara Lando. More on that later, so stay tuned :) In some ways I wish I had used this image in my and Zack's shoot out to throw people off a little more.

 Alessandro is Sara's husband. He's a very quiet dude, but we had some good conversations. He's a trail runner, but not little wussy backyard trails - he runs mountains. He is also an awesome graphic and web designer. Check out his work  here .

Alessandro is Sara's husband. He's a very quiet dude, but we had some good conversations. He's a trail runner, but not little wussy backyard trails - he runs mountains. He is also an awesome graphic and web designer. Check out his work here.

Sara has this very "subtle" way of cracking open your skull and peering inside and trying to pull something out of you. (Wait! Did I say subtle? I meant the opposite of that). It's fascinating and I think I understand why she is so infectious to be around and why people seem to gravitate toward her. She forces you to stretch your limits - or at least what you think your limits are - and she instantly broke my brain after we got to talking.

She posed some interesting questions to me and made me reassess the way I want to approach my work and better myself and I encourage anyone even remotely interested in photography to start following her work. Go to her workshops if at all possible and stretch your brain and thought process. It will be a very rewarding experience and I hope to retain as much as possible from what I learnt from her short time here in Atlanta.

Now, I could go on about both workshops she held in Atlanta, but then we'll be here for a week, so I just want to touch on some things I learnt on the Saturday and Sunday respectively and from a little short piece we shot about her process. (Note: So after I started writing about the Saturday class I realized that there was no way I could do this in one post).

Saturday: Mixed Media

Sara explains photography as a language. In the beginning when you start speaking, you suck at it. You are making sounds, gestures, noises et cetera. Eventually that sound becomes a word and later the word becomes; two, three words and you can form short sentences. Then eventually you can have conversations and create dialogue.

The same goes for photography. When you start out; your work is shit, but over time and with practice and patience, it gets better (or less shit if that's what you wanna go for). Just because you get better though doesn't mean you don't still produce shit. You just learn not to show it :)

She went on to show some of her past shoots. How she has progressed over the past 10 years and I thought that was great. We all need to show where we began. Be open about it. Learn from it and have others learn from it. Then she delved into some commissioned work for clients and how she approaches that. From checklists, to moodboards and gear, lighting and assistants. In between all that, random assignments would pop up, that you need to go shoot. In part two of that she took some of her prints she had brought along and proceeded to "destroy" them.

 Sara, performing a seance or just part of her mixed media process?

Sara, performing a seance or just part of her mixed media process?

Here is a short excerpt from the little video Zack and I shot of Sara.

I am not attached to the things I do. I am fine with just erasing or throwing things in the garbage. It just takes up space and I am never gonna see that again coz it embarrasses me and I am never gonna do anything with it. I don’t think keeping something that’s almost there is worth anything. It has value in an educational perspective. Looking back and realizing you’ve improved is great, but I think 90% of the stuff just has to go.

I thought this was a pretty refreshing approach. Sometimes we are way too attached to the things we create. It's precious and we keep it close to the chest and there is nothing wrong with it, but step away from that. Experiment. Burn your work. Go print that photo you made and paint on it, scratch it, throw hot coffee on it, cut it up. I promise you, it's "safe" on your harddrive. Try something new. Do something physical to it and document that with your camera - thus creating a whole new picture, physically and digitally -  and at the end you'll have this whole process and you might have created something refreshing or perhaps not, but I guarantee you'll have had fun :)

Part two coming up tomorrow and it involves a shootout between me and Zack Arias? ;) Oh shit!!

Thanks for reading