IPA Interviews with Winning Photographers

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“I’ve always thought that starting in kindergarten children should have a visual languages class along with learning their ABCs – it’s a language that we use every day but are very unaware of its mechanics. More so now that the world is evolving this way, becoming more and more visual through digital technologies?

www.sarablack.com

Interview with

Sara Black

Beauty Photographer

How did you become a photographer?

My interest in photography began when I was quite young, maybe 9 or 10. I received an Instamatic camera as a gift one Christmas and I enjoyed seeing visually interesting subjects and capturing them. I picked it up as a real hobby at university when I got my first SLR. I’ve always been a visual person so at that point the timing was just right for me to develop the skills and feed my passion for it. After graduating it just felt like the perfect fit to pursue it professionally. I did an apprenticeship with a photographer and then went flying solo on my own a year after. I haven’t looked back and have just kept going :)

What makes the woman photographer different in terms of the manner of presentation of a subject/object/content in photography as compared to a male photographer? Is there really a difference?

Yes, I believe so. Women and men have different natural inclinations, different sets of lenses with which to view the world because we’ve experienced that world in different ways – historically, socially and on a personal level. We’re attracted to different subject matter and as a result are more keen on shooting certain things. Not that one point of view is better than the other, it’s just different. And it’s amazing to celebrate those differences. The way I see it, the more points of view, the better. Then everyone gets exposed to a variety of things and as a result, our minds open up and have fewer limitations.

What do you think are the limitations a woman photographer has in photography. Do you believe that photography is a male-dominated discipline?

Actually, I think it’s an advantage to be a woman photographer. Numerically there are more men doing photography professionally, so the world is saturated with the male point of view. So it’s refreshing to be in contact with the female gaze just because it presents a different reality than one we are more exposed to.

The world is also changing fast and more and more women are gaining momentum in all sorts of different industries, not just photography. So hopefully it gets to the point where there is a greater body of work created by women that are impactful, and not necessarily just important because the work is greater in number.

What makes a photograph relevant?

When it can evoke a feeling or widen a mindset.

How do you see Philippine photography as a whole in terms of using it as a language?

The whole world has some catching up to do with learning visual languages now that the digital era is exploding. I think to some extent developing countries struggle a little bit more with it because they have other immediate (economic) needs they have to attend to, so culture and art tend to get pushed to the background. But people will have no choice but to adapt because more and more we are all communicating in visual terms. We post our photos on FB to tell our stories, Viber or WhatsApp. As the necessity or the use becomes normal, the level of skill and understanding should go up.

What do you think the government should do so young generations will have a more critical way of understanding photography as a language?

I’ve always thought that starting in kindergarten children should have a visual languages class along with learning their ABCs – it’s a language that we use every day but are very unaware of its mechanics. More so now that the world is evolving this way, becoming more and more visual through digital technologies.