Name: Sarah Hadley
Age: Eternally youthful
College: Georgetown University and the Corcoran College of Art
Colours: Black, Gold and Green
Books: Paul Auster’s Mr. Vertigo or Hand to Mouth, Jeannette Winterson’s The Passion and Helen Humphrey’s The Lost Garden.
Movies: The Best of Youth, Cinema Paradiso, Before Sunrise, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Squid and the Whale, Manchester by the Sea, Le Notte di Cabiria, Amarcord.
Food: Red lentil soup and fattoush salad
Quote: Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton
For how long have been in photography? How did you start?
I started shooting when I was about ten years old and a friend gave me a plastic camera for my birthday. I learned how to print in the darkroom a few years later and was mesmerized by the process. I photographed in high school and college, but never took any classes. I finally went to school in photography when I was 23 and got a BFA at the Corcoran College of Art. It was there I started shooting projects and thinking like a fine art photographer. However, my first job was shooting for a small town newspaper in Virginia, which taught me a lot about working with people and making an image with available light. I went on to work for various small publications in Chicago, but continued to create and exhibit personal projects.
How would you define yourself as an artist?
I am a fine art photographer, who also loves to paint and make collages.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere, but most often in paintings, movies and interiors. My work almost always has to do with a sense of place or my past.
Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life today?
Growing up in a museum. My father was the Director of the Gardner Museum in Boston and I was surrounded by incredible art and architecture from a young age. My parents also dragged me through many museums and exhibitions and we traveled all over Europe, for which I am now very grateful.
What for you is the most enjoyable part of your photography?
Shooting, collaging images together in photoshop, and painting on my photos.
Is Brainstorming not the only creative method use to create new concepts?
I tend to think about the work after it is shot and then brainstorm to try to understand what it means to me and what it might say to a viewer. Often the concept is subconscious and arises from the process of making the work.
Please could you tell us about photography and digital technology?
I was a film shooter for the first 15 years and in some ways wish I hadn’t given it up as I love the look of film, but I was literally getting sick from the darkroom chemicals. So, I adopted digital photography around 2001 and I love photoshop. It is a wonderful tool.
What type of camera do you use most?
Mostly I use my Nikon d750, but I occasionally still shoot with a Holga or my old Rolleicord.
What is your favorite lens?
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
I have 2 very memorable assignments. One was shooting the Dalai Lama years ago for a small newspaper in Chicago. I almost didn’t get a good shot of him, as I had been shooting him from the back of a big hall with the other reporters and then they told the press that we could come to the edge of the stage and take pictures of him. I got one photo of him and then my camera started automatically rewinding (I was shooting film) and I just stood there praying that I would have time to reload and get another photo, which I did. The next day there was a photo of the Dalai Lama on the front of the Chicago Sun Times with a few devotees and me standing near the edge of the stage. You couldn’t tell I had a camera in my hand, so it just looks as if I am praying. The second was when I was assigned to shoot a story about a woman who had donated her bone marrow to a stranger. After one year, they were finally allowed to know each others names and to meet. It was incredibly touching to witness these two women, one who had saved the other’s life and to try to photograph the emotion of the moment.
What are your favourite three images you have shot recently?
I recently made a huge color collage using a model, several recent photos of mine and a drawing which I call “Desire Under the Trees.” It is pretty surreal and visually interesting. Second would be “Chance Encounter” which was my first very successful collage of a woman walking towards a man and a photo of a beach and bed collaged all together. Lastly, I a shot an image at the Gardner Museum of several people through a glass vitrine, which I feel captures the otherworldliness of the place.
How important is an awesome website for your business?
I think a clear website with good navigation is very important. That being said most people find me via Instagram or Facebook.
What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have?
Flexibility and an enduring love of photography. Flexibility as things will go wrong with your camera, the weather, the model, the location, and you have to deal with it and figure out how to get your shot. An enduring love of photography because collectors, gallery owners and curators want to see you produce and exhibit new work year after year, so you have to be in it for the long haul.
Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction?
My Lost Venice project is probably the most complete and satisfying project I have done because I worked on it off and on for 10 years and finally came to fully understand what it meant and why it has resonated with viewers.
List of your clients?
I sell some work to hotels and corporations as well as a few magazines here and there, but mostly I sell art work to collectors now.
Who are the photographer’s you admire the most?
Julia Margaret Cameron, Robert Frank, Andre Kertesz, Gordon Parks, Man Ray, Sophie Calle, Francesca Woodman, Carrie Mae Weems, Machial Botman and Cig Harvey.
What about architects and designers?
I really love good design and architecture and have long admired the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Philippe Stark, Le Courbusier, Rennie MackIntosh, and many Arts and Craft designers.
What are your next projects?
I am currently working on a project about my childhood home, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Define ” Klassik International” for the audience? Amazing!