Q & A with Sarah Baron
Welcome to another Q & A Session! Get to know Sarah Baron. Sarah specializes in Fine Art Photography. Enjoy the interview and if you enjoyed what you read as much as me, please leave a comment.
1. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in photography?
Really, I began taking photographs when I was a little lost in the rest of my life. I was a lot lost!
I was in between educational goals and waiting tables in a tiny diner to pay my bills. I was signed up to begin taking classes part time and trying to decide what my major would be. I drove up to the mountains with a friend and he taught me how to use his camera. It was a beast of a Nikon and I just loved the way it felt in my hand… all metal and heavy. I photographed ski slopes from the road that day. After, he took me to his college darkroom and taught me to develop film and make prints. It was magical watching my mountain images appear from thin air. It is a little cliché to use such words to describe photography, but it really was something otherworldly for me. It still is.
The next semester when I started back to school, I was asked to declare a major. I chose Art. I took my first Art class ever a week later.
2. What type of photographer are you? What does photography mean to you?
I suppose my photography, if we had to classify it, would be considered fine art photography. I am not a commercial photographer for sure and I don’t really make commissioned pieces. I work from within. Photography is a means of expression for me. Its costly, but it is a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy.
3. What type of equipment do you use?
My equipment varies. Five years ago if you had asked me that question, the answer would have been, “I shoot 35mm Ilford Delta 3200 film in my Nikkormat FT”. Today, the answer is more complicated. I still use that 1969 Nikkormat, but I also have a Nikon FM10 because it is all plastic which makes it lighter and more convenient for travel. Ilford Delta 3200 is still my film of choice because I love the texture of the grain. Sometimes I use a lens and sometimes I use a pinhole body cap.
I have branched out greatly in just this past year. I have acquired a reproduction Diana plastic camera with an instant back and a nifty flash. This is the first flash I have actually owned.
I have also been doing a great deal of work using the camera on my iPhone. Again, it sounds cheesy, but it has a wonderful lens and has really changed the way I look for subject matter.
I still don’t have a digital SLR and I don’t really plan on getting one! I do, however, plan on purchasing a wet plate collodion set up so I can learn to make images like a civil war photographer!
4. What motivates you to do what you do?
My motivation comes purely from a desire to create. I really do make images for myself.
5. Do you believe that film photography will in the end be replaced by digital photography?
I really don’t think that film will ever completely die. Mainstream photography will definitely go digital, but I believe that the artists and enthusiasts will always have a need for film. Of course, as you can tell from my previous answers, I am an optimist!
6. Do you prefer using film cameras or digital cameras? Why?
I can see a place for both styles, even in my own work. I love film and miss the process of physically developing negatives when I work digitally though.
I used to be super anti-digital, but I have softened. The thing that bugs me about digital is that people think that it is easy. Buying an expensive digital camera doesn’t make you a good photographer; it makes you a guy with an expensive camera. Good photographers have to understand composition, concept and quality. Those skills take time to hone and each image is an effort. So, for the record, I am not anti-digital, I am anti-lazy!
7. What has been the most surprising reaction to your photographs?
I am always surprised when people “get it”, whatever the “it” might be. In my head everything seems so personal, so unique to me. It pleases me to realize that my own issues are universal, as well as personal. It is wonderful to feel people connect to my work. It lets me know that even when my style isn’t en vogue, my ideas are still valid.
Plus, it is fun to see people realize those beautiful animals are actually dead!
8. How has social media helped you to promote your work? How much time do you invest in it?
The Internet is a valuable tool. To me, Facebook is for friends and I like to separate that from my career. I do often post about upcoming shows, but its just so my friends know where to come have a cocktail. LinkedIn, however, has helped me to make many connections in my field and has even led to work.
I think the most useful Internet media I have experienced is the blog. It’s a great way to dip your toes in the world of getting yourself out there! I highly recommend it.
9. What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face as a photographer?
Trends. What is popular or salable in the art world changes as rapidly as technology. So the question always looms, “Do I make art that will sell or do I make art that is me”. Some days “me” is marketable, some days it is not. It’s not a matter of fame, but one of survival. When the savings account is dwindling, it can be tempting to skip the integrity and just make photos of puppies and rainbows for the cash. So some days I struggle to stick to my creative guns.
10. What is your favorite image and Why? (Either your own or someone else’s or both)
I could never pick one image or even one photographer. I adore both the images and concepts of artists like Sally Mann, Duane Michals and Richard Avedon, but those folks are just the beginning of a huge list of names of people whose work influences mine.
11. Do you remember the first photo you took that made you say, WOW!?
I hate to admit this, but the whole thing was an accident. I was attempting to photograph a lake in the mountains of New Hampshire using infrared film, which is extremely light and temperature sensitive. I was actually, in the water with the camera and the sunlight was coming through the lens at such an angle that I really couldn’t see much. When I developed the roll of film and made the contact sheet, I saw that my boyfriend had wandered into my frame, mooned me and then disappeared to the shore. Somewhere in between walking into the water and dropping his shorts, there was an amazing frame where light and shadow and composition all came together. It solidified my desire to keep learning and improve as an artist.
© Sarah Baron
12. What is the ONE lasting impression you want people to have after seeing your photos?
Each project is intended to elicit a different reaction, but overall, I want my viewers to feel something. My hope is that my work will help the viewer connect to something within, a memory or an emotion, perhaps. I suppose it is all about connection for me.
© Sarah Baron
13. Where do you see yourself in the future as a photographer? Where do you think it will lead you?
I have no idea really. There are lots of crazy dreams… I’d like to teach and work and curate. I am pretty lucky to be able to have done all of those things already. In the future, my one true hope is that I will continue to create images with the same enthusiasm and urgency that I do today.
14. What tips would you give to aspiring photographers?
My advice to all photographers or artists is not to close yourself off too early. Don’t decide what kind of photographer you are before you learn about art and photography. There are so many things you CAN do with a camera and I feel that you should try them all to make an informed decision. Remember also that do not have to choose just one camera, style or subject. Art is fluid. Don’t be afraid to experiment or evolve.
15. Finally, what other thoughts would you like to share?
Thanks for reading!! 🙂
Click on the links below to find out more about Sarah.
You can check out more of her work at: Sarah C. Baron Photography
Her Blog: Bulb: