When talking to Sara Evans (aka The Other Woman) about her photography, her first answer usually is that she “just shoots stuff.” She does admit to getting seduced by light and coloring and falling into the trap of making beautiful images. With a shrug, she states that “this is a hobby, so I can indulge myself.”
However, the photos she remains happy with long after they are taken are those that “manage to say something about being human.” She loves watching people and waiting for some gesture that suggests an emotion: that can be the way they walk, hold themselves, a flick of the hand or hair or a tilt of the head. And her journal is a tapestry of images that reflect that outlook.
Grounded in the arts
Sara has worked as a picture editor for a national newspaper for the past 17 years after studying fine art (painting, printmaking) at degree and postgraduate levels. At art school, her perception about image making changed but she concentrated on drawing and didn’t explore making work through photography.
She says that working in a newspaper has informed her photography. “My job involves commissioning and researching images that make us dwell, make us want to read something. Ultimately, images have to be compelling, whatever genre you’re interested in.”
Around age 12 she got her first film camera (a Canon AE1). She says that it, and a variety of lenses, are still under her bed and has no idea if any of it is still in working order! As a teen, she shot rolls and rolls of film without much though about what she was doing or why. “Photography,” she says “was a way to record the passing of time – and terrible hairstyles – in family life.” Did I mention that Sara has a wonderful sense of self-deprecating humor too? :)
Your photography says something about yourself
Shooting street photography can be a challenge. “Just raising your camera and pointing it at people is tough,” she says, “and I took a lot of photos of feet at first.”
Living in London is a huge advantage, people are focused on what they’re up to, so they don’t really notice me. I became more comfortable by shooting near work, it’s a busy area and there’s an interesting mix of people passing through. I’ve found several spots where I don’t feel conspicuous, so I can blend in, watch and wait.
She adds that beyond gaining the confidence to shoot, you need to consider carefully what you want to say about people, as inevitably you are also making a statement about yourself through your photography: “Shoot people cruelly or unkindly, and that’s how you will be perceived.”
There are two journals among many that Sara enjoys; both deliver sarcasm well but their wit isn’t wielded at humiliating the subjects of their photos: Imindoors and marknlizzie.
Advice to blippers on street photography
Sara loves images that have some emotional heft and make you pause and ponder. Her advice is to look at art, at films, at photographers you admire: a shortlist of those include Trent Parke, Sally Mann, Ernst Haas, and Tony Ray Jones.
She notes that this advice doesn’t change if you’re into landscape, flower photography, or taking photos of your pets: “Look, look more, look again and ask what you want to say with your images. What’s your intention?”
Sara joined Blipfoto after meeting a professional photographer (POD2008) whose journal she followed. She decided the daily discipline of shooting would be good for her.
At the time she joined, she really didn’t consider the interactive side of the community. “Since then,” she says, “getting to know other people really has been the best part of Blipfoto. I’ve been entertained, and educated, and made a few really dear friends.”
Originally from the Welsh borders, Sara has lived in London for 23 years. She also spends a lot of time in Finland, having fallen in love with Ira, a Finn, 13 years ago. With a smile, Sara concludes that “she’s my best subject, of course, above and beyond all other things.”
Remarks collected by Michele (aka Alsacienne)
Cover photo: Sara Evans