Self-trained photographer, Sarah Bernhard, loves taking photographs. In fact, she takes them every single day. She also has an affinity for “art, sophisticated electronic music and inspired people”. Both a skilled photo-taker, and photo-illustrator, Sarah’s creations draw upon her many inspiration and are, in turn, themselves inspiring!
Who are some of these “inspired people” you mention on your website, under your list of likes? Do they inspire you, and your photos?
Yes, with “inspired people” I mean great creative minds out who inspire me and my work. Musicians, designers, writers… people who have an eye for details. And I’m proud and happy that some of them are my friends: We Are Fellows, Here We Go, “Herr Metag”: http://www.herrmetag.de , == Der dichte Fürst==.
How did your love for analogue photography begin, and where has it taken you?
I started photography in an uncommon way: with a digital compact camera. I took photos of my friends, myself, my surroundings and posted them in my blog. Photography became very important in my life. I wanted to learn more about photography, so I borrowed my parents’ old SLRs and bought myself a Polaroid camera. I love the texture and the unpredictability of film…
Not wanting to sound like the question master, at a party full of strangers, who are some of your favourite artists, and what are some of your favourite songs?
Right now I’m into minimal, deep-house and dub step music. Some great acts are Tim Hecker, Burial, Alva Noto, Shackleton, The Field and Andy Stott. But I also like Indie/Post-Rock music, like Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Warpaint, Ef and This Will Destroy You. My all-time favourite band is Mogwai.
Do your subjects find you, or do you search for your subjects? Pick a favourite photograph of yours and explain how and why you decided to immortalize it by hitting the shutter button.
That’s a quite difficult question. I can’t really tell. I think mostly it is both. A situation, a subject, an atmosphere which catches my eye and on the other side me with a camera in my pocket, mostly willing to find a storytelling image. ;) This isn’t a “favourite” photograph, but I like it because of its simplicity, the fading, the emptiness and the dust. When I look at it I feel loneliness and warmth at the same time.
I revisited the film Babel, recently, and find myself thinking of the deaf character Chieko Wataya, in the club with the bright strobe lights, the film going in-and-out of sound and silence, when viewing your Music gallery. Do you capture these scenes out of interest in the capturing the moment in sound, or sight?
It’s great you mention “Babel”… that’s one of my favourite films! While taking photographs of live music events I try to connect sound and sight in an image. The music leads me and I try to frame it in a photograph.
Clearly you are multi-talented, with the stylus and camera. What’s your background (training)?
Thanks a lot! :) Well, I don’t know. I never had photography lessons or something like that. But I have always been interested in people. I studied Sociology, Communication and Political Science and because of that I have a kind of “theoretical background”. I try to combine it with my interest for art, aesthetics and architecture…
What does being asked to contribute to popular international magazines feel like? Is it just a day on the job, or is this something you’ve always aspired to?
It’s always an honour and I feel really flattered because of the interest in my photography. Especially when they ask for my personal photos.
What are some upcoming projects you are working on?
I’m not making a living as a photographer (I’m working full-time as a planner in an advertising agency). But I try to do as many side-projects as possible. On February the 4th I will take part in a group show in Hamburg. It’s called You Are My Favourite and it’s curated by Franziska Ebert, a great photographer, by the way.
Where in the world have you traveled, and lived? And, in your daily taking of photos, do you mainly mean for photo-shoots, or personal photos, taken while going about your daily routine.
I lived in Münster (my hometown), Cologne, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Hamburg. In the past 3 three years I traveled to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Prague and Palma. For a research project at university I traveled several times to China (Beijing, Chengdu) and lived for some months in Shanghai. Mostly I’m taking personal photos “from the hip”. I always have a camera in my pocket. But when I was in China, it was different: taking photos there was a main part of my (research) job. I’m also doing photo shoots, of course. But I try to keep them as simple and casual as possible, to get natural, honest images.
What is one of the most exciting feats you’ve accomplished in your career?
I think the most excited thing was to document the daily life of Chinese people in Shanghai. I took photos of their flats, learned how to make “true” dumplings, played ping pong and got to know how they manage their daily life.