As a photographer, there's always something different with how to look at the subject when you already experienced being in front of a camera. Photographer Sarah Maria was once a model herself for eight years, and it has influenced how she approaches her own models.
Sarah's relationship with photography and the camera formed to become more nuanced and rounded. In this article she shares with us her series of vibrant and lively portraits and explains why she decided to shoot exclusively with film.
It all began when she went to an estate sale and found a $2 Polaroid 63700 point-and-shoot camera -- a purchase that was made out of her own curiosity. Sarah immediately became obsessed with it.
"I have been shooting film since November of 2020, and without my modeling experience for 8 years I would not have the foundation of understanding portraiture like I do."
Though she loves to shoot various subjects, portraiture has become a genre she's passionate about. Mariah felt closer with the camera and found more satisfaction with being a photographer. Good models are able to express emotions and stories through their bodies; good photographers can add more layers to the emotions and stories, which is what Sarah's been loving especially after she picked up her film camera. "I cherish it every single time I push the shutter. Nothing beats the sound."
At the same time, Sarah encourages more portrait photographers to empathize with their subjects. To be a good portraitist is to understand what it's like to be a model:
"I would recommend to anyone who wants to improve their portraits to remember how vulnerable it is to model in the first place. Model yourself, even if you don’t share any. It’s hard to understand what you are asking of someone if you have not learned the skill yourself or ever even tried. even if it’s just in your reflection, just remember your subjects need you to help them feel confident and comfortable to move with intention."
Although she'd love to learn how to be better in digital photography, Sarah chooses to exclusively shoots film, believing that the medium brings out more of the vibe she wants. Soft, simple, yet with a hint of glamour through clothing and makeup, and romance with the warm photoshoot setup. The photographs showcased are mostly taken with the reliable Lomography Color Negative 400 & Lomography Color Negative 800 35 mm films, known for their color-richness and accurate tones meant to capture the littlest of details.
Perhaps it is the rawness which film itself brings, as Sarah highly deems authenticity of the subject to be depicted on the portrait. It's also from the very souls of her muses and subjects where she draws inspiration, using photography as a cathartic release -- an energy exchange.
"It brings me so much satisfaction to honor people in the ways they wish to be seen and depicted."
Sarah aims to take over the world and touch as many lives as possible -- her wish to connect with the camera's subjects through portraiture is to also uplift and empower them.
Visit Sarah's Instagram page for more of her portraiture work.