I'd love to say I was on fleek, the best i can say is through everything I felt, saw, challenged myself to do and changed about myself in 2015, my work was a driving force for my getting through it even if i wasn't feeling on top of everything.
It hasn't been a fun year. Folks that know me know I'm a happy guy and really enjoy life. Certain things in the past year have challenged my happiness and I'm not sure I've managed to handle it the best way I could've. Most of its personal, but I mention it because I think in the work we do, our personal lives influence how we go about things and as a result how the work ends up the way it does.
In March I left a job that I loved very much, a tough decision to make for sure. I did this for several reasons, but most importantly I think is that a challenge in ones life is something we need seek from time to time. Complacency and routine are comfortable, but not condusive to desiring more.
I am a community photographer and an artist. My community grew to include new surroundings and navigating new people and ideas. This is always a good thing for an artist hungry to grow, to experience new things, and as a journalist to open the mind again because everything must be learned anew. I had the added challenge of replacing a well loved and respected photographer who had been at the paper for nearly 20 years.
I felt the best way to approach my new job was to just make it my own, not become a replacement. I would introduce myself as the 'new Jerry,' but I was hoping that the expectations were not going to be that I was going to try to fill Jerry's shoes, but begin to add my visual voice to the history of the area. I felt I had navigated my way to doing that in Crawford County over the years and felt it would just be time I'd have to spend here.
Its been a little difficult with the commute from Meadville and hours spent alone on the road. I am not a part of the community as Jerry was because I leave it everyday and am 30 plus miles away.This hasn't added to my ability to be happy for sure.
The first image above was made while out looking for a weather feature in Franklin this summer. I had just gotten a copy of The Americans by Robert Frank and was thinking about that book a lot while driving around. This was a prevailing thought for me this year as I tried to redefine how I was making photographs.
This is hard for me from years of training myself to get tighter, clean up the composition and just try to draw into the bare essentials.
So photographing a couple brothers working the carnival circuit this summer on break from setting up at the Rocky Grove fair I just hung out as if I were smoking cigarettes with them(I wasn't--i choke trying to inhale!)
A picture like this above from the Oil Heritage Festival parade would've gotten a severe crop from me years earlier, but now I'm beginning to see the space and allowing for that air and breath to be a part of the reading of the image. And if the image has the necessary elements and the composition doesn't distract you from the reading then why change it. Allow what you see to be and let the moment stand on its own.
Often people just don't know and therefore don't know how to act. Some handle this better than others obviously, but its a good job of journalists to at least try to inform.
A very well respected photojournalist who I have watched her work for years, Mary Beth Meehan said she got out of the newspaper business because she just didn't like covering the news. Her ideas centered around issues and who people are. I really think about that a lot. I respected what she said and why.
I narrowed down my photographs from this year as my favorites. Tomorrow I could pick some different ones to add in, but for now I think these showed what I was trying to do with my photography and story telling growth and I hope to learn even more in the new year. Thanks for looking and if you had it in ya, for reading!
If you want to see more check out the blog after this one for the loose edit of about 170 pictures taken since March 16 when I started at the Derrick and News-Herald.
Here is a link: http://richardsayerphotojournalism.weebly.com/daily-pictures/2015-has-been-a-year-loose-edit
And if you're interested in other pictures I've taken please check out the rest of this blog which sadly I didn't maintain very well for awhile, but hope to again in the new year.
There are slideshows from 2014 and many other images and thoughts about community and what i try to do as a photographer.
Thank you for looking!