Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Alexander.
Sara, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My interest in photography began in high school. I desperately waited to be old enough to take the photography class that was offered in my high school. That was back right before digital photography came out and we use Pentax 35mm SLR issued by the school. They supplied our film which was only black and white and taught us everything from rolling the film into canisters, taking interesting images, and developing them. I focused on street and architectural photography. My last series of photographs from my senior year was stolen along with the negatives. I wish I could see them to compare with the art I do now.
I got married less than a year after graduation and I took a long break from doing photography as an art because of the cost. It was expensive for a young family, which we started right away. I began switching from street photography to documenting my days and my children were my muse. Eventually, I switched to digital photography and started creating again. This opened up a new world of portraiture photography which I was very uncomfortable with before. It was difficult for me to direct people and make connections because I was so inward focused. But having children and having instant connections with them and loving the images that I was capturing made me way more comfortable taking images of others. I went from only my children to families and events, and even weddings.
I guess for perspective, I should add that this all happened before the advent of social media. Showing your images was very different before social media. You had to interact with the person looking at your photos in person. That plays a huge part in my story. When I got a FB for the first time and could share my images without having to see peoples expressions and just get likes on them, it gave me courage to explore more and take more risks. I still got feedback but it was different. Easier to take and probably more honest than face to face.
I still try to grow in my photography every day. My goal is to achieve my vision with mostly in camera techniques. It is a challenge in thinking and patience. The image that Voyage Phoenix first noticed of mine was all done in camera although it looks like multiple exposures. It was taken through a window using the window as a reflection and as something to see through. I use editing programs lightly but I don’t frown on those who depend on them for their vision at all. In fact, sometimes I need to unfollow them because their visual voices get too loud. I think this has a lot to do with my early days as a photographer and not being able to edit.
I started a business on February 12th of this year. I felt it was time that I could do this venture because most of my seven children are teenagers and older. I homeschool them so it leaves very little time to run a business when they are young. I named it Seven Million Wonders Photography after a quote by Walt Streightiff. My children and our world is still the main focus of my personal work and that is most of what you will see on my Instagram.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I take pictures of mainly families and children. I really enjoy senior photography and I do school photography for the homeschool community as well.
It is such a delight to me to work with children. I love interacting with them and making them feel important and interesting.
My hope in making images of others is that I capture who they are. I want the real person to show up in the image and be frozen in time. Of course, I want them to look stunning and have a great background but it’s not my main goal. I often ask seniors and couples to give me a list of paces that mean something to them or that they frequent. I don’t want them to look back at an image and just see a cheesy image of when they were younger, I want a flood of memories to come back. So the place and the connection are really important to me because it’s important to them. It makes me so happy to hear from parents and friends that I really captured that person in my images.
One day I took a senior girl on a walk around her childhood neighborhood and she told me her memories and we had an amazing time and created very unique images. This style of shooting means that I may be on a mountain some days and in the city the next.
My artwork is not as cohesive as most artists. I wouldn’t even say that I have a brand yet. I take pictures at so many different places and times of day that one style doesn’t work plus I am a big fan of representing what is really there. I am also challenging myself with new things to see if I like it and want to incorporate it into my business.
I also have a huge love for the sky. I have a section of my website devoted to stars and storms. This area is devoted to my storm chasing of the monsoon and also taking pictures of the stars over Arizona. I truly think these point to the Creator and show off his handiwork.
The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Start free and low cost. You obviously need to shell out some money for good equipment but vision is better than gear and there are ways to start out without going into debt.
I also suggest doing some free work to get in practice and to get the word of mouth going. Friends refer friends.
I know of plenty of artists, photographers, that are killing it and making six-figure salaries. They didn’t start that way and they worked really hard to develop their craft and promote it. It takes a lot of work and determination and just doing it scared.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can see some work on my website https://sevenmillionwonders.com/. It is new and only has a very small sampling of my work.
I have an Instagram that people can follow https://www.instagram.com/sevenmillionwondersphoto/
Again, it is new but is updated more frequently than the website.
I was censored from Facebook for an unknown reason but if I get the chance to get back on there I will.
- Address: Maricopa, Arizona
- Website: https://sevenmillionwonders.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sevenmillionwondersphoto/