Born in Tokyo to parents who traveled the world, Sarah Silver first fell in love with photography while working in her grandfather’s darkroom. Shortly after finishing her Master’s Degree in Photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, she was chosen to shoot for Surface Magazine’s prestigious Avant Guardian issue. Using dancers as models, the fashion shoot marked the beginning of Sarah’s love for combining movement and photography.
An established fashion, beauty and movement photographer, Sarah’s varied list of clients include Vogue, V, L’Officiel, W, Allure, Proenza Schouler, Pantene, L’Oreal, Nike, Sephora, Revlon, DKNY, AG Jeans, and Target. Sarah has also worked with Tresemmé in an award-winning collaboration for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Equally comfortable in front of the camera, Sarah made her small screen debut shooting live on Bravo Network’s reality series Make Me A Supermodel. She has continued her adventures in television, often appearing on America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway and LA Ink.
How did you get your start in photography?
I got my start in photography developing film in my grandfather’s basement darkroom (he was a portrait and baby photographer in Detroit). For as long as I can remember photography has been a part of my life and I have always had a camera in my hands.
What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?
I love shooting movement, whether I am capturing fashion, beauty, or sports. When I was younger I dreamed of being a professional dancer, but ballet was not playing to my strengths (I can barely touch my toes). How could I, a failed dancer, keep movement in my life? By shooting it! There is nothing more rewarding than the unplanned and unexpected moment that comes from making things move.
What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?
I love collaborating with other creative people and I am extremely proud that I have been able to do so at the highest level. My favorite visuals are always the result of a collaborative exchange.
Who and/or what inspires you most?
The album covers for the bands I loved in the 90’s had amazing artwork (This Mortal Coil, for example), and were my earliest visual inspirations. I am a “recovering” goth punk from back then. I had my nose pierced, a million earrings, and a LOT of black in my closet.
What is your approach? Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?
My motto has always been not to make anybody do something on set that I would not first try myself. Jumping in heels? Let me show you! Flip on a trampoline? Let me show you! Roll around on the floor? Martial arts kick? Let me show you! Leading by example always opens my mind to new possibilities and inspires creativity on set.
Why is accurate color important within your workflow?
Every decision I make while shooting, from camera angle, lens choice, and composition is an intentional choice. I have so many creative tools at my disposal, but color ties every detail together. My monitors have to be calibrated correctly in order for my entire workflow to be successful.
Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning their career?
I always tell my students, interns, and all young artists not to rush into finding their voice, especially a voice that is too “perfect.” Personal style comes with time and experience, not from a formula. The mistakes along the way are the best opportunities to find what makes you tick. Enjoy the mess-ups and the happy accidents!