For Sarah Allegra, photography might not have been her first calling, but art has always been in her life. Drawing, painting, writing, jewelry making, creating stuffed animals from patterns she made herself, she has tried just about every art form she could. “In my mid 20’s, I was honing in on painting as my main craft, while I had also begun art modeling for local photographers. I enjoyed being a part of the photographic creative process and I found myself with lots of ideas for interesting images, but no outlet for them. ”
At the same time Sarah was beginning to feel the desire to try her hand at photography, she began developing a condition known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. It caused constant flu-like malaise and a host of physical effects. “Chronic pain soon became a permanent part of my life, and I discovered that my muscles and tendons began to become injured, swollen and would often refuse to recover for unbelievable lengths of time,” Sarah explains. “For me, this meant that wielding a paint brush and trying to complete a painting became less and less doable.”
To help her through her condition, her boyfriend at the time and now husband taught her how to use a camera in place of her brush and paint. It gave her a way to release the artistic expression she was unable to put on canvas and helped her recover. “There’s no therapy like art therapy!”
Sarah describes her style as mythic, ethereal and conceptual. She is drawn to images which tell stories and portray strong emotions. “I want my images to mean something, to convey a message. I want my photographs to be beautiful and visually pleasing of course, but there needs to more to them than just that for me to feel satisfied with them.”
“I create just for the pleasure of creating. As I’ve progressed, my work has become much more focused on pre-production. I might spend weeks or months creating all the props and costumes for one image, but the results are so much more rewarding when I’ve put so much effort into it! So while it is work, I enjoy it so it doesn’t feel like work. At least, not most of the time. Occasionally when I have a shoot deadline looming and far too little completed yet for my liking it’s frustrating, maddening and very draining. But it always pays off tremendously.”
Sarah’s Favorite Gear
Adobe Photoshop CC
Sarah’s Advice to Emerging Photographers
“Create for yourself first. Constructive feedback is important and it will certainly help you grow and improve, but always stay true to your artistic core, whatever that looks like for you.”
“Keep creating. Just keep doing it. It takes a while to get good at anything and photography is no exception. Don’t be discouraged if ideas don’t turn out the way you’d envisioned, chalk it up as a learning experience and then let it go.”
“Always be open to learning new things! Find photography sites you enjoy (like Photofocus!), artists whose work you admire and saturate yourself with knowledge and inspiration!”
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