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Dec 9, 2015

A CONVERSATION WITH SARAH BLAIS

THE FINE PRINT: Your aesthetic is quite soft, always feminine, often flowy. How would you describe your work?

SARAH BLAIS: I’ve always worked towards creating an image that is true to life – one that portrays the allure of ambient light and colour. Harry Gruyaert and Alex Webb are massive inspirations for me in that regard. But I’m always working to evolve so it’s hard to describe it as a whole.

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TFP: What do you think distinguishes your photographic work from your art direction?

SB: I’ve learned that art direction is more about communicating a concept/brand/idea, and less about how you interact with and see the world. It can be a challenge to separate, but quite stimulating to immerse yourself in another perspective if you can.

My photographic work is more of an experiment of smashing together all the things I love and capturing what I personally think is beautiful in that moment. Currently, my personal work is a lot more gritty and unrefined.

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TFP: You are a woman of many talents, as you also do mixed media, including collages, drawings, digital illustrations and videos. What do these represent creatively to you?

SB: Mixed media to me is liberating. There is no brief and nobody really watching. Like that euphoric release you get when laughing really hard or crying even. I guess to me it represents a natural response freed from expectation.

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TFP: Your work being divided between portraits, lookbooks, and editorials, which one is your favourite to shoot and why?

SB: I love shooting editorials and lookbooks, but with teams that are spontaneous or enthusiastic. There can be more room for ‘creativity’ with editorials sometimes, but at the end of the day I find creativity comes down to the energy of the people on set for me. My favorite shoots are those where we all create an image that thrills us, like something you haven’t quite seen or felt before.

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TFP: Where do you seek inspiration? Are these sources different if you are working on photography, art direction or mixed media?

SB: All over the place – books, magazines, the Internet, a conversation with your little cousin, or an old man waiting for the bus. There are some blogs that I personally adore (http://halogenic.tumblr.com, http://anabundanceof.tumblr.com/, to name a couple) but no one particular place I rely on.

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TFP: Do you strictly shoot digitally, or is analog a genre that is appealing to you as well?

SB: I shoot both, but started with analog. I recently broke a really nice used Minolta I picked up last year, so I haven’t been using analog as much lately. I got another point and shoot film camera for £10 that I bring to parties etc. but while looking for another Minolta I’ve just been using my analog lenses on my digital camera. Loving the results.

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TFP: Studio or outdoors?

SB: It’s hard to make a choice, as both are good for different reasons. I love being outdoors though. There’s lot’s to work with if you don’t have anything too restricting in mind – and available light is pretty unbeatable.

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TFP: You’ve been published all over the place – Vogue, Hunger, Contributor, Sticky, to only name a few. If you had to pick, in which publication would you like to be featured next?

SB: Re-Edition just came out with a beautiful new issue, so them, or Noon magazine.  

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