Joe Sarah Photography
Joe Sarah Photography

Mayotics - A Blog


What is Crossmodalism?


It's been nearly two years since I was welcomed in to the negroni fuelled world of Crossmodalism. And, I'd have to say even though we know better now what Crossmodalism isn't we still aren't any closer to what it is. We do know somethings though. We know we do some pretty cool stuff.


This picture above of Anna, the synesthetic painter was shot after a performance at Carousel where Anna and Nadjib - the perfumer - played with our senses. Anna painted, Nadjib filled the room with a handful of intoxicating aromas to tickle our noses and Anna's synesthesia.


Sounds fairly multi-sensory, well, Crossmodalism isn't just that. What we are is a group of young, creatives, scientists and entrepreneurs with a penchant for doing cool shit. None of us really fit, we are square pegs in round holes and love it. Something along the lines of the un-specialists that collaborate to bring ideas to life feels right so let's go with that.


Crossmodalism and funnily enough, a load of my pictures can be found here

Brit/OhBones - How was this photo taken?


So let's start by saying what this photo is, this is the album cover for my dear friend Brit a.k.a Oh Bones. folky alternative singer with a love of the dark best expressed by her previous career as an archeologist. Brit and I had worked together on shoots for Dr Martins and Kickers for a while but those shoots had always had a candid out and about vibe, for this though, my lighting know-how or whatever it is was central to what we aimed to achieve. 


I'll stop for a moment to say this, there was no editing done on this image(an absolute when working with Brit) the lighting set up was a bit of a mish-mash too. But, what wasn't, was our vision. shot in the back of my room when I did what everyone else seemed to do and live in a warehouse. Scene set, lets cary on. 


Ghosts, that was what we wanted. I grabbed a load of images off of Pinterest for Brit and I to peruse and we realised that it was the double exposures that we loved. I was too cheap at the time to buy Photoshop and didn't own a film camera so doing this the "sensible" way was out of the question, no, what we had to do was take two images in one press of the shutter button, How? with Flash. 


The first thing to do was light the first "exposure" Using my trusty Canon (Cannon?) speedlite off camera + chimera (soft-box) and through a roll of trace. I brought round as far as possible to get the most character and reduce the light on the black background (If the light were brought too far round the side, Brit's hair would cast too much of a shadow on her face, not fun) A 4ft x 4ft white polly sat opposite acting as fill to pick out a bit of detail in Brit's hair. this provided the sharp "sleeping beauty" part of the image. 


Exposure two was our ghost capture. In true horror story fashion I armed Brit with an LED flashlight which she held pointing down in to a hard silver bounce (kind of like tinfoil) this then shone back up giving that campfire feel but a bit softer. She then danced from side to side for 15 seconds which was the length of the exposure which left us with our blurry Brit. 


Brit has cooled it with her music career but is still going strong with her phenomenal illustrating - check it out here

Wonky Vegetables - How was this photo taken?


I love the french accent. If it wasn't for my friend Laureline's insistence on pronouncing the 'ugly' in 'ugly Vegetables' as 'hugly' (Bit Trump-esque I now realise, should I be worried?) We'd never have started calling these curvaceous carrots Wonky vegetables. It seemed to take off too which is nice. 


I wanted to take a step away from the top shot, day light lit photos we see all over our Instagram and having spent a lot of time in Amsterdam. When I was non compus mentus I'd always go to the Rijksmuseum and devour the Rembrandts in particular. I loved how he made the austere beautiful. Much of this I felt through the light (The technique used by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and other renaisance painters known as chiaroscuro or light-dark contrast provides an abundance of moodiness and sends chills down my spin) and it was this that I intended to recreate for our ugly vegetables. 


It was simple, break every rule, no habit, I knew about lighting. Gone was the fill and the backlight. Just a single source - camera left - and a lot of black everywhere. The image was exposed to the lightest tone, the white carrot with her legs crossed. No highlights to be seen just deep shadow holes of darkness.

Why can a food photographer not publish a letter by E.E. Cummings? 


Well, they can. 


A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feeling through words.
This may sound easy. It isn't.
A lot of people think or believe or know they feel - but that's thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling - not knowing or believing or thinking.
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you're a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself.
To be nobody-but-yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn't a poet can possibly imagine. Why?
Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time - and whenever we do it, we are not poets.
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you've written one line of one poem, you'll be very lucky indeed.
And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world - unless you're not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.
Does this sound dismal? It isn't.
It's the most wonderful life on earth.
Or so I feel.