October 27, 2021
NEW YORK VISIONS
Photography by Sandra Fine
Interview by Karen Ghostlaw Pomarico
Sandra Fine photographs all around herself, so therefore her work encompasses multiple genres. Sandra has a Masters of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where she was greatly influenced by her teachers and classical photography. Beginning her photography journey as a black and white film photographer, working in the darkroom was her favorite place to be. Her conversion to working solely in digital color was a slow evolution, but as she states..."here I am!"
“Street photography became a big part of my life when I started taking lengthy walks (at least 5 miles) around the city a few years ago. The walks became part of my daily routine and I loved exploring the city with my camera. The city itself has a rhythm and a buzz. It has a very complicated soundtrack that changes with the time of day and the weather. The visual vibrance is similar to the soundtrack. There is a constant visual discovery of reflections, architecture, people, vehicles and light in the street. During the quarantine I began my walks before dawn. I often felt that I was photographing silence and the remnants of people. The quiet in the streets had a sadness and beauty to it.”
IN CONVERSATION WITH SANDRA FINE
TPL: Sandra please tell us about yourself.
SF: I was born in New York City and have spent much of my adult life there. I am a fine art and street photographer who combines my love of walking and exploring New York City with my passion for photography. I studied photography and art at Pratt Institute and received an MFA in photography. I started in 35mm black and white film photography. I hand painted on the photos and transitioned into medium format work. I eventually embraced digital photography and found my way to color, which was a gradual evolution, because for so long, I loved the darkroom.
TPL: How did you become interested in photography? What does photography mean to you? Describe your style. Where or how do you find inspiration?
SF: I was always interested in art growing up. My father was the family photographer and I loved looking at family pictures and albums (I still do). I took my first photography class in college and used my father's old camera which was a Minolta A-2 in a beautiful leather case. It was completely manual. My passion for photography creeped into my consciousness which led me to study at Pratt.
Photography is sewn into my life. I go everywhere with my camera and shoot everything.
Inspiration is not hard to find. I find it all around me, on the streets, in nature, in books, in museums, in cinema and with my family.
TPL: What are some tips or advice you would give yourself if you started photography all over again?
SF: That is a hard question to answer. My journey with photography is intertwined with my journey through life, so it becomes a philosophical question for me.
TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?
SF: I have many. I will name the photographers that had a particular influence on me in my early years: Andre Kertesz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, Lisette Model, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt. The teacher who had the greatest influence on me was Phil Perkis.
I have also been influenced by painting, particularly in composition. I love Matisse for his compositions and the brilliance of his cut-outs which tell you so much about shape and color.
Photography is a kind of love affair with your subject.
TPL: When you are out shooting - how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
SF: Nothing is planned. I go out expecting something, but there are good days and not so good days.
TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? (What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?)
SF: I use a Sony A7R and a 35mm lens. I like the smallness and lightness of it.