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.
TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about? What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
SF: I have begun a special project with another photographer that is outside the box for both of us. I am very excited about it but feel it is in its infant stages, so it is too early to talk about.
I would like to look through my years of film work, organize it, digitize it and make sense of it. I also would like to keep working and growing as a photographer and find an audience.
TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…
SF: I like to swim, read, crochet, watch movies, and spend time with my husband, family and friends."