Sarah Loveland remembers her first camera well. ‘It was a little Agfa 110 film camera with flash cubes that went round the top,’ she laughs. ‘I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures, but at the age of 10 I wasn’t very good.’ She didn’t fully embrace photography until she was in her twenties and did a City and Guilds course, and converted a bedroom into a dark room. ‘There were prints hanging on a line above the bath,’ she recalls.
Sarah grew up on the Isle of Wight and lived on the south coast of England for many years. In 2011 she and her husband made the decision to move to the North East after falling in love with its countryside, towns and coast, which Sarah says inspire her photography. ‘It’s such a beautiful part of the world,’ she says. She and her husband now live on the outskirts of Consett, County Durham, with three dogs and two tortoises.
At the age of 41, Sarah has been a self-employed photographer for 10 years. Her professional photography career began with a job photographing newborn babies in their homes (she describes being invited into family homes to capture special moments as ‘a privilege’). She then worked in a contemporary studio before striking out on her own.
Sarah shoots using both digital and film cameras. One of her favourite pieces of her own work is a shot of fishing nets on Holy Island, which was taken using black and white film. ‘All my prints are digitally printed on archival fine-art water colour paper,’ she says. ‘It makes the colours so much richer, and the contrasts of the black and white have so much feel to them.’ Much of her photographic art concentrates on close-ups and detail. ‘I love capturing detail,’ she explains. ‘It’s in the detail that you see beauty in everyday things.’
As well as producing her own work, she also teaches photography to others. It started when she was asked to give a talk at a craft workshop. She taught people how to take better pictures and it went so well that she decided to do it again. ‘We’re living in an age when everyone is taking pictures all the time, whether it’s for business or fun, but I came across so many people who were frustrated that their pictures weren’t as good as they wanted them to be,’ she says.
She’s now offering lessons from her new gallery in Hexham. Customers can drop in and buy her work, buy her famous Photo Lessons in a Box, or book some training, including one-to-one sessions, workshops, group lessons at your home, photography walks, and sessions for children and their parents.
‘I love teaching,’ says Sarah. ‘There is nothing like seeing a client’s confidence grow. Usually within a lesson there is at least one moment where a client will take a picture and surprise themselves. They go away being able to take pictures they never thought they could take which makes my day.’
- ‘Always be aware of what is in the background. Get into the habit of scanning the picture to make sure that there are no ugly bins or washing in the way.’
- ‘Try and imagine how you want the picture to look before you press the button. What do you want that picture to say to whoever will see it?’
- ‘If you are photographing the horizon, the sea or anything else with water in it, try and keep the camera level,’ says Sarah. ‘Otherwise, it looks like the water will run out of the shot.’
- ‘Be aware of where the light is coming from. Try not to shoot towards the light.’
- ‘Keep things simple. The more simple and uncluttered the picture, the stronger the image will be.’
Sarah Loveland’s Gallery
16b St Mary’s Chare, Hexham NE46 1NQ
Open Tuesday to Thursday 11am-4pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm, though lessons are available at other times by arrangement.