The Photographer: Faye Saechao
What inspires you?
A little sensitivity never killed anyone. I’ve always had a melancholic personality - a very observant one as well. Having refugee-immigrant parents (with PTSD that came from their escape from a war-torn country), I grew up sheltered compared to your average American kid. I would spend my days indoor, curiously observing my grandmother sew traditional colorful embroidery onto black linen, droolingly assist my mom in the kitchen cutting exotic vegetables to be cooked in exotic spices, having perked ears listening to oral tales passed down through generations, or quietly sitting by the window observing the world outside. There was a large tree that hung over. The leaves had a light green color to them, and when the sun was high and bright, they would glow. There were fast cars that would bounce when they hit the street potholes in our corner of the ghetto. The strangers walking by were even more interesting. They always had a series of unique expressions on their faces and passed by at different speeds. Where were they off to and will I ever see them again? I especially enjoyed the birds that landed on the trees that lined the sidewalks, or on the electrical wires high above. They chirped and sang beautiful songs often. What do they see from up there that made them vocalize in such happiness? When I take photos, I’m always inspired by the slow and sweet moments - candid and emotionally evoking, yet curious. The moment between someone striking a pose to them transitioning to another pose. I try my best to look between the lines because those are the moments when people aren’t expected to be someone they’re not. I love being amongst crowds of people who have a sense of purpose at the moment, whether that be at an event or when I'm traveling. I also love being able to help bring out someone's personality and fierceness in portraits, and this is where my sensitivity to energy has been the most beneficial.
How did you get into photography?
I don't want to get too far into it but it's one of those bittersweet heartbreak stories where you're young and stupid, you meet a guy and you're smitten, and think you're going to be together forever but then...not. He was a photographer and I would help with him with photoshoots, and play around with his camera. He self-destructed and I walked out with much emotions that needed a creative outlet. There is always a silver lining to these stories, girls! I'm self-taught and don't care for the technicalities and jargon that doesn't apply to how I want to shoot. The camera is a tool, just like a hammer, I choose to use it to build something beautiful than to destroy by focusing too much on the strength of the tool itself. I'm learning and growing everyday as I continue my photography journey.
What is your favorite lens?
My ultimate favorite lens is my prime 50mm lens. I enjoy traveling but do not enjoy extra baggage weight. The lens is lightweight, easily packable, discrete when sneaking a photo of someone, and is less likely to bang against something when I’m exploring the streets of a new city. I understand the lens can be limiting as there is no zoom capability to capture from a far distance nor is it wide enough to grab a full scene. I enjoy the limitations it brings, and because it’s set to such an intimate depth, it gives me the chance to make conversation with someone I'm candidly shooting, as well as focus on just the moments in front of me.
What kind of photography are you into right now?
I have done a lot of portraiture and events. Right now, I’m re-focusing back to candid photography. This is naturally more of my style. It involves carrying my camera with me everywhere I go because there’s a story to every moment and I don’t want to miss out on them. This also means my friends and family will make it into half of the photos whether they like it or not. Apologies in advance <3. I want my photographs to be an experience - not just for me but for viewers. It’s also always been a dream of mines since I’ve picked up a camera to become a photojournalist. How exciting that must be!
What should someone expect when booking with you?
I get more pleasure taking the photos than you do receiving them. It’s always a treat for me to shoot anything because I get passionate about it. This makes my prices really affordable, especially compared to all the fancy, expensive-equipment yielding photographers in the Bay Area! Besides a very brief contract process (I hate red tape, it ruins my creativity), we work to decide on a date, the best location for the “look” you’re going for, and I may ask some questions about your interests; even also what outfit you plan to wear. This all helps inform how I should capture during the shoot. I do not offer prints but can refer you to my favorite vendors. Your photos will be delivered to you in two ways: 1) Watermarked and uploaded onto an online album to share with friends and family, and 2) options for high resolution download on a USB or through DropBox.
If you're interested in booking with me, feel free to shoot me a text or call at (510) 837-7998. I look forward to being a part of your photo adventures and helping you capture those moments that you can remember forever.