Sarah Ann Loreth is a self-taught photographer residing in southern New Hampshire. Today, we talk to Sarah about her creative process and her switch from words to images.
What’s the one quote that always fires you up?
SAL: “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” Dalai Lama XIV
Do you have any particular habits that are a part of how you begin your creative process?
SAL: My creative process always begins with a few words scribbled in a notebook as I’m chasing that flicker of inspiration. Before I wanted to be a photographer, I wanted to be a writer, and I spent a lot of my time writing, and doing poetry and trying to come up with the best content that I can describe visually… it kind of turned into photography.
If I hear a word or a phrase that really sticks out in my mind, I tend to want to try to create that because it has the thought process and the inspiration; it gets the wheels turning. It’s kind of like doing the titles first, and then it goes from there. I’ll write down the phrase, and I’ll do a little bit of charting, try to find the mood – mood with the phrase – and a visual to go with it.
What do you do when you hit a wall during your creative process?
SAL: I take a break. It doesn’t benefit me to force creativity so I let it come and go as it pleases. I refer back to my notebook because I have hundreds and hundreds of phrases and little doodles all put down in there for dry periods when I’m not feeling creatively inspired, so I’ll always refer to that.
What’s your favorite photo you’ve ever captured and why?
SAL: It’s rare a photo turns out exactly as I had envisioned it, so usually my favorites are those.
This one was actually a collaboration with another photographer, and we were doing the… I think it was either the seven deadly sins or stages of grief or something. And, my idea for that was the envy. I really wanted something powerful, I wanted fire to represent the fiery, envy, jealousy that some people have, and that’s where this all came from.
If someone attempted to capture you in a single photo, like, the essence of you in a photo, what would be happening in it?
SAL: Honestly, I’d probably not be looking at the camera because I don’t like having my photo taken, and I like to stay a little bit mysterious, and a little bit more anonymous, so there is a particular photo that I took a few years ago of me in the redwoods, in a foggy scene, and I have my adventure backpack on, and it looked I was just walking down the road amongst these giant trees. And I think that’s my happy place, in nature. Just exploring.
What book would you recommend any creative person read?
SAL: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams.
I read the series while I was in high school, and not only is it hilarious, it’s just so unique to be able to create an entire universe just from your brain in that way, and just being able to create different languages and different species of aliens. It really got my inspiration going; to look outside of my own perspective, and understand that creativity is inside you, it’s just a matter of trying to reach it.
Dane Johnson was the former Editor of PHLEARN Magazine, where he helped creatives share their stories. Dane currently is the co-founder of Clementine Coffee Roasters and he accepts most assertions of his hipster-ness and millennialism without flinching.