Get To Know: Sara Lando

Updated on Sunday, April 29 2018

In the lead up to GPP Photo Week 2017, we'll be sitting down with the instructors to ask them the burning questions we've all been dying to know.

First up is Sara Lando. Sara is an Italian photographer specialising in portrait, beauty and commercial photography… and playing with cardboard. Her work combines exquisite lighting, extreme creativity and experimental techniques, blurring the lines between photography and fine art. Whether she’s crafting her conceptual images into dioramas or creating memorable portraits using a simple backdrop and classic lighting, Sara’s strength is in photographing people. 

Gulf Photo Plus: What's in your bag?
Sara Lando: My bag (or bags) can be very different depending on the assignment, but this is what is ready to go at all times:

  •  Canon 5D MKIII + 24-70 + 100 macro
  • Fuji XT1 + 56 + 10-24
  • Batteries
  • Cards
  • 2 Phottix Mitros + Odin II
  • Lightstand+ swivel + umbrella + snoot + elastic bands + bungee cords
  • Manfrotto Super clamp
  • Black gaffer tape
  • White plastic bag
  • Protein bars and almonds
  • First aid kit
  • A book

GPP: Besides your camera and lens, what's the one piece of equipment you couldn't live without?
My iPhone. I use it to have the models sign releases, to shoot location scouting photos, to organize stuff on Evernote, to find the location using Google Maps when I’m in a new city, to create moodboards on Pinterest, to remotely control my Fuji for self portraits or transfer photos via the camera’s wifi so that I can send them to a client if they’re not on set (I can also print them using the Instax printer), I can check how the sun is going to move during the day via Sun Seeker, I can access my google docs call sheets, I happened to light paint subjects with the flashlight more than once and sometimes I even use it as a phone. Other than that, gaffer tape. 

GPP: What is your all-time favorite photograph and why?
I don’t have one. I have photos I like and photos that are important to me and it’s a bunch of images.

There’s the first image I took that made me realize I loved photography, the first image I was paid to shoot, there are portraits of loved ones who are not here any more. 

This image has probably been pivotal for me: it’s an iPhone portrait of my mother that we shot while she was doing radiotherapy that was printed on acetate and rephotographed (again, with an iPhone). I needed an image to experiment with for this new technique and this happened to be the last one I had shot that day. In the last couple of years I’ve been obsessing around the idea of how photography can relate do memory and identity and I’ve been playing around a lot with degradation through the manipulation of physical prints for several passages. I am aware this probably makes sense to me only, at this point, but before being a job, before being an expensive hobby, photography to me is a tool to understand what’s happening inside my head and often through my camera I am able to process things that were inaccessible for me before. 

GPP: How do you stay updated with what's happening in the photography industry?
  I follow a bunch of interesting photographers on Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat and a bunch of museum, magazines and curators too. I try to make sure I follow people and industries that are out of my filter bubble, because I noticed that I become very boring and uninspired if all I care about is the photography industry. 

I very carefully avoid all the “empty calories” websites/blogs that pump out 50 clickbait articles a day: if something interesting happens on Petapixel I usually find out about it from somewhere else and I don’t like spending my day consuming other people’s work rather than producing my own. 

GPP: Who would you most want to take your portrait?
 Either Peter Lindbergh or Diane Arbus’s ghost.

GPP: What are you most looking forward to at GPP Photo Week 2017?
 Meeting my new students and hugging returning ones. 


Sara will be leading a series of workshops at GPP Photo Week 2017: