Woman Crush Wednesday: Rachel Saad
Rachel Saad is a New York based cinematographer/photographer originally from New England. Her work spans gritty film stocks, crisp digital video, and VHS tape.
From the murky shores of Rhode Island, to the backstage door of strip clubs, on the streets of Venice, and back at New York’s Fashion Week, Rachel Saad captures the beauty of a mundane world.
Pharrah Kougias: Bodies of water are a frequent motif in your work. What is your intention with these images?
Rachel Saad: I think I’m just naturally drawn to them. Nobody’s ever said that to me, which is actually kind of funny. But it’s definitely true. I hate to be like “Oh, it’s rebirth,” but you go back and feel reborn each time.
PK: Where would you film your next project if you were able to drop everything and go?
RS: I kind of want to go to Texas. I’ve always really liked Richard Linklater’s stuff and I felt that there’s a vibe in his movies that is so different. I want to see the big open desert areas; to get out of the city. I haven’t really been to the American South. I feel like there’s some niche and interesting audiences down there and very different communities that I want to see. I want to shoot a rodeo on film.
PK: What advice would you give to other cinematographers/photographers who are just picking up a camera?
RS: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure for people to be making like perfect films, perfect images. You are going to make mistakes. When I shot film, that was the quickest way for me to learn how to be focused on everything: I have to make sure my exposures are right and I also need to make sure I’m paying attention to what the actual composition is. Try to learn on a 35mm camera first and then look at your mistakes, look at what you’re doing, and you will learn from there. Just do it. The best way to get experience shooting is just keep shooting; whatever you can do. Even if it’s not what you want to do in life. Say if you want to shoot fashion videos, but you get a job shooting a soap commercial, you should still do it because there’s something you’re going to learn there that you can bring to your fashion shoot.
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach a one-hour class on a subject, which would you choose?
Definitely some kind of cinematography, and shooting on film.
What is the last book or film that inspired you?
Honestly, I’ve been watching a lot of the Underworld series (laughs) right now, as weird as that sounds, and Hellraiser. I’ve been really into them. I’m getting back into darker stuff, a little more horror-inspired. Hereditary was one of my favorite movies that came out this year. I read a Manga called I Am Your Hero and it’s about the zombie apocalypse.
What is the most played song in your music library?
“1997 Diana” by Brockhampton.
How do you take your coffee?
I usually do a hazelnut iced coffee with soy milk or almond milk. When I’m at work, it’s two espressos.