She’s the daughter of famous movie producer Brian Grazer (American Gangster, Inside Man, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind,) but these days Sage is earning recognition for her beautiful photographs and art exhibitions with her girlfriends Tracy Antonopoulos and Gia Coppola. Her photos fall along on a wide scale including Polaroids, portraits, still life, and some pulled from her own travels. Sage has appeared on Mark Hunter’s The CobraSnake and has had a feature on the Urban Outfitters Blog.
Question: How old are you and where are you from?
Sage: I’m 22 and I’m from Los Angeles.
Q: What was your major at NYU?
S: I major in Photography and Imaging at Tisch and minor in Psychology.
Q: What age did you first start getting into photography?
S: I always had an interest in photography but I didn’t start studying it until my sophomore year of college. I had originally planned to study film production but after my freshman year realized that if I’m going to be spending all of my time doing something, it might as well be the thing that I really love.
Q: Who or What are you inspirations?
S: My parents have inspired me a lot. My mom always encouraged me to follow my heart and my father showed me what can come of hard work and dedication.
Q: What kind or types of camera(s) do you use and how much would you say you edit your pictures?
S: It really depends on what the work is. I have a good slew of cameras, but most frequently I use one of four cameras: Hasselblad H1, Canon 5D Mark II, Leica R7, or Contax T3. In terms of editing the photos, depending on whether it’s a personal project for myself or art installation shots for a friend, I’ll edit accordingly. I generally retouch people, clear up their skin a little bit but nothing dramatic.
Q: You’ve done all types of photography including Polaroid’s, black and white, portraits, etc, but which is your favorite?
S: I’d say color photography is my favorite. I like to shoot medium format, 35mm, and digital. I prefer the aesthetic of film but digital is good for things with finicky lighting because you get that instant result which makes it easy to adjust your exposure etc. It’s also significantly less expensive and a much more hasty process.
Q: Tell us about your first show.
S: My first show was in New York at the National Arts Club in 2008. It was a group show with four other people that I helped to organize. I showed collection of ten photographs from over the year or so prior to the show. The photos ranged from Greece to Switzerland to Brooklyn to Malibu (my home town). The show went well, it had its fair share of mishaps but overall it was really fun and truly a great learning experience. I gathered a better understanding of how to actually make a show happen and all of the little details that must be attended to.
Q: How do you feel about fast editing programs such as Lightroom presets or Flickr’s Picnik?
S: I’m not familiar with Flickr’s Picnik and I don’t use Lightroom frequently. I prefer to work through Bridge and Photoshop. Once you become really familiar with a program, it becomes like a second language that you don’t even need to think about, you just do it. I find that it’s better to have a great understanding of one or two programs than to have a mediocre understanding of multiple programs.
Q: Anna Wintour once said “because of reality television, everyone imagines they can just be a fashion designer, photographer, or model. That’s not the way things go. Learn your craft.”
How do you feel about this quote and what do you think are the traits of a true photographer?
S: I agree with the quote. I do believe that you can have a natural talent for designing or photography, but I think that learning your craft is extremely important if it’s something that you want to pursue. You can have a vision of what you want, but you have to have the skills to execute it, otherwise it’s just a figment of your imagination. For photography and any other art form, you have to have a combination of natural talent and learned skill. You’re not born with the knowledge of how to use a camera or how to operate strobes.
[Lauren, Las Vegas]
Q: Any advice for aspiring photographers?
S: 1. Do it for yourself. You have to make the leap and believe in yourself because if you’re just doing some bullshit project for a class you don’t care about, you’re not going to turn out good work.
2. Persistence. If you shoot something and you don’t love the way it came out, shoot it again.
3. Study. I think that it’s important to have a knowledge of the history of photography and contemporary work.
Q: What are you listening to right now? Ciara, Cults, and The Box Tops
Reading? Aperture Magazine and The Journal
Watching? Law and Order: SVU
Shopping at? Whole Foods…I’m not a big shopper
Eating? Mexican corn, steak tacos, bean and cheese burrito mmmm
Q: You’ve taken pictures on both coasts and Europe and Asia. What has photography taught you about different cultures? What has photography showed you that you wouldn’t have seen w/o your camera?
S: I love to travel. Photography has spawned from my passion for travel and yet at the same time it has inspired it. Like many of the early photographers, I love to bring the image of a foreign land home to share with others. It’s the idea of sharing what you find to be important, interesting, or beautiful. And, you come home and develop your photos and often find things you didn’t even notice at the time of taking the photo.
Q: Your father is movie producer Brian Grazer. Have you ever shown any interest in film?
S: Like I said earlier, I first began at Tisch for Film and Television Production but it just wasn’t where my heart was. Photography is my true passion. I also really love the independence of photography; you can easily produce a photograph all by yourself but it would be dramatically more difficult to produce a film without the help of anyone else. It’s not that I don’t like to collaborate, but it’s the freedom of knowing that you can do it alone if you chose to.
Q: Camilla Belle, Joe Jonas, Sofia Coppola, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, and Kirsten Dunst have all attended one of your shows. What is it like to have this kind of support?
S: I feel very honored and lucky, but at the same time, the support that I really treasure is that of my family and friends.
Q: You grew up in Los Angeles, but attended NYU. What is the best and worst thing about each city? Where do you think you will end up settling down in the end?
S: I will always have a love for Los Angeles, my whole family is there and it’s where I grew up, but at this point in my life, I find it extremely difficult to live there. I love to go home for a week or two at a time to see everyone, but I feel so isolated and under stimulated there. In LA you have to drive everywhere and everything is so far apart, it’s hard for me to get motivated leave my home and neighborhood. New York is so much fun! I love living here, I never feel bored because there’s always a good handful of things that I could do here. Everything is so accessible; you’re surrounded by art and delicious food. In the end, I think I see myself settling down in LA, I want my children to grow up near their grandparents. I think that it’s natural to want to replicate parts of your childhood for your own children.
Q: Is photography long term for you or do you think you would like to venture into another career also?
S: I feel very passionate about photography and I believe that I will continue to create images for the rest of my life. I may not end up with a career in photo, but it will definitely be a long-term personal hobby for me. Outside of photography, my greatest interest is in the field of psychology.
Q: Any big summer plans?
S: No big summer plans this year. I’ve been working on a few ongoing projects and trying to travel as much as I can.
Q: So you’ve just graduated from New York University. Congratulations! What are you going to do now?
S: I still have another semester left, I fell behind after my transfer between departments at Tisch…so I’ll be soaking up the last bit of school I can get, savoring it!
To view more of Sage’s work, visit her website here