It’s all about the face

A new photo blog by Derrick and News-Herald staff photographer Richard Sayer

Brian Rosen plays the Euphonium in the historic Franklin-based Silver Cornet Band. They are embarking on their 160th year.

Hello, this is my first blog post for Venango Extra, a product of The Derrick and News-Herald newspaper. In this blog I hope to share stories and at times insights into the process of gathering news, sports and feature photographs to help inform our readers and to show who we are as a people during this time in Northwest Pennsylvania.

Over time you will see certain themes I believe are important in my job. The ethics of how to photograph something and what to publish, the importance of engaging the reader with something more than just the surface visual components in attempt to find an image where you get a deeper sense and even a feeling of the event or subject and community.

I am a community photographer in a tradition of photographers like Bernard Coward and Robert Frank, of street photographers and documentary storytellers. One of my big influences early on in my career was the way Charles Kuralt handle story telling on CBS Sunday Morning and his On the Road pieces. Finding the heart of a community.


Annabelle Hughes and other children from Twin Creeks Head Start enjoy games at the Salvation Army during the Give Kids a Smile event where the children got free dental exams and enjoyed some activities and games.

The things I look for when approaching my subjects are facial expressions that emphasize a key moment in time that draws to understanding the action or thoughts of the subject, or the emphasis of the part of their lives in which we’re telling the story about. Something that draws your attention. I also look for body language and setting in order to layer as much information as I can into a photograph to help tell the story.

As I share this blog with you all, I hope you’ll see how in a series of photographs over time we can shape a deeper understanding of what makes a community tick, the good and the not-so-good all shape who we are.


Hayden Vanzandt was the recipient of a liver transplant when he was an infant. He hugs his mom Heather here in his grandparents home. He is now 3 years old.


(Richard Sayer – The Derrick and The News-Herald photographer)