Sara Erasmo’s photography style is rooted in her intuition and love for discovery. She talks to Vogue Philippines about her creative process.
More than a simple click of a shutter, Sara Erasmo’s work offers something much more visceral and engaging. The still-life and mixed-media photographer creates dreamlike landscapes which invite viewers to lose themselves in her world.
For the April issue of Vogue Philippines, Erasmo’s beauty editorial Moonstruck interpreted the idea of crystals under the moonlight. Her photographs found new forms through abstract collages and geometric shapes that infer the subject tangential to the model.
“Every project, even the ones I’ve dreamt of for a long time, comes with its own set of challenges,” she tells Vogue Philippines. “The practice of photography humbles me in that way, and I think that’s one of the reasons I keep going. I know that there will always be something for me to learn. Besides that, I just really enjoy the medium. I love being in the flow of a shoot and losing sense of time.”
The photographer describes her creative process as more intuitive than anything. She finds joy in the process of learning and discovering—a grounding practice. “I try not to overthink whenever I have a new project,” Erasmo says.
Those familiar with her work will also have recognized her penchant for blossoms and an exploratory perspective on their forms that have one recalling Irving Penn’s seminal series. “Flowers give life to my work. They are the main character,” she describes. “They are able to express so much with just the way they bend and the way the light hits their petals. They’re able to bring emotion to my work without me having to show a face.”
Though today flowers have found themselves at the center of her lens, Erasmo says it wasn’t always this way. “The ironic thing is I used to not get wanting to get flowers on special occasions. I didn’t think much of them,” she admits. That all shifted during the pandemic when afternoon walks in her neighborhood shed new light on what she calls “nature’s canvas.”
Erasmo tells Vogue Philippines that rather than narrative-driven work, emotion is at the center of her craft. “What I’m always after is a certain feeling or emotion. And I may not always know what that feeling is before I start,” she introspects.
“These last few years I’ve turned my camera more towards myself and still life because I feel more comfortable showing more of my own life or telling my own story. I feel weird about the power dynamic of being the one who holds the camera,” the photographer reflects. “I wonder if I’ll get over that, actually. But for now, I’ve really enjoyed being introspective with my work and giving everyone a glimpse of what goes on in my head.”
As the saying that art reflects nature, life, or vice versa goes, Erasmo says, “Right now, I’m trying to respect the seasons of my creativity the same way nature goes through its seasons. It’s something I struggle with to this day, no matter how many times I go through it.”
Through the waxing and waning of creative seasons, this thought urges artists to think intentionally about their process and to embrace moments of peace in between.
“Moving forward, I hope to embrace these moments with maturity and grace,” she concludes. “At the end of the day, I am not an image-making machine. I’m human. It may not seem like it right now, but these quiet, restful days also equal growth.”