The Intrigue of Passageways
Artist Profile: Sarka-Trager
A door, archway or window can signify so much. Where does it lead? What can you glimpse through it?
What if you dare to open the door and stride through it with confidence?
Sarka Holeckova and Richard Trager used to work in corporate America in the Bay Area. She specialized in marketing, he in sales for a graphic software company. Creatives at heart, they met when the tech bubble burst.
“Sarka and I both joined the San Francisco Art Program to test the waters in photography during the dot com blowout,” said Rich. “We quickly developed a friendship rooted by our passion for photography and travel.”
Rich quickly saw the potential in their combined talents. “I would tell her we could start a business traveling the world and selling our photographs, and I think she initially thought I was crazy.”
Crazy or not, it’s the doorway the now married couple chose.
Sarka and Rich have spent the past few years capturing architectural and other images in locales like Cuba, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, Spain and Morocco.
“When we first started our goal was to shoot and travel as much as possible,” said Rich. “Create a lifestyle that worked best for us and centered around our core values.”
How is it working as an artist-couple?
“Early on we decided to work as a team and not have to worry about one person selling more than another,” said Rich. “I believe this team attitude helped us develop a style together. If she gets a great shot, it’s a great shot for Sarka-Trager and vice-versa.”
I asked about the compelling color and texture in their photographs.
“We both really like warm bold colors especially if things are decayed or have a weathered look,” said Rich. “We prefer to shoot brighter colors but will shoot softer muter colors if the subject matter is right and the overall shot is powerful.”
Sarka and Rich have been working to perfect well-lit shots. They’ve learned the importance of patience and planning. “Now we often scout out shots and then patiently wait for the right light,” said Rich.
“When we first started, we would split up for an hour and just shoot what was given to us and move on,” said Rich. “Now we will talk about the shot and we realize it’s better to get one powerful shot than to get a bunch of average shots.”
The self-taught photographers feel their unconventional training helped them to create unusual photographs. But they also pay attention to other artists’ work.
“We both are big fans of Lisa Kristine and Steve McCurry,” said Rich. “They are both masters at travel photography and bright colors. I am also influenced by Steven Wilkes and his Ellis Island book, Andy Wharhol for his screen printing, and Hockney for his paintings.”
“We like to travel to places where the people, buildings and landscape are vastly different from our own….Our 2005 trip to Prague was probably the defining trip for developing our Passageways series.”
“We started to realize the similarities between our life as photographers and the subject matter we were shooting,” said Rich. “Doors, Windows, alleys, stairwells and other passageways symbolize the intrigue, uncertainty, and optimism of life’s journey.”
“Life is full of moments where one door is closing and another opening.”
Sarka-Trager’s work can be seen throughout the year at various art shows (like the San Francisco art fair outside the Farmer’s Market where I met Rich). Photographs can also be purchased online at their Web site, www.sarka-trager.com.