Philip Sayer’s empathetic camera consistently gets underneath the surface, to the core of his subject matter, whether it be the genius-loci of particular landscapes or the world of his sitters in his wide-ranging portraiture. Sayer’s natural sympathy gives us an insight into each artist’s imagination, his portraits as much about the tools and apparatus, the atmosphere and clutter of the studio, as the subject's face and hands. Sayer’s broader vision - he seems to be able to photograph more or less anything enviably well - informs the specifics of his portraits, so that we often learn as much about the spirit, the environment of workplace as the spirit of the creative mind. There is a crisp formatting about his pictures, a clarity of composition, of light and shadow, but it is overridingly Sayer’s ability to tune into the individual texture of each artist and workshop that marks him out.
Sayer has been a freelance photographer since 1969, having been apprenticed to Maurice Broomfield. As well as portraiture, his work has included photojournalism, interiors and architectural subjects. He is a founding member of Blueprint magazine.