Tell us about yourself.
My name is Sacha Perlstein and I’m a Brooklyn-based photographer specializing in fashion, beauty, and portraiture. I’m also trans and use they/them pronouns. I’ve been in the industry for about 10 years.
Could you speak about your style and process?
My style is uncomplicated and unfussy, but also authentic and clean. I’m much more interested in shooting and interacting with the subjects than super technical lighting or specific gear or what not. If a shoot calls for technicality, then of course that’s the name of the game, but my ideal shoot environment is using and manipulating natural light. I think I’ve developed a pretty good eye for what’s going to look good whereas a result.
My process is similar… when I was starting out, I used to plan out every single detail of what I wanted to shoot, but now that I’m a little more seasoned I prefer to create my photographs more organically. I’ve also learned to harness my idiosyncrasies (some would call this social awkwardness) and put them to good use to make subjects feel more at ease. Starting my career photographing a lot of “real people” allowed me to practice making people comfortable who might not necessarily know what to do in front of a camera.
How did you get your start?
After I graduated from college, I was deciding between whether to go to law school or become a photographer. I was emailing tons of people off Craigslist and luckily the first person to respond to me was an amazing photographer who I ended up interning with and then assisting for. Eventually I transitioned to shooting after spending a few years assisting and teching at the in-house studio at Hearst Magazines. I built up a decent portfolio and the rest is history!
How has your work evolved over time?
The evolution of my work has closely corresponded with my gender identity in an interesting way - when I first started shooting, I used to be really shy and was scared of giving direction to models and subjects. As I came into my gender identity as a transmasculine person and started finally feeling more at home in my body, I also discovered a sense of agency that's allowed me to be more comfortable directing on set. It’s been a huge game changer to my work because now I can really execute whatever the vision is.
Tell us about a recent project.
My best friend had top surgery almost exactly a year ago and graciously allowed me to document the whole process. I was with them from the consultation to the surgery and then have photographed their progress and healing journey since then. It’s been a powerful project to take on as I think it shows the importance and life changing nature of gender affirming surgery that not many people get to witness.