Andrew Kyle Saucier is a writer and enthusiastic amateur photographer from Spring Hill, Tennessee. He writes and shoots for the work for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, covering East Tennessee.
How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?
When I moved to Tennessee from Kentucky, I had a job that had me behind the wheel 90% of the day. Every day I drove across the largely rural Middle Tennessee landscape through small towns and over rivers. Somehow, unconsciously, I began to view the world in compositions, even though I didn’t own a camera. Then one day it simply dawned on me that the world I moved through would make a great picture. So, I got my hands on a Nikon D3200, and without any technical skill or knowledge, I began pointing the lens at things, just shooting what I saw, existing in the landscape without interruption and documenting what stood out to me. I arrived at my current style in this way.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
I couldn’t speak to the relationship of artists in general to their surroundings, only mine. There are a lot of artists who seek to change the environment they are in, instead of being changed by it. I’m interested in the way the world is, not the way it was or the way it should be. Maybe because of this, I don’t much think of myself as an artist so much as a witness. I’m not really creating anything new, just documenting what already is. I feel that in this way, I have more in common with a historian than a painter.
How do you choose your subjects?
There is, of course, a certain amount of choosing that occurs when taking photographs. But it is mostly the road that chooses the subjects for me.
Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?
I travel a lot through the southeast, but mostly throughout East Tennessee. An influence that keeps coming back to me is actually literary: Cormac McCarthy’s East Tennessee novels, especially Suttree, which has to qualify as my favorite book of all time. Another is Rick Bragg’s family biographies, like All Over But the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man. The prose inside them is lyrical in its description of the landscapes and places, the same way a photograph can be.
Where do you go to draw inspiration?
Landmarks are special places to me, and I almost always shoot them, even if I don’t publish the photographs anywhere. Most of the photographs of mine that get published are for tourism and marketing, specifically, I work for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, covering East Tennessee. So you’ll imagine the landscapes and landmarks, such as the Smokies, Knoxville, etc., that I travel through and cover for work. A lot of my favorite shots are the ones that I take for fun, in between the landmarks. It’s as if the landmarks are guide-beacons by which my trip is informed, but it’s the trip, the road, itself that inspires me the most.
Are there any aspects of the Southern aesthetic that you embrace or ones you consciously avoid?
I’m not interested in avoiding certain Southern aesthetics in what I shoot, but I do make a conscious decision about what to publish. Specifically, I am personally greatly interested in the Civil War and Confederate remembrance, but it's rare that a photograph I take of that subject makes it onto social media or elsewhere. It comes down to image control. I don’t want folks to fight over my photographs. If it makes them think, debate, etc., that’s fine, even great. But that’s one subject that I don’t want to become branded with, unless a very specific project came up.
Do you feel creatively satisfied?
I just want to continue to get better. I have a lot of growing to do as a photographer. If I were satisfied, I’d probably stop shooting.
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
I am regularly engaged in writing about and photographing East Tennessee. A new article comes out weekly. You can see them all here:.