They say it takes over a decade to master a craft, but Xavier Saer is a marvel that is an exception to the rule. In just two short years, the South African photographer has risen from a novice without a camera to a prominent name garnering respect in the field, one that’s shot some of the world’s biggest celebrities and singers, done numerous magazine covers, and has been featured on several international television programs. A picture says a thousand words, but for Saer, a photo tells an entire story.
“A memorable picture can bring out strong emotions of compassion, joy, love, disgust, or even hate,” he explains. “A great image is a result of collaborative work with your team, i.e. stylists and make-up artists and assistants. You only have a second to catch a fleeting moment, capturing the soul and essence of the subject.”
The Peruvian-born wunderkind started his career by studying classical photography with analog cameras and dark rooms, but never exercised his passion for the art as his musical career kept him in the studio and on stage. Understanding the close relationship between beauty and fashion, in just a short amount of time he’s established the only exclusive male model boutique agency in South Africa, Solo Models. He was hand-picked by Jennifer Rush for her 2015 World Tour where his images were used worldwide, and he’s worked with top celebrities like the late Simba Mhere (he took his last photos), Leanne Manas, Shashi Naidoo, Leanne Kistan-Dlamini, Khuli Chana and iFani, and has done brand campaigns for Land Rover, SAA, Inanda Club, The One and Only, The Fairlawns Hotel, and countless others. Recently he was flown to Ghana to shoot covers for SAA’s Sawubona magazine and Destiny, as well as shoot for TV shows for Top Billing and Expresso.
While Saer’s rapid rise to success may seem like luck to an outsider, he has indeed paid his creative dues over the years. As a musical artist he’s released five studio albums, and he’s also an internationally published author. Now he’s pursuing his long held passion of photography full time.
“There’s nothing exceptionally unique in photography nowadays. Too many people are doing similar things. Cameras and laptops have made photography available anywhere. What counts now is heart. I know too many photographers who are extremely technical and yes, their work is technically superb, but their images lack something… I’d call it soul."