Sabine Vollmer von Falken

Sabine Vollmer von Falken creates lyrical and personal statements about people and places. Sabine's photographs reveal the essential and often hidden emotional core of her subjects. With professional recognition as a commercial and fine art photographer, Sabine has earned a broad client base throughout the East Coast and Europe. Her images have been widely published.



Stockbridge Photographer Combines Art and Business


Sabine Vollmer von Falken operates studio and gallery for over 20 years

Written by: Shelly Jarenski 

For the past 23 years, Sabine Vollmer von Falken has owned and operated the Sabine Vollmer von Falken Studios and Gallery in Glendale, Massachusetts. With photographic interests ranging from architectural studies, to portraits, to editorial assignments, she has created a successful business out of an artistic pursuit.


Vollmer von Falken first became interested in photography when she was growing up in Germany in the 1950's. "At first, photography was a way of playing," she says. "My father let me use his camera to take photographs just around the house."


When it came time for Vollmer von Falken to decide on a career, photography was in the back of her mind, but it was not her first choice. At first, she began studying as an interior architect, then she changed her pursuit to silver smithing. "Neither one of them was quite right," said Vollmer von Falken. She tried photography, and felt right immediately. "I would have more contact with people. I wanted to find out more about human nature," she said.


Vollmer von Falken combined art and business immediately when she began her studies. She said that historical photographer Julia Margaret Cameron influenced her greatly in her work, and she studied in the style of Yusof Karsh. After three years of school that earned her a degree in photography, she took an apprenticeship in photography to sharpen her skills. After graduation, she immediately found work in an advertising agency, and later worked as a theater photographer in Berlin.


After having children, however, Vollmer von Falken decided to devote her time to her family. She practiced photography casually, taking photographs for friends and of her family. But the medium remained close to her heart. "Wherever I was I had a darkroom," she said.


Vollmer von Falken then came to the United States, where she began her first job since having her children. As a German teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School in Great Barrington, Vollmer von Falken was also responsible for the school's publicity. This training would prove crucial when trying to start her own business.


When Vollmer von Falken decided to open her own studio, she took a course at Berkshire Enterprises in Pittsfield, an organization that helps people start their own businesses. Vollmer von Falken said that her work there with the late Al Robertson was instrumental in helping her get her business off the ground. "I met other people who were trying to start businesses. Everything sounds very scary at the time; only the brave succeed."


Vollmer von Falken began by doing portraits for people, which often led to assembling artists' portfolios. For example, one of Vollmer von Falken's original clients, who came to have her pictures taken when she was a young girl, is now a teenager considering a career in modeling. She came to Vollmer von Falken to have photos taken that she sent to agencies. Vollmer von Falken then began photographing weddings. "At Berkshire Enterprises, they advised studying the market and weddings are something the Berkshires are known for," she said.


Vollmer von Falken also found business by doing her own public relations work. Drawing on her experiences from the Rudolf Steiner School, she created postcards featuring her work, developed a mailing list of employers and took samples of her work around to area businesses. "Sometimes, I had to make my own assignments in order to show something. In photography, you can't just write a letter."


Recently, Vollmer von Falken's business has grown again. Her daughter Lisa, who studied photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, has joined her mother as a partner. Lisa has introduced digital photography and the computer to the studio. "It's a very good combination," said Vollmer von Falken.


Vollmer von Falken still likes to challenge herself as an artist while working as a professional. She has joined a local group called Artists Along the Housatonic River, who hold open studios to display their creative work. Vollmer von Falken also participates in shows at the Interlaken School of Art and at Tokonoma Gallery. "If I do not have an assignment, I do my artistic work. I challenge myself by having at least one show every year." 









Vollmer von Falken's business continues to flourish in the Berkshire Hills. She was accepted for membership in the American Society of Media Photographers. In between assignments and shows, she continues to offer private photo workshops for individuals and artists, as well as selling her original black-and-white pieces. She is also working on her own book, a translated version of a German fairy tale for children.


SVF Studios and Gallery are open by appointment


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