Rising Somerset High School Senior Selected as MMF Featured Photographer

By Lucy McArthur
Hana Saich was in fifth grade when she attended her first concert with her mother.
“Funny how it all started with music,” she said. “It was a Melanie Martinez concert, and the environment inspired me from that night on to try and capture images of all the beautiful things that stem from people coming together.”

That concert was just the beginning of what has blossomed into Saich’s deep love for photographing fleeting moments of beauty, preserving them in image to remind us of art’s indelible imprint on the human experience. Saich’s photographs are at once genuine, unfiltered, unposed and pure, especially those moments that express that intangible element of magic that comes to life when people gather to share an appreciation for music, or, for that matter, any other form of art. Saich will capture moments like these and more as the Master Musicians Festival 2023 featured photographer.

Photographs by Hana Saich. Click on an image to enlarge.

Saich interned under Meredith Frye, the MMF 2022 featured photographer, during last year’s festival in Somerset. Recalling this experience, she explained her approach to the photos she took.

“I want to convey a message behind the images I captured,” Saich said. “I wish to spread certain themes of humanity that we often lose sight of … the simple, little things, like how beautiful it can be to see people from all over come together as one to share a deep love for an artform. What could be more beautiful than that?”

From fifth grade all the way to being a rising senior at Somerset High School, Saich has continued to experiment with her camera. Alongside her multitude of ambitious extracurricular activities including DECA, National Honors Society, Beta Club, Future Problem Solving, Y-Club, and SHS Musical Productions, her pursuit of photography has remained at the forefront of her love for creativity and expression.

“My vision for photography is to capture the genuineness and sense of fellowship in images,” she said.
Saich plans to attend college and double major in environmental science and business, and minor in fine arts or photography. Not surprisingly, her dream is to pursue a career that leads to directing in the world of cinematography, a career path that values the importance of vision, expression, and a love for the arts.
“My mom is a big inspiration,” Saich said. “She is so artistic and creative and has been a role model in my life since before I can remember. She encouraged me to pursue the arts, and urged me to pick up a paintbrush, and later that paintbrush morphed into a camera.”

Saich also has a vision for the upcoming Master Musicians Festival, scheduled for July 14-15 on Festival Field at Somerset Community College: “Pictures don’t have sound, so as a photographer, I get to bring the art out of the picture through the subject’s expression. Somerset is such a unique town and plays host to the one and only Master Musicians Festival. There are few things that are so magical that they cannot be defined through words, and the experience at MMF is one of those things, so my vision is to capture those moments that cannot be verbalized.”

Saich is proud of her hometown and the sense of community and fellowship that exudes from it. MMF embodies both of those ideas, she said.

“My dad is from Boston, and I have family all over the states,” Saich said. “I get made fun of quite a lot for either my accent or the fact I am from Kentucky, but the truth is there is nowhere else I’d rather come from. … I am so in love with where I am from, and even from a small town, we have the power to make such a profound impact through MMF. And I am so excited and honored to capture the sense of community that comes from our small town of Somerset.”

Although she is just 17, Saich intends to utilize her platform as the MMF 2023 featured photographer by capturing images that encompass all of the magic that is MMF, helping to fulfill her mission to inspire a broader, deeper love for the arts in our region and state, and to promote the fellowship and community that emanates from Somerset, Kentucky, the birthplace of one of the region’s most popular and long-running music festivals.

MMF President and Media Director Julie Nelson Harris said that is exactly why she selected Saich for this coveted spot.

“Being the mother of a classmate of Hana’s, I’ve watched her photography talents evolve as she has grown up,” Harris said. “She most certainly has a gift. Because this is the 30th anniversary of MMF, our board of directors has made a concerted effort to not only celebrate the festival’s past, but to look toward its future. We want to ensure this festival is in good hands for the next generation. Our initiative to give weekend passes to all graduating high school seniors is one important part of expanding our audience. But as we looked for who our next featured photographer will be, we were excited by the prospect of entrusting a high school student to record our event in photos, and I knew Hana would do an incredible job. We’re thrilled she accepted the responsibility, and we can’t wait to see her in her element on festival weekend.”

Saich knows that music connects people, that it creates a formative experience that, while fleeting, is never forgotten.

“It’s funny how it all started with music, and now I get to do this – I am so lucky to be the one who gets a shot at capturing all of the wonders that come from the Master Musicians Festival,” Saich said.

And that is exactly what she will do.

Held annually in July and celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023, the Master Musicians Festival is south central Kentucky’s premier two-day music festival. MMF will bring a wide variety of multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-racial music to three stages July 14-15, 2023, on Somerset Community College’s Festival Field. MMF is led by a non-profit, all-volunteer board of directors made up of artists, educators, business leaders, and other community-minded residents dedicated to bringing musical excellence to rural Kentucky at an affordable price. For more information or to purchase tickets for the 30th anniversary festival sponsored by the City of Somerset, visit mastermusiciansfestival.org.