Nautical Expressions

Written by Jennifer H. McInerney

Photography by Kjeld Mahoney


Passing through the heart of Cohasset Village, it’s impossible to miss the three large-scale photographs that seem to float in the storefront windows at Sager Fine Art. Vivid blue hues of the sea and sky invite pedestrians to pause and reflect while enticing them to enter the sunlit showroom, where more nautical images are displayed.

“This is the size the camera is meant to capture,” says photographer Brian Sager, whose photographs are framed or printed directly onto aluminum backing and can measure up to 5 feet across. “You can really see the detail clearly. So much is lost when viewing images on a phone or computer screen.”

Situated on South Main Street, the gallery allows customers to view the art as it would appear in their own home or office. Sager’s wife, Carey, gestures to a sweeping seascape encompassing water, horizon and clouds, titled “Montauk and the Race.” She points to a ripple among the waves and follows the movement with her finger to reveal its source–a flying fish.

“This level of detail is why we put an emphasis on printing work at scale,” Carey explains. The ability for customers to get up close and personal with the photographs was one of the driving factors that inspired the couple to open Sager Fine Art in Cohasset one year ago.

The couple met and lived together on Nantucket for five years before deciding to move to the South Shore. After exploring several coastal New England towns, they found themselves drawn to Cohasset’s New England charm, history and proximity to the ocean. “We love the feel of Cohasset Village,” says Carey. “It reminds us of Nantucket.”

One day, while enjoying coffee at Seabird Coffee & Co, the Sagers happened to notice that the retail space next door was available. “We couldn’t believe this place was just sitting here, empty,” Carey recalls. Built into the rocky hillside, the historic building features south-facing front windows, a pair of stone fireplaces, and centuries-old uneven floors, ceilings and windows that required the Sagers to come up with some creative solutions to ensure photographs hung levelly.

Water, Water Everywhere

Over the past decade, Brian Sager has developed a body of work that showcases a range of nautical scenes, from picturesque coastlines to vibrant offshore compositions. Many of his images feature sailboats, photographed in the waters off Nantucket and in the Caribbean.

“Nearly all of my photographs have water in them,” Brian says with a laugh.

Growing up in Marion, he was an avid sailor and water polo player. In recent years, he’s had the good fortune to join the crew aboard classic wooden sailboats and yachts, ferrying the vessels from their summertime ports in New England to safer harbors in the Caribbean for the winter. During these seven-to-10-day excursions, he’s been able to capture many of the unique and unparalleled offshore images in his portfolio.

“I love the whole experience, from the adventure aspect to the beauty of being out on the open sea when it’s perfectly calm,” says Brian. “It feels like a different world.”

In all, Brian Sager has traveled 10,000 miles aboard sailboats bound for the Caribbean and has needed rescuing by the Coast Guard only once. In November 2013, he was sailing aboard a 65-foot sailboat when rough conditions (30-foot waves and 40-mile-per-hour winds) caused the rudder to break off. He and the crew drifted for about 18 hours, until the Coast Guard was able to reach them.

In addition to his fine art photography, Brian works as a commercial wedding photographer during peak season and is also a photographer for “N Magazine.” In 2020, he received the Artist Association of Nantucket’s (AAN) Photography Award and his work has also been exhibited at AAN and the Thomas Macy Gallery on Nantucket. More recently, he had photographs commissioned by the Nantucket Cottage Hospital and the Nantucket Community Music Center.


New Initiatives on the Horizon

The past year has been an exceptional and exciting one for the Sagers, both professionally and personally. In addition to moving and opening their own business, the young couple also welcomed their first child. With their business continuing to grow and gain momentum, the Sagers recently announced two new summer initiatives: a South Shore-focused photography series and a collaboration with local artists.

Inspired by client requests and his love for being out on the water, Brian has been preparing a “Cohasset by Kayak,” photo series. “Exploring by kayak is so quiet and you’re not disturbing the scene,” he says. “A kayak provides an intimate way to interact with the region’s ocean, harbors, and tidal estuaries at different tidal stages.” Original limited-edition images captured from Minot to Cohasset Harbor will be available in the showroom and in the online gallery, beginning this summer.

The Sagers are also launching The Artist Collective, an artist-in-residence collaboration showcasing select artists from the South Shore. The first person to be featured is oil painter Nikki Storer, who is known for her depictions of coastal seascapes and beach scenes in Cohasset and neighboring communities. “We are thoughtfully partnering with artists whose work and vision align with ours,” says Brian. “We think Nikki will be a great fit.”


With the arrival of summer, the Sagers are excited to welcome more new visitors to the gallery and Sager will be offering a variety of custom photo sizes and finishes (glossy or matte, printed on paper or metal) to suit buyer preferences. “We want people to be ecstatic with their purchase and enjoy the image for a long time to come.”


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