Sarah’s Words Part Two

In Interview on November 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Hello! How have you been? What’s going on with you these days?

Hello! I’ve been pretty busy here in Detroit these days. After all that traveling, I picked the place I liked the best and have been putting down roots. I bought a house a couple years ago and have a dog and am working on putting together a screen-printing collective with some friends, Ocelot Print Shop.

What are your photographing habits like lately, and what are you doing when you’re not snapping portraits of your friends or remnants of last night’s party? (In reference to your last interview)

I have been generally less prone to photography lately and more into secondary processes involving photos I’ve taken. This started with the set of postcards I made from the 50 states trip, and has evolved into creating stickers and screen prints and things like that, using my own images.

What was the last thing you photographed?

I went to an amazing art opening by a guy named Robert Sestok, a really influential and wonderful Detroit-based artist. I took a lot of pictures of the installation; instead of hanging anything on the gallery walls, he built up these vertical rafters and hung his work all over them, so it made a sort of 3-D painting environment to walk through. Very cool.

Latest series you dreamed up to capture?

Right now I’m trying to take a good, high-contrast photo-capture of a giant fawn shooting lasers out of its eyes into a crowd of tiny people, for a holiday card that will be a set put out by the print shop for the holidays.

What made you start trekking around the country and what do you think came from it? 

I found myself deeply discontent in my current state—both New York and state of being. I didn’t really set out consciously to go to all 50 states, the trip built momentum as I went along. As far as what came from it…that’s pretty immeasurable. I found my place in the world. I found out the reality of who I am when the temporal information of place is stripped away. I found some really good barbeque joints. I found that the United States is an amazing and diverse country.

What was the first state you visited that you hadn’t been to? 

Michigan, actually.

The last one you visited?

Iowa, on my way back to Michigan for good.

Now that you’ve been to every state, would you say it’s changed your view of the country? Or of where you currently live? 

Absolutely. I think I had a sort of ill-informed, snotty idea that places like Europe were so amazing because they had all these different cultures living close together. I didn’t really get that America is like that too. It’s easy to be fooled by the homogeny of chain stores and suburban sprawl, but every place has its own feel, and once you wander just a little ways off the interstate, you’ll find something amazing and unexpected.

As for Detroit, I think it was love at first sight, I can state emphatically that I checked out literally everywhere else before I settled here, and I settled here because it’s the best place for me.

Could you share a couple travel stories from your visits around the country–

Your favorite, or one that stands out to you?

It’s hard to break one story out as a favorite. There’s a lot of them in the book I made about my trip.

One related to something you learned? 

Maybe this is only true for me, but I think a lot of my identity used to be not so much who I was, but where I was. I am prone absorb the culture around me and reflect it. Moving so quickly from place to place removed all of that locational input, and made it clear what things were actually fundamental to who I am.

I learned that within me (and I think, within everyone) there is a deep sense of knowing the right thing to do, and honing my ability to listen to that voice, above and separate from my other, less-wise voices is a fruitful pursuit.

What do you tell yourself in moments of doubt?

Trust yourself. Keep moving forward. It’s more likely that the road you’re on is leading somewhere than a dead end.

When are you at your happiest?

I love walking the dog. I tend to view anything where I lose track of hours as something that makes me happy, and I can lose a whole day sewing or in my garden. I volunteer at a children’s library in my neighborhood, and it’s pretty hard to have a bad day when you get to deal with 15 enthusiastic 2nd graders.

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