Hi. I'm Sarah, a visual journalist currently based in Athens, OH, where I'm pursuing a masters degree in photojournalism at the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University. I am currently the Photojournalism Fellow for The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. My projected graduation date is Spring 2014.
I hold a BA in Visual Arts/Photography from Fordham University - Lincoln Center in New York City. I've also studied photography at Griffith University's Queensland College of Art, in Brisbane, Australia.
In the summer of 2013 I worked in the Dominican Republic as a Photographer Guide for Rustic Pathways, a youth travel company. While working for Rustic, I spent time in the sugar cane fields learning about bateys and the conditions of statelessness there, resulting in the ongoing project, Bittersweet Bateys.
Before moving to Athens for graduate school I lived in Chicago for three years, splitting my time between event photography and community photojournalism for Brown Line Media. I was actively involved with exhibitions and homelessness outreach at the Chicago Photography Center, where we taught photography as a tool of expression and empowerment to clients of a nearby shelter.
My early professional experiences include interning at Pace MacGill gallery (NYC), working as a professional photo lab and darkroom technician (Baltimore & NYC), executive assistant at ALM, a legal media publishing company (NYC), English professor at Guangzhou University in China, and volunteer with the micro-financing NGO, Fonkoze in Haiti. In one way or another, these misfit experiences have all contributed to my sensibilities as a visual storyteller, reinforcing a belief that adaptability is one thing we humans do exceptionally well.
Partly due to my own wanderlust nature and family origin, I'm particularly interested in telling visual stories around migration and sense of place: what motivates people to leave one home in search of another? How do they end up where they do? What social laws dictate the process of integrating into a new community? What are the roots of conflict between old and new neighbors? I've pursued these themes in several domestic and international projects, including The Ones Who Stayed, Bittersweet Bateys, and Resettling New Orleans, exploring the changing demographics of post-Katrina New Orleans.
In a rapidly globalizing, homogenizing world, my goal as a visual storyteller is to document the staggering diversity of human experience. I strongly believe in the power and ability of images to connect people through the realization and celebration of diversity.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Bernadette Tilotta, my infinitely nurturing mother]