Escape to the Horizon — an Interview with Sarah Blard

It's daily life that amazes and inspires Sarah Blard in her magical photography. The French photographer mixes both analogue and digital into her oeuvre, showing both the dramatic, and light-hearted aspects of life by playing with contrasts of darkness and light. The atmospheric landscapes and scenery coming from her travels are highly dependent on light and weather. Find out how she paints her dreamy pictures in this interview.


Hi Sarah, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Firstly, your analogue shots are breathtaking — when you started using film?

Ciao! Thank you so much for having me. Film photography became part of my life over 15 years ago. I moved to digital a few years later, when I was 25 because someone gave me a digital camera. But I gravitated back to analogue after a few years with digital. I do still shoot digital – I don’t follow strict rules – but I mainly use it for institutional projects.

You mostly shoot in landscapes and cloudscapes. May you tell us why? What interests you about the ever-stretching horizon?

It was not my original intention to shoot so much in nature. I suppose it comes down to my roots. I grew up in the countryside and spent a lot of time outside, even into my teens. Later, my studies and then my job brought me to the big metropolis. But I always need to escape far away in the wild at some point, so I can breathe freely. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and my most recent projects are obviously linked to that.

Agung, Dream Up, Drinking the Entire Sea

One of the elements that we noticed throughout your photographs is your superb use of color! Do you have any particular techniques or tools that help create those subtle palettes?

I mainly shoot with fading lights at the moment. Lights and weather are big components of my photos. I am very inspired by photos that are dreamy and surreal, and since weather conditions intensify the mood and create strong colors, I tend to like to shoot when there are unusual weather conditions. But I also enjoy reinventing myself, and I know I want to explore other things in the future. I like to think of art as a way to not stay stuck in one’s comfort zone, to experience other sides of one’s imagination and creativity.

Childhood Dream, Labas

For a photographer like you, what is the most important element in photography?

Exploring, as I just mentioned. It’s important to explore photography. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to try different things. Don’t think about the result. Experimenting also helps you get to know your gear and learn how it works, so you can be more one with your camera.

Night Stranger

Every artist has their muse. Where does your inspiration come from?

Music is big source of inspiration for me, but I take my inspiration from a lot of things. One day, I might be inspired by a movie, another day by an exhibition or a book. I am inspired by mysteries, contradictions or extremes. I love all that is mysterious. I am fascinated by moments in which everything suddenly comes together to build something that seems surreal.

Red Forest, Surreal Bled

The landscapes you take look so surreal, as if from another world. Do you have any favorites of places to photograph? Where are they?

I love trekking and climbing so I would say somewhere that’s not easily reachable. Accessing hard-to-get-to places makes you introspective and nourishes you along the way, and that can then be expressed in your photos. There are so many incredible \ places like that in France and Italy,

On the other hand, I would say, underwater! Yes, definitely, for its calm, soundless and dark universe. I am not shooting underwater as much as I would like. It’s a “world” I am absolutely crazy about. I have so much admiration for its elements. This summer I have experimented with several different films underwater and I am full of ideas for the next occasion.

I absolutely love Iceland and have been there three times. Slovenia totally blew my mind, too. And I recently had the chance to discover two Indonesian islands and fell in love with the intensity of the country and its diverse lands. And then there are all the places I haven’t seen yet! It’s too long a list to go into, but Greenland is at the top of it. It’s a dream I share with my partner in crime and love.

Snow Mirage, Sun or Moon, The Red Forest, Tiny Window

We are always curious about photographers who still use the analogue medium today. What makes you stick with film??

There is something more intimate about shooting film. I love the fact it makes us very thoughtful about what and how we shoot. In terms of aesthetics, I find that film creates combinations that are warmer and have more depth than digital.

I’m also attracted by the false impression of ease that analogue initially creates, but that is followed by a lifetime of opportunities to learn and experiment. I am so addicted to its process and the amount of work it requires.

Water lilies in the clouds, Waves of clouds

What's Sarah Blard up to when she's not with her camera?

I spend as much time as possible with my loved ones. I love singing, going to gigs, exhibitions, the cinema. I also like to go swimming as often as possible. Since I’m self-employed, I have the freedom to organize my day however I want, but my dream would be to clear away other work projects and devote my work exclusively to my art.

Underworld; Tomorrow Maybe

Any on-going projects, or other plans you're keen to work on?

I am currently editing my series, “Land of Many Lands, Waters and Fires” from my recent trip to Indonesia. I also have a couple of projects and I am preparing a gallery exhibition to be held in November. But I can’t talk about it too much yet. More news to come very soon!

More of Sarah's oeuvre may be found on her website and Instagram. All rights reserved to Sarah Blard.

written by cielsan on 2018-10-21

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