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The New Renaissance – By Sarah Jarrett

We are delighted to publish the first article by Sarah Jarrett for her new Column, The New Renaissance. This Column focuses on the Art of Mobile Photography and investigates the diverse and exciting meeting points between photography, painting, graphic design and digital manipulation happening within iPhoneography. Sarah will look at other artists’ approaches and offer insights into apps and their creative uses.

In this article Sarah explains her own career and life path and explains how she started out, how her art developed and progressed and where she is at now. You will love this article, we are sure, over to you Sarah. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).



“Photography has been central in my creative life since I was eighteen when I bought my first SLR and applied to Art College in London to start a Photography Degree. I’m not sure at that time how I visualized my career but it was certainly the first tentative steps on an incredibly exciting journey that I am still making now in my forties. I fondly remember Art School days as a huge period of learning mainly from my peers and a melting pot of experimentation with print and process. I cut my teeth with black and white but was lured early on to the color darkroom with its distinctive smell and bodies ambling around in total darkness because you could have no safety lights at all. It was a surreal world but I was so hungry to learn and to grow. I was mainly making Landscapes and Floral/Still life imagery. I specialized in color for my major project and was lucky to get bursaries from Agfa and Kodak which meant a lot of film and paper to support my ever increasing desire to make bigger and bigger prints. Being in London we had access to the most brilliant galleries and exhibitions and we soaked it all up. I applied to the Royal College of Art to do an MA in Photography and when I didn’t get a place I went to Brighton to do my postgrad studies and trained to be a teacher in case all else failed.

Teaching Art and Photography full time for several years was a lean time for my artistic practices and I just managed to exhibit once a year in the Brighton Festival opening up our flat as an open house exhibition to the public with my partner who was a painter. Great fun!

It was not until the birth of my second child and a series of life changing events that I decided to stop teaching full time and finally try and make a real go freelancing with my Photography. I found myself a single parent in rural Norfolk with two young children and it was the kick I needed to finally take some real chances and see if I was up to the challenge. When the chips are down and your horizons change it sometimes makes you do extraordinary things and that is good.



© Sarah Jarrett


I decided I was going to try the Fine Art Publishing market for cards and prints to start with so I researched what was current and pursued florals. I used the color prints I had made at college and began painting on top of them and then I got the sewing machine out and sewed on top of the paint. I knew had to make something completely original and fresh to get published and noticed. I worked when my son only weeks old was sleeping and my daughter was at playgroup and late into the night. Creative time is so precious when you know its limited but I was really undergoing a huge period of growth.


© Sarah Jarrett


I assembled a portfolio really quickly and I made appointments to see some publishers. I was nervous and excited about my prospects. Lady luck was on my side and on my first meeting I had a first range of cards and stationary commissioned and a contract signed. The same company had European links with an international French publisher who immediately picked up on the range and published box sets of cards, posters and a set of huge posters of my flowers. I was off and running with no looking back. I was living on adrenalin and determination and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity go.

Publishing and licensing is fickle and doesn’t allow you to sit on your laurels so you have to keep providing new slants on what you are doing to keep the interest. It’s like a hungry mouth that constantly wanting more and more food and if you don’t feed it you get forgotten.

I began to add collage on top of my pictures to take them in a new direction. I would add little bits of pattern and fabrics from glossy magazines and then paint on top with acrylics.


© Sarah Jarrett


The more you do the more you begin to diversify and soon I was doing paper-cut pictures too from old magazine papers and they were beginning to sell too. Next came the Agent who approached me to ask if I was interested in being represented just from seeing one of my cards in a trendy shop in Brighton. This meant I could concentrate on picture making and the agency would license my work.


© Sarah Jarrett

At the same time I took my folder to see some book publishers in London and was really lucky to be in the right place at the right time and was commissioned to do all the illustrations for a ‘Nutrition Bible’ by Dr Ali for Random House. All the images were paper cuts and it was pressurized but really enjoyable to do.



© Sarah Jarrett


Several years later I was beginning to find my stride but wanted to develop my Photography work into new areas . I was getting more and more into long distance running and started to use my iPod camera because it was so portable. Apps were beginning to develop and get interesting and I began to experiment with iphoneography excited by its potential. I was really smitten from the start having been a Photoshop addict for years.



© Sarah Jarrett


It took a long time to develop my ideas with iphoneography because the apps themselves were not that great to start with but it began to take over as my primary way of creating and I was doing many of the same things I was doing before but digitally instead.


© Sarah Jarrett


Using an iPhone and iPad has revolutionized my approach to Photography because all the editing is done on one device but it has also completely changed my art practice which has become intermixed in the same processing. I am still mainly licensing my images and I am still with two agencies but my ideas and themes are constantly on the change thanks to the pace at which apps are developing. It has been a creative rebirth for me and taken me in more directions than I could ever have foreseen. On reflection it’s also interesting how your career evolves over time and how its influenced by changes and events you cannot predict. I wonder where it will lead me in the future and how my work and that of my contemporaries will look in ten years time? “

Sarah completed her degree and postgraduate studies at Harrow School of Art & Brighton University in 1992 specializing in Photography. She was singled out in her final year for special bursary prizes from both Kodak and Agfa. After graduating Sarah taught Art, Textiles & Photography in Brighton and continued to exhibit her work in London, Brighton, Cambridge and Norfolk. In 1998 she began to freelance full time and began to experiment with painting onto her own large color photographic prints with oils and sewing onto the surface with a sewing machine in an attempt to develop a unique way of working with photography. It drew immediate attention from magazines and publishers and secured her first print and publishing deals. Sarah now works with digital media using both the iPhone and iPad. The main focus in her images today is still in making photographic images look like paintings and in capturing dreamlike, ethereal beauty. To have a unique voice in her work is still very important to Sarah.


  • Kim

    What an incredible journey you have been on
    and still discovering!

    Your work is amazing on so many different

    I love the words you used … The more you do
    the more you begin to diversify …

    I find I am doing much more manipulations
    and edits with my iPhone photos than simply
    quick shots with frames around them.
    My creativity becomes alive and off I go!

    Thank you for a peek into your creative


    • Sarah Jarrett

      Thanks Kim ! I’m still learning so much every day. Wish you luck with your journey*

  • Lola Mitchell

    What a great article. I absolutely love your work. Love your story, full of determination, and hard work. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  • Janine Graf

    I really admire your drive and motivation Sarah! It definitely shows in your work! 😀

  • Robert Lancaster

    Wow Sarah, thank you so much for your candour in opening your start in to this world we know as iPhoneography. This has been truly inspirational and motivating to muself. I am only two years into my iPhoneography journey and am still learning and growing. It is articles such as these that are helping fuel and drive my creative growth.
    I am completely enamoured with your work.
    Thank you again for sharing your journey and your astounding art with us.

  • Tommy

    Sarah, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You certainly showed great determination and went for your goals despite all of the ‘obstacles’ in your way, that is very admirable. I know that every time I see one of your photos I’m absolutely amazed because they’re all just so striking and it never gets tired to me. Thank you for taking time to show us a snapshot of your life and photography. I’ll be back for more.

  • MaryJane Sarvis

    Wonderful to read your story. I’ve loved your work since the minute I saw it. Though we took different directions to pay the bills I feel a kinship with single mom artists who make it and love what they/we do. Thanks for this!

  • Delta

    “On reflection it’s also interesting how your career evolves over time and how its influenced by changes and events you cannot predict…”

    I love this sentence. Thank you for such an excellent article, fabulous creativity and art .

  • Sarah Jarrett

    Lola, Janine, Robert, Tommy, Brett, MaryJane and Delta a heart felt thanks for your great feedback, its really appreciated. I get very nervous writing about things, I’m out of my comfort zone- probably would have made a better picture- but I think its interesting to reflect back. The best part is that now I get a chance to start writing about the work and ideas of other people – lots of ideas….

  • Cara Gallardo Weil

    I just love your work Sarah and it’s s0 fascinating to read your story and development. Thanks!

  • Rudy Vogel

    Great articel Sarah!!! Exceptional work!! Continued good fortune!! 😀

  • Rudy Vogel

    Great article Sarah!!! Exceptional work!! Continued good fortune!! 😀

  • Meri

    Wow, this is such a wonderful chronicle of how a career develops when we’re doing so many things all at the same time, including mothering! I had a similar experience, only my path took me through photojournalism in the days when I could afford to take a magazine or newspaper assignment and then make extra money selling the outtakes from the shoot to book publishers and others through a stock agency.

    I, too, started adding all kinds of media to my prints and then learned serigraphy, too. Next thing you know, desktop digital editing opened up and …now iPhoneography has freed us all from having to be tied to a desktop computer or holed up in a darkroom or printing studio – unless we want to be there.

    I just love your work, Sarah. It was actually some of your wonderful portraits – and some of Karen Divine’s montages – that lured me deeper into the iPhone about 18 months ago…and now I’m its slave.. Lucky for me it’s such an accommodating and adventurous “master.”

    I look forward to more of your writing! It’s wonderful – whether you’re out of your comfort zone or not…

  • Catherine

    So very inspiring to hear your story! I admire your work and your creativity so much… thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Tracy Mitchell Griggs

    Liked the back story vis a vis your creative evolution. Interesting to see the threads of your creative process continue to evolve through use of technology – you clearly have a gift and vision and are fortunate that you received an education in the visual arts to support your ambitions. So few creative people are able to make a solid income and living from “art” – nice to see a success story.

    Cheers and continued success.

  • Carolyn Hall Young

    Dear Sarah,
    I have no idea how I missed this article, but here it is, and here I am, thanking you. This interview makes me appreciate your work, even more. This is a terrific insight into your creative process, and a fine reminder about seeing the surprises and changing horizons as opportunities.
    There is so much magic possibile, with the tools that we have now.
    Bravo for a staying with it, for your courage through the changes and challenges, and for the beautiful work you do! I am glad know your path a little better, now. Thank you for your generousity of spirit, in your art, and in your way of living.
    Adios amiga,