HR: Hey Sarah, lets kick things off with why you’ve chosen to shoot your project in La Guajira Desert region of Colombia?
SP: I knew I had to go after reading about what a journey/chore it is to get there, and that it’s not a huge tourist destination yet. Another big part of why I chose to shoot there is because this type of desert region is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Colombia. La Guajira is off the beaten path, and shows a quieter way of life in a country that, unfortunately, often conjures negative connotations. With my work, I try to document places that can change people’s perceptions of parts of the world.
HR: Your work reflects what is evident now before developers and tourists occupy the landscape. Is this to say your work is something that will grow with greater meaning in time?
SP: With this particular essay, it’s a double-edged sword. As much as I would love for this area to stay relatively untouched, I think it’s pretty naïve of me to think that it will, and that development won’t happen there with time.
HR: Have you considered waiting until development had began in the region, and then release this project?
SP: That’s actually a pretty interesting idea, which I hadn’t thought of until now! But no, I think it’s important for people to see that there are parts of the world that are still unaffected and naturally beautiful. For me at least, it gives a bit of hope that we haven’t totally ruined everything yet. I also think people need to feel a sense of urgency to see a place, so that they will make an effort to visit it before it’s gone through a big change.
HR: You compose multi-frame exposures within your work. Is this purely aesthetic or is there something deeper you want the viewer to consider?
SP: No, I definitely don’t do this just for aesthetic reasons. I’ve always loved diptychs, and how two images can work together to create their own song, so I think my multi-frame exposures are a continuation of that. Because I’m doing the exposures in-camera, I really have to plan how and what I’m shooting, and hope it translates well in the end. I also like when images are initially beautiful, but then there is another layer when you look further, and read the statement. This region, for example, is breathtaking, but read into it more, and it becomes kind of sad, because you know it won’t remain like this forever.
HR: Looking at your website, you’ve used multiple frame exposures a few times. Would you call it your ‘style’? And if so, what is it about this aesthetic you are drawn to?
SP: Yeah, it’s a huge part of my style. The aesthetic isn’t always clean, but I think the multi-frame exposures do a nice job of giving more of an experience of a place and less of a disjointed image, with a more nostalgic feel.
HR: Have you got any future projects, which our readers should look out for?
SP:I plan on heading back to Colombia soon and digging deeper into the region, creating more relationships with the people that live there, so I can shoot from their perspectives as well. My hope is to go back every few years to document the changes that are happening in that amazing country.
All images are copyright of Sarah Palmer