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Sugar House Photographer To Be Featured in California Art Show

Jun 13, 2016 10:49AM ● Published by Natalie Mollinet

One of Sarah’s cyantypes that she did in Iceland – Sarah May

Gallery: Sugar House Photographer To Be Featured in California Art Show [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

Natalie Mollinet | natalie@mycitjournals.com


Sugar House is loaded with talented people, everything from art to athletics. One Sugar House girl however, is finding herself and her art in one of the hottest spots in the country – Los Angeles. Last month, Sarah May had her photography featured at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, California, after she submitted her photography into a competition in Hollywood. 

May had spent a couple months in Iceland for an art residency, then came back to the United States with a grand idea in mind. She started working on a narrative photography series about women, and compiled them into a book. 

“I came home and started formulating the narratives,” May said. She found the models and shot nine narratives with black and white film. After that, she compiled the pictures into book, and with each picture wrote a small poetic narrative. 

Along with her book of narratives, she also put together a book of work that she had done while she was in Iceland with cyanotypes. She called it “Stykki” which means pieces in Icelandic. May submitted both into a contest in Hollywood and both were accepted. 

May however, didn’t start out wanting to be a photographer, she actually wanted to be a writer.  But as she got experience with a camera, she knew that she could see the world in a different way, and loved the sensation. 

“I was the editor for our literally magazine for two years,” May said, speaking about her time at Olympus High School, “I didn’t think I was going to be able to go to university after high school, the recession had hit, and my parents were already helping my brother with school.” 

May really wanted to get into school, and one day found that the University of Utah was giving out a full tuition scholarship to photo students. May knew this was her chance, so she sent her portfolio to the U and ended up getting the scholarship. At school, she learned about different techniques and for her, using a camera was so natural, and she felt like it made sense to her. 

“It wasn’t until my junior year at the U that I really hit my stride that took me to where I am,” May said, “I had so many awful things happen to me, family stuff, friend’s deaths, depression, and all I had left was my art. If it wasn’t for those few years of turmoil, failures and tears, I wouldn’t be making the work I am today.” 

May never imagined where she’d be today. She’s had her photography featured in the Sugar House Art Walks, at the University of Utah and has curated four of her own shows andwent on an artist residency to Iceland and now has come full circle. 

“I never could have foreseen or imagined I would be where I am today,” May said, “I always thought I would be a food photographer, but that never even came close to coming true as my art became so much more personal than I ever thought before.” 

May had learned from one of her professors at the U that their photography should mean something that was “simply technically beautiful.” This is what May’s art is, and she wanted to keep pursuing it and sharing her thoughts and feelings through her photography. 

“If I were to have the perfect job, I would want to keep creating photo art books, and keep curating galleries and shows for myself and others.” May said, “I love creating my own work, and I also love talking and creating with others and teaching and sharing what I know with others.” 

May said she follows her intuition, and her intuition has definitely set her on a path to where she wants to be. While she was in Hollywood, she hoped to make connections with other fellow artists and be inspired by them. 

“I don’t have a concrete path of where I am going to end up,” May said, “and sometimes it stressed me out and I get discouraged, but I know if I follow my love, I will find what I am looking for eventually.” 

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