My name is Sarah Hickson, and this is the blog where I publish some of my photographic work, and write about the projects I’ve been exploring recently or am currently involved with.
My work as a photographer falls into three categories - performing arts, social documentary and travel. Since Autumn 2009 I have been working regularly in West Africa. I am currently in Dakar, participating in an artistic residency with musicians, writers, photographers and film-makers at La Factory.
I have recently been working on a project involving the Malian National Swimming Team, who I started to photograph on location in the dry Olympic-sized swimming pool in Bamako towards the end of 2011. Two of these images are shortly to be exhibited at the Strand Gallery in London as part of London Independent Photography’s annual exhibition.
My exhibition, “Le Récit intime de Fanta Kaba”, is a collaboration with the Haitian choreographer Kettly Noël, and the British costume designer Sahar Freemantle. It was shown in Bamako, Mali in November/December 2011 as part of the contemporary dance festival “Dense Bamako Danse” – both as an outdoor installation at Donko Seko Contemporary Dance Centre, and as an exhibition at Bla Bla Club, one of Bamako’s most well-known bars and galleries. The photographs thread my own visual narrative through a four-month period of workshops, residencies, rehearsals and performances in Bamako, Brest and Annecy, exploring themes that emerged and re-emerged during the development process of Kettly Noël’s new solo work, “Je m’appelle Fanta Kaba”.
I have been engaged to photograph major arts festivals in West Africa, including the African Dance Biennale and the digital arts festival Pixelini in Bamako, Récréatrales and the Festival International de Théâtre pour le Développement (FITD) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the Festival sur le Niger in Ségou, Mali, and the Daoulaba Festival in Koulikoro, Mali.
I was commissioned by the contemporary dance centre Donko Seko in Bamako to make a commemorative boxed set of postcards of my images of the 2010 African Dance Biennale, and I was also engaged to photograph workshops and performances as part of “Je danse donc je suis” – a unique development programme for under-privileged children and young people in Bamako. I regularly photograph contemporary dance performances and outreach programmes at Bougou Saba, a rural cultural centre in Siby, Mali on behalf of the eeg Cowles Foundation.
In the UK I have been commissioned to photograph performances by Tête à Tête Opera, community productions such as the Telegraph Hill Festival production of “The Threepenny Opera”, performances by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the British Paraorchestra - the UK’s first ensemble of virtuoso musicians with a physical disability. I am currently working on a couple of portrait commissions.
My work has been published on various websites and in publications including the Guardian, the Independent, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, Courrier International and the London Independent Photography magazine. My photographs have been used as poster images by a number of festivals and arts venues, as well as by the French Embassy as the image for their New Year’s greeting card. I was a finalist in the Wanderlust / Independent “Travel Photographer of the Year” Competition.
I currently divide my time between my arts consultancy business and photography. Combining these two aspects of my professional life is very inspiring, and I’m continually discovering how much they feed each other creatively.