Sarah Small was born in 1979 into a family of musicians. When she was 13, she fell in love with photography at summer arts camp within a few days of kissing her camp crush in the darkroom. Fueled by her constant curiosities and fascination with entangling herself in human drama, Sarah spent her high-school years wandering the streets of her hometown of Washington, D.C., always equipped with her Pentax K1000. And luckily, when home, she also had her cooperative and impossibly freckled redheaded sister, Rachel, with whom to endlessly practice her craft.

Sarah was trained at the Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating in 2001, she moved to Brooklyn New York, and has since engaged in an ongoing pursuit to find and photograph enchanting people, animals, and candy colors. Sarah's work explores the surprising interactions born when dissociated characters are brought together into the same space.

Sarah has taught darkroom photography to both high-school students and adults and currently teaches Portrait Photography at the Parsons School of Design. Since 1997, she has taken a diaristic Polaroid of herself every day. She plans to pursue this project for life.

Small's work has appeared in publications including Vogue, Life, and The New York Times. Her images have been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally, in such venues as Caprice Horn Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery, and The Australian Center for Photography. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, and was recently named by American Photo as one of the "Top 13 Emerging Photographers" working today.


"Whether I'm photographing fashion or fine art, all my images are geared towards the same intention. I'm interested in unsettled tensions between the ordinary and the perfectly implausible. Occasionally, I find situations where I see this, but more often, I contrive scenarios, and bring together people with distinctive visual personalities.

I want to photograph the raw emotional underbelly of scenes both found and fabricated. Like an optical illusion, where the viewer shifts between opposing visual perceptions, my images reference emotional illusion, a rocking back and forth between projection and introspection, between thought and feeling, between darkness and hilarity. I imagine us all left unbalanced but not out of sync. "