Sarah Blesener, recipient of The Alexia 2017 professional grant, is highlighted by Canon in their Portfolio of One series. It appears in the latest issues of PDN Magazine and Emerging Photographer Magazine.
Canon’s Portfolio of One asks photographers to define their work in one image. Blesener selected an image of siblings from Watford, North Dakota lying in a field. The siblings come from a long lineage of homeschooling in the oil-field region where they live.
The photograph is one that was taken as part of her Alexia grant work, in which she is exploring the growth of patriotism and nationalism in the United States. The project follows up on her work on the same themes in Russia. When she photographs this topic, Blesener notes, she isn’t trying to other or isolate different groups, but, rather, the opposite.
“I’m really looking for the universal, this concept of what makes us human, what we can all relate to,” says Blesener. “In adolescence, I find this in themes of identity, camaraderie, bonding and ideology.”
This image conveys those ideas perfectly.
“The sun, the grass and their splayed limbs evoke strong memories of childhood, and though the overall series will address socio- political issues and the current backdrop of American politics, it’s these moments of human connection that will take center stage,” explains PDN Managing Editor Jacqui Palumbo in the piece.
We appreciate Canon’s highlighting of Blesener’s work and we look forward to seeing more of her thoughtful photography in the coming months. For updates from her Alexia grant project, follow Blesener on Instagram. Blesener’s work will be on display at the Pingyao International Photography Festival from Sept. 19-Sept. 25.