Near the beach in Los Angeles where I was raised, still live and work, I am wrapped in the gray morning fog of coastal California. Like so many of the California artists who inspire me, my photographic vision is fueled by this marine filter where description is possible without precision and sharpness sifts through ambiguity. It is in this space where the edge is not so specifically defined that I am most comfortable and where I find what I search for as an artist: seemingly empty spaces/moments that form a narrative that entices us in.
All the while I am reminded of the words of Robert Adams: “At our best and most fortunate we make pictures because of what stands before our camera, to honor what is greater and more interesting than we are.”
Whether my work is inspired by the grand and complex story of Detroit, my birth city; the energy of the Chinatowns; the gritty highways of LA; or evocative silence in public spaces; my focused projects are contemplative and open ended, tending to be organized from a fine art perception rather than by classic photojournalism and, while often still quite literal, curious in its perspective. Whether marine layer or the icy brilliance of a winter urban landscape, light and texture are critical. Most significant: presence.
With my camera, I respond to life by recording experiences hard to define, perhaps adding to my own biography as I capture that of others.
After successful careers in music and publishing, Los Angeles-based SARA JANE BOYERS returned to a serious focus on her photography. Her interest is the American story. Influenced by her fine art background and interest in social structure, she searches for presence and societal meaning in everyday perspectives.
DETROIT:DEFINITION, Boyers’s long-term project on the city of her birth, has been exhibited internationally including at the US Pavilion, Venice Biennale/Architecture2016; and at the 3rd Annual Exhibition of Industrial Photography/2019 in Shenyang/Beizhan PRC. Other exhibitions include a GETTY PST exhibition at the Vincent Price Art Museum; Western Australia’s FOTOFREO Biennial; DESIGN/REACTION at the Pasadena Museum of California Art; CHINESE AMERICANS: EXCLUSION/INCLUSION at the New York Historical Society and NO FIXED ADDRESS at The Leonardo, Salt Lake City. Her award-winning 747 Wing House photograph was selected by ASMP and exhibited at the annual AIA conference for its “Best Architectural Photographs of the Year.” SUMMER MIX, an exhibition of emerging LA photographers was co-curated by Boyers for LACMA’s Wallis Annenberg Photography Department.
Other projects include FINDING CHINATOWN: AN AMERICAN STORY, a two-decade exploration of the US & Canadian Chinatowns; GRIDLOCK, photographs shot from the driver’s seat while stuck in traffic; and GO FLY A KITE: SATURDAYS AT THE BEACH WITH TYRUS WONG. Asked to create the story of the late artist and his kites, her photographic work was included in the Tyrus Wong retrospective at the Walt Disney Family Museum, SF and again at the Museum of Chinese in America, NYC.
Among other media, Boyers’ photographic work has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Les Echos, Modern Magazine, Dwell and in books and respected online media. Her photographs reside in public and private collections worldwide.
In her current exploration, THE GHOSTLIGHT PROJECT, Boyers photographed dramatic and live performance space to highlight Southern California’s theaters as they sat in darkness, shrinking from Covid’s devastation and traditionally guarded by their unblinking sentinel, the ghost light. By creating a fundraiser for the participating venues through sales of a related book and prints, Boyers hopes to bring attention to these institutions that inspire creative conversation, critical thinking and change. Several images from this project were included in the exhibition ART IN THE PLAGUE YEAR (2021) at the California Museum of Photography (UCRiverside).
Boyers is also a published writer/editor with several award-winning books for youth. Her first book, the celebrated LIFE DOESN’T FRIGHTEN ME, marrying the expressive art of Jean-Michel Basquiat with the empowering words of Dr. Maya Angelou, was recently released by Abrams Books in an updated 25th Anniversary Edition.
She is concurrently working on literary and photographic projects.