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Capturing Vulnerabilities With Sarah Hobbs




Sarah Hobbs began her love for photography at the age of 14 and turned her passion into a career, from then on everything was history. But it's not only what she's capturing, but who she captures that matters--her studio Polydextrous Studio serves as an inclusive safe space for gender non-specific individuals to collaborate and create without fear. Below, we talk to the photographer on why she loves capturing people, inclusivity through art and more.



When did your journey as a creative begin (both personally and professionally)?

I started dabbling in photography when I was 14 when I started my first business. It turned into my favourite hobby, although it's my career, I always wanted to be a fine artist or a designer of some sort. I also got a film camera when I was 16 which basically turned into an extension of my art - I used to shoot everything and anything! I liked travelling a lot, shooting the people around me and documenting memories.





When I turned 17, I started taking it a little more seriously, I shot products for friends who had their own businesses, and I made initiatives to plan out my own shoots to practice creative ideation, build my portfolio, test out ideas. I started Polydextrous right before I turned 18, as a space for people on the same journey as me - self-discovery but also experimentation with their preferred art forms. I'm proud to say it's grown into a safe space where all are welcome.



I love people. I think the crowd I surround myself with play a huge part in my artistic development.


What is your life ethos and how does it relate to your creative journey?

Don't try to control the uncontrollable. I think this has been my mantra for years as I've always been a control freak and over-thinker. I like knowing what's happening at all times, but I also take a lot of comfort in planning out journeys to get to my destinations (physically and metaphorically). I've been learning to accept that during this pandemic.


Whether that's to do with if I've got work, motivation or inspirations, some things just don't work out, but it's not anyone's fault. There are always alternatives and to never get angry but how to deal with disappointment in a healthy way. Disappointment will always be a very persistent theme in life, especially as someone with high expectations, however, I think I've learnt to ride my journey out as my own without anger, but grateful that I'm exposed to and am able to learn from disappointment, inconveniences, and loss.





What are some of the things your artworks are constantly seeking to explore?

Pure Expression and Emotion. I like photographing people screaming, dancing, happy. I love editorial photography and translating these honest emotions through a completely controlled and altered environment. I adore bringing my film camera around with me for the same reasons, but more so capturing moments where people are their most vulnerable - smoke rooms at bars, trains, parties.


More technically, I like experimenting with colours - Red, Yellows and Greens.





What was the most significant/impactful project for you thus far — why?

Out of all the photography work I've done, I think my favourite project I've ever spearheaded and photographed must be the Polydextrous Events. Before Lockdown, we held a series of Intimate Networking Sessions and guided discussions groups. Most of them were sex ed oriented - we've collaborated with Erosu, Jujumello Intimates and One Condom in the past.


We brought groups together to have honest conversations about sex and love. Being privileged enough to be present and learn from so many individuals from super personal first-hand experiences makes me remember the beauty in every person's story. Through these conversations with what were strangers the day before, I feel like we transcended honesty, I've learnt so much from people. We've also held drag shows and other DJ performances, which have been so fun!





How do you see the world?

Pretty straightforward and realistically, but I think with a lot of hope. With that in mind though, I take time to notice more of the little things every day - like stray animals, conversations with your barista, having time to yourself to decompress heavy emotions. I want to experience everything once, I think emotions are sort of like things you feel and can metaphorically collect, and I want to be able to feel everything before this life comes to an end.



What type of artist do you wish to be, and what's your ultimate goal as a creative?

To dedicate myself fully to organise events and run safe space for the queer community as a part of Polydextrous Studios, (and to have a super fun team of creatives put together working at Poly!).


I would also like to photograph more fashion brands and club scenes all over the world!





What is your favourite and least favourite part of the creative process?

My least favourite is justifying my worth and prices. I think I've yet to find balance in the idea that I need to prove and discount myself to clients. I've been learning how to sacrifice jobs that cannot pay me my worth, and instead of offering more incentive to work with me. I do this in the hope to not spoil the market cause I think artists don't get paid enough for what they do, but people always expect less.


Favourite part is working with models and other creatives. I love the process of creating an idea, and working with others. When I freelance model, I find it super common that photographers on big productions are super straightforward and don't really get involved with the models and rest of the team closely. I guess I try really hard to break that barrier with all my clients, models and team. I also enjoy making friends and sharing the experience of a production and having everyone leave feeling super positive!





What’s your guilty pleasure(s)?

I don't have any! I don't feel guilty about anything I take pleasure in. I think that that feeds into my line of work too.



How would you describe your creative and artistic style? Do you feel much has changed?

I think I always aimed to be cool and trendy but as I get older and am approaching my 20's, I've realised I want to be classy and transform my art form into something that will stay relevant and in style for ages to come. I think longevity is something I'm trying to develop through my art whether it's fine art or photography. I try to let this seep through my events at Poly as well - so, in 20 years when people look back at what we've done, it's still relevant and not *cringe*.


My creative style is colourful and I hope it comes off as genuine, I want people to be shown authentically through the images I take of them. I think as I get older too, commercial work is something that I need to do to pay the bills but I'm trying to incorporate my personal artistic style into that aspect of my work too. I think my current style can be described as somewhat of a Y2k renaissance aunty [laughs]. However, it's always transforming.





Who is someone you would love to collaborate with and why?

More local brands! I would love to work with Erosu again, Ghostboy, or Mother Chuckers! Maybe even some local artists like Shelhiel, NYK, Druma or Pastel Lite!



Please share with us who/what you are constantly inspired by!

PEOPLE!


I love people. I think the crowd I surround myself with play a huge part in my artistic development. Everyone around me is passionate and motivated in/to do something different. I think it's important to have friend groups that do not echo chambers. Meet people who are completely different from you and collectively share your interests and develop them in parallel.





Lastly, please shoutout 3 of your favourite local creative crushes and their IG handle!

- Cyii Cheng @cyiichengg

- Bay Doucet @baydoucet

- Poking Duck @pokingduck



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