Sarah pan­nell

Beauty is a torn-up drive­way and a backyard pool full of leaves. This pho­tog­ra­pher lives for the sub­urbs.


What were you like as a kid? Im­pres­sion­able. I’m the youngest of three girls and I usu­ally fol­lowed what my sis­ters did. I was – still am – very talk­a­tive and never knew when to be quiet. What’s your ear­li­est mem­ory of photography? Prob­a­bly my mum and her Canon point-and-shoot cam­era that most of our child­hood pho­tos would have been taken on. Mum is great at com­pil­ing photo al­bums and grow­ing up it was great watch­ing her piece to­gether each year with her pho­to­graphs. What is it about the sub­urbs that you like? I grew up in the eastern sub­urbs of Mel­bourne and it wasn’t un­til I lived in Cal­i­for­nia for half a year that the ap­peal of Aus­tralian sub­ur­bia took its hold on me. There’s some­thing about the mun­dane na­ture of sub­ur­ban life that I find in­ter­est­ing, much like many other pho­tog­ra­phers be­fore me. I guess I’ve been in­flu­enced by the likes of Wil­liam Eg­gle­ston and Stephen Shore and that’s ev­i­dent in my images.

What can’t you re­sist snap­ping a pic­ture of?

Strange trees. Do you have any lucky charms? While I was in Bos­nia last year I found a ring with a beau­ti­ful Ot­toman en­grav­ing that I’ve grown very fond of it and it rarely leaves my body now. What makes a good pho­tog­ra­pher? Keen ob­ser­va­tional skills. Helps to be per­son­able too. Where’s the most mag­i­cal place you’ve been? Too hard to pick one, but most re­cently I spent a week road trip­ping and camp­ing north of Perth up the Coral Coast of West­ern Australia. Shark Bay blew me away – it’s so re­mote and not many peo­ple around. Just pris­tine beaches. WA has won me over, I can’t wait to re­turn.

What’s your favourite Aus­tralian movie?

The Cas­tle. What are you crav­ing? I’d love to get back on the road in Australia this year and see more of my own coun­try.

See more of Pan­nell’s work at sarah­pan­

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