Portrait Salon

Sarah Lee

Sidewalk America

Sarah Lee’s portrait, photographed on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles (below), was selected for Portrait Salon 2014 (Sarah’s portrait of Wallander actor Krister Henriksson was also included) and is part of a long term project with the writer, broadcaster and novelist Laura Barton about the urban American experience. It’s working title is ‘Sidewalk America – This Is Your Land’.

Copyright Sarah Lee - Sunset Boulevard Los Angeles.

Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles

‘Sidewalk America: all these images are part of a wider project I’ve been working on where I’ve been walking the length of the main streets in five American Cities from dawn till dusk. I have no fixed rules other than I must keep moving forward.’

Copyright Sarah Lee - Broadway, New York City.

Broadway, New York City

Copyright Sarah Lee - Broadway, New York City.

Broadway, New York City

‘Sunset Blvd in LA, Broadway [from the Staten Island ferry to 189th St], Pennsylvania Avenue in DC, 8th Street in Miami, and Woodward Avenue Detroit. My aim has been to observe the America that isn’t often commented upon the city from the sidewalk itself. A series of road trips fuelled only by shoe leather and caffeine, rather than by gasoline and horsepower.’

Copyright Sarah Lee - Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC.

Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC

Copyright Sarah Lee - Sunset Boulevard Los Angeles.

Sunset Boulevard Los Angeles

‘I’ve found that the people I’ve met along the way have been surprisingly willing to chat and tell their stories and to let me take their portraits. I worked only using prime lenses and a manual camera, keeping them as color with the intention of trying to remain as honest to the subjects as I can be.’

Copyright Sarah Lee - Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC.

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC

Copyright Sarah Lee - Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC. Brother Burnell, who moved to the city two months ago. He finds it unfriendly but is staying optimistic. He sells copies of The Final Call [the Nation of Islam's newspaper] and bottles of insence on the street.

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC

‘I only photographed people and places as I encountered them without having any “control” over them or the environment. This was enormously liberating. I’m not American, but it’s a country that I love [my Mother is a citizen, I met my husband here] and that I keep coming back to trying to understand it more. This project has been part of that process.”

Copyright Sarah Lee - Broadway, New York City.

Broadway, New York City

Copyright Sarah Lee - Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC.

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC

You can hear Sarah Lee and Laura Barton discussing ‘Sidewalk America’ for The Guardian and Observer here.

Sarah Lee has been a contracted freelancer for The Guardian and Observer since 2000 and specialises in portraiture, features and the Arts but is interested in all photography that focuses on people, and our shared human experience. Her work has appeared in many publications and places including the cover of TIME magazine, Billboard, Rolling Stone, The Sunday Times, Intelligent Life and many others.

sarahmlee.com

Twitter: @SarahMLee47

James O Jenkins