Sarah Blesener is a documentary photographer based in New York City. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she studied Linguistics and Youth Development. While in University, she worked as a photographer for the organization Healing Haiti based in Port au Prince, Haiti, covering events surrounding the 2010 earthquake. Upon graduation, she studied at Bookvar Russian Academy in Minneapolis, concentrating on the Russian language. She is a graduate of the Visual Journalism and Documentary Practice program at the International Center of Photography in New York. Her latest work revolves around youth movements and culture in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the United States. She was recipient of the Alexia Foundation grant for her 2017 work in the United States, and was also a 2017 fellow with Catchlight, working with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Eugene Smith Fellowship. In 2019, her personal project, Beckon Us From Home, received a first place prize in the Long-Term Project category of World Press Photo.


2020 - Spanish Language Studies: Cervantes Institute, New York, NY, USA
2019 - German Language Studies: Goethe Institute, Munich, Germany
2019 - Philosophy: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, Brooklyn, New York, USA
2019 - German Language Studies: Goethe Institute, New York, NY, USA
2018 - Photobook workshop with Teun van der Heijden and Sandra van der Doelen, Rome, Italy
2017 - New York Times Portfolio Review
2017 - Eddie Adams Workshop XXX, New York Times award
2017 - Teaching Assistant for the Magnum Foundation Fellowship with Fred Ritchin and Bob Sacha
2017 - Teaching Assistant for Andrew Lichtenstein, Documentary Seminar, International Center of Photography, New York, USA
2016 - Reporting Safely in Crisis Zones: DART Center, Columbia Journalism School, New York, NY, USA
2015 - Visual Journalism and Documentary Practice: International Center of Photography, New York, NY, USA
2012 - Russian Language Studies: Bookvar Russian Language Academy, Minneapolis, MN, USA
2012 - Bachelor of Arts: Youth Development and International Studies, Minneapolis, MN, USA


2019 - “Beckon Us From Home” at MANA Contemporary, NJ
2018 - “Beckon Us From Home” at Anastasia Photo Gallery, NYC


2020 “Beckon Us From Home” for ESTAÇÃO IMAGEM, Portugal
2019 “Haven” for the Alexia Foundation, at Photoville, NY
2019 “Beckon Us From Home” at Pingyao International Photography Festival, China - with the Alexia Foundation
2019 “Beckon Us From Home” for World Press Photo Tour
2018 30 Under 30 Women Photographers, Galerie Claude Samuel, Paris, France
2018 "Beckon Us From Home" for "Focal Points: An Exhibition of the CatchLight 2017 Fellows" at Photoville, New York, NY
2018 "Beckon Us From Home" for "Focal Points: An Exhibition of the CatchLight 2017 Fellows" at SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA
2018 "Beckon Us From Home" for LUMIX Festival For Young Photojournalism.
2017 "Winter Passage" for In Search of Lost Time, International Center of Photography, NY
2017 "Right to Fight" for Oberstdorfer Fotogipfel, Oberstdorf, Germany
2017 "Toy Soldiers" for Zimmerli Art Museum, "Partisan Views and Public Opinion," New Brunswick, NJ
2017 "Toy Soldiers" for IPP 2017, Fondo Malerba per la Fotografia, Milan, Italy
2016 "Toy Soldiers" for #Dysturb Campaign, Bogota, Colombia
2016 "Borodino" for Annenberg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2016 "Haven" for Another Kind of Paradise, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
2016 "Haven" for Auckland Festival of Photography, Auckland, New Zealand
2016 "Toy Soldiers" for Fotograf Vakfi, Istanbul, Turkey


2019 World Press Photo Award - 1st Place - Long Term Project Category
2018 Eugene Smith Fellowship recipient
2018 Adobe Rising Star of Photography - Adobe Lightroom
2018 Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographer
2018 PDN Photo Annual Winner - Documentary Category
2018 Selected Winner for American Photography 34
2018 Head On Photo Festival Portrait Prize - Semi-Finalist
2018 Zeiss Photography Award - Shortlist
2018 PDN's 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch
2018 IWPA - Shortlisted
2018 Gomma Grant - Shortlisted
2018 30 under 30 Women Photographers of 2018 selected by Photo Boite, Artpil
2017 TIME's Top 100 Photos of the Year
2017 Visura Grant for Outstanding Personal Project - Honorable Mention
2017 PH Museum Women Photographers Grant - New Generation Honorable Mention
2017 Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographer
2017 CatchLight Fellowship Recipient with Reveal
2017 Alexia Professional Grant Recipient
2017 Portrait Award, Student Spotlight, LensCulture
2017 Selected Winner for American Photography 33
2017 Nominee for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2017
2017 POYi Issue Reporting Picture Story, Award of Excellence
2017 Social Documentary Network, First Place Grant Prize
2016 Emerging Talent Award, LensCulture
2016 Emerging Photographer Award, PDN
2016 Visura Photojournalism Grant Honorable Mention
2016 Alexia Student Grant Award of Excellence


National Geographic, New York Times, TIME Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, California Sunday Magazine, Best Buy, NPR, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The Guardian, New Republic, ABC, Wired, Reveal: Center for Investigative Reporting, New York Magazine, Politico Magazine, Democracy Now, Greenpeace, VICE, Der Spiegel, Zeit, Amnesty International, De Morgen, Dagens Naerings, Tages-Anzeiger, Men's Journal, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Scholar, L'Oeil de la Photographie, and others.


John Harris and Cory Rice, “Sarah Blesener: What is Photography?" B&H Photo, July 2019.
Brienne Walsh and Jacqui Palumbo, “20 Rising Female Photojournalists,” Artsy, May 2019.
Laurence Butet-Roch, “Q&A with Sarah Blesener,” Magenta Foundation, March 2019.
Terry Sullivan, “Taking Time with the Next Generation,” Digital Photo Pro, February 2019.
Ludmila Leiva, “What I Wish I’d Known Before I Went Freelance,” Refinery 29, January 2019.
Amanda Bauer for the International Center of Photography, “ICP Alumni: In Process.” January 2019.
Guest Speaker for Adorama’s Podcast, Episode 5, Photoville.
Libby Peterson, “In Sarah Blesener’s Photographs, Youth Patriotism in America and Russia Bear a Striking Resemblance,” Artsy, September 2018.
Lex Van den Berghe, “Introducing the 2018 Adobe Rising Stars of Photography,” Adobe, August 2018.
Terry Sullivan, “2 Pro Photographers Discuss Capturing Their Vision of the World,” PC Magazine, August 2018.
Michael Chovan-Dalton, Guest on the Real Photo Show podcast, August 2018.
Sarah Hotchkiss, “Other Americas Appear in SF Camerawork’s ‘Focal Points’" KQED, May 2018.
Inge Morath Magazine, Feature, April 2018.
Mark Alice Durant, "Sarah Blesener: Conversations," Saint Lucy, September 2017.
Ryan Bell, "Photographer Who Captured Youth Patriotism in Russia Turns Lens on Trump's America,"Columbia Journalism Review, June 2017.
Byard Duncan, "Meet Sarah Blesener, Our New Photography Fellow," Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, April 2017.
Lena Kovalchuk, "Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Children: Russian Children's Military-Patriotic Camps," Bird in Flight, October 2017.
Dustina Sherbina, "ICP Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Blesener," The International Center of Photography, December 2016.
Alexia Foundation, "Interview with Sarah Blesener on Documenting Adolescence and Belonging," The Alexia Foundation, October 2016.


2019 - Artist Talk at Best Buy Creative Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2019 - Artist Talk at MANA Contemporary
2019 - Guest Lecture at the International Center of Photography
2018 - Guest Speaker at Oxford High School, Connecticut
2018 - Artist Lecture at the International Center of Photography
2018 - Panel Talk with PDN’s 30 at Photoville, NYC
2018 - Panel Talk with CatchLight at Photoville, NYC
2018 - Artist Lecture at Education Day for Photoville, NYC
2018 - Guest Speaker for Fred Ritchin, Photography and Human Rights, International Center of Photography, NYC
2018 - Artist Lecture at Dokfestivalen, Fredrikstad, Norway
2018 - Artist Lecture at Scandinavian Photo, Oslo, Norway
2018  - Artist Lecture at United Nations International School, New York, NY
2017 - Guest Speaker on KUT’s Texas Standard with California Sunday Magazine / CIR with Reveal
2017 - Artist Lecture at Pratt Institute, New York, NY
2017 - Artist Lecture at California College of the Arts, CatchLight Fellowship, San Francisco, CA
2017 - Artist Lecture at The New School, New York, NY
2017 - Artist Lecture at Gallup High School, New Mexico
2017 - Artist Lecture for Documentary Matters, SDN, Belmont, MA
2016 - Artist Lecture, Open Show NYC, Bronx Documentary Center, NYC
2016 – Artist Lecture at the University of Northwestern, Saint Paul, MN
2016  – Panel Talk, “Photographing Politics: Campaigns, Protests, Demonstrations” International Center of Photography Museum, New York City, NYC
2016 – Artist Lecture at the Bronx Documentary Center, New York City, NY