Sarah Blesener is a documentary photographer based in New York City. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she studied Linguistics and Youth Development at North Central University. 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 in 2012, she studied at Bookvar Russian Academy in Minneapolis, concentrating on the Russian language. She is a recent 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 is a recent recipient of the Alexia Foundation grant for her 2017 work in the United States, and a current fellow with Catchlight, working with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting


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, North Central University, Minneapolis, MN, USA


2017 "Winter Passage" for In Search of Lost Time, International Center of Photography, NY
2017 "Toy Soldiers" for Pingyao International Photography Festival
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
2016 "Harlem" for the Out of One, We are Many, The Underground, Minneapolis, MN
2015 "Bohinj" for Patterns in Nature, Minneapolis Photo Center, Minneapolis,  MN
2014 "Saudade" for The American Way, Minneapolis Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN


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 for American Photography 33
2017 New York Times Portfolio Review
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
2017 Kathryn Davis Fellow, Middlebury College, Midlebury, Vermont
2016 Emerging Talent Award, LensCulture
2016 Emerging Photographer Award, PDN
2016 Visura Photojournalism Grant Honorable Mention
2016 PhotogrVphy Grant Nominee
2016 Dotphotozine Award for Excellence in Photography - Finalist
2016 Alexia Student Grant Award of Excellence


2016 Anastasia Photo Gallery, New York, NY
2016 Redux Pictures


National Geographic, The Guardian, New York Times, TIME, California Sunday Magazine, Newsweek, New Republic, ABC, Wired, Reveal: Center for Investigative Reporting, New York Magazine, Greenpeace, VICE, Der Spiegel, Zeit, Amnesty International, De Morgen, Dagens Naerings, PDN, Alexia Foundation, Tages-Anzeiger, The Observer, Narratively, Men's Journal, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Scholar, Ground Truth Project, L'Oeil de la Photographie, and others.



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 - "Patriotic Education and Ideology" Open Show NYC, Bronx Documentary Center, NYC
2016 – Artist Lecture at the University of Northwestern, Saint Paul, MN
2016  – “Photographing Politics: Campaigns, Protests, Demonstrations” International Center of Photography Museum, New York City, NYC
2016 – “Haven: Adolescence and Belonging in the South Bronx” Bronx Documentary Center, New York City, NY