Sewanee Artist of the Week

sarah 2

Photo by Matt Hembree

By Anna Mann

Staff Writer

As a child, Sarah Covington (C’20) would gather up her colored pencil and marker drawings, set up shop in her kitchen, and show them to her family.

“They weren’t any good,” she said with a laugh. “They were these terrible stick drawings. But my parents always hung them up!”

Covington claims that her drawing skills haven’t improved much since then, and though she’s dabbled a bit in watercolor and thrown a few pots on a wheel, her primary expertise lies in photography.

These days, Covington admits that she doesn’t see her work as a potential business, especially since she loathes shooting events. However, she did briefly return to her pre-k days by selling her work at her home’s art festival in Oklahoma City. After applying for the Youth Art Sale and showcasing her work to a group of judges, she sold it at the festival for a day.

Although she reveals that matting each photo posed some difficulties, she acknowledges that, “I had a lot of fun. I didn’t sell very much, but I think it was a really good experience, and I got to talk to a lot of people about my art. It was interesting because I never thought of it as a business, it was just something I did for fun.”

A long-time photographer himself, Covington’s father peaked her interest at a young age. Growing up with access to her father’s equipment, she experimented with photography far before her first real film class. Using the old film camera that her father documented her first years with, she found a new favorite medium sophomore year of high school.

“I love film; it’s just so calming,” she explains, fixing a black and white friendship bracelet on her wrist. “I love going through the process of making the picture. Finding the perfect shutter speed and F/stop. Then to watch it appear on the paper as it develops.”

As her art progressed, Covington increasingly shifted focus from the everyday to the abstract. More than photographing her friends, or a natural scene, she now enjoys breaking down everyday images into patterns and textures.

“I think [my obsession with the abstract] really started out because I like looking at ceilings and patterns and chandeliers. Looking in places people wouldn’t normally look.”

She argues that generating distinctive viewpoints remains invaluable in a world where everyone takes pictures. Additionally, she loves the insight it gives into photographers lives, saying that “it’s an interesting way to see how people look at the world.”

She guarantees her continued interest in photography by stating that, “I hope someday I’ll be able to convert a closet into a dark room and have one in my home. I’d love to have access to something like that and be able to work whenever I wanted.”