RIOT ART GALLERY: A curated selection of art for the next generation collector

Freedom and loneliness explored : The photography of Sarah Burton

InterviewsErika BelavyComment

We're taking you down under this week with the poetic photography of Sarah Burton. Now based in Berlin, this photography graduate from New Zealand explores themes such as freedom and loneliness with her work. The exalted movements of her muses in some rather incongruous locations  makes us want to drop our digital devices and run wild and free! But first... an interview!

What made you decide to become a photographer?

Since I was very young I knew I wanted to do something creative with my life. After finishing high school I didn’t know exactly the field I wanted to get into and felt like having an adventure, so left New Zealand and spent six months in Europe working and traveling. Being surrounded by so many different cultures, types of architecture, landscapes and viewing incredibly renowned art works was so exhilarating I wanted to be able to capture it all!

You photograph your subjects in some surprising locations. Tell us more about this! Where did this concept originate? What inspired it?

I’m a fan of slightly heightened reality and escapism and I just love the idea of placing incongruous elements together, like a fabulous dancer next to a block of council flats, to create something new. Plus I am constantly inspired by my environments, I could get inspired by walking down to the corner store, or taking a road trip across the country.

What do you want to accomplish with your work? How are you doing this?

This series of work is simply about freedom. I want to infuse a bit of escapism into everyday life by celebrating unrestrained joy.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would love to fly. If I’m in a period of life when I feel at ease I have super vivid dreams of soaring through the air, doing somersaults, or simply floating. 

Shop Sarah's photos here.


Sarah Burton is a photographic artist from New Zealand living in Berlin. She studied Photography at Massey University in Wellington and has been taking photos of the people around her ever since. Commercially, she shoots fashion and weddings and the beauty and timelessness she aims to capture rolls over into her personal work. She favours the rich colour, creamy grain and imperfect nature of film for her art work and hopes to convey the sense of freedom and loneliness felt from growing up alongside nature in such a remote and un-populated set of islands. Sarah has been photographing dancers for many years.