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Sarah Blesener

Sarah Blesener is a recent graduate of the Visual Journalism and Documentary Practice program at the International Center of Photography in New York. She is a recipient of the Alexia Foundation grant, and has received a fellowship with CatchLight, where she worked with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. She was named one of Anastasia Photo Gallery’s Emerging Photographers.


Ryan Dunlavy (left), Nerisa Garcia (center), and Jeremy Cabral (right), students from the Border Patrol Explorer Program, practice active-shooter scenarios and room clearing at the United States Border Patrol Station in Kingsville, TX. The Explorer program is a branch of the Boy Scouts of America and is sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security. Photographed by Sarah Blesener

Beckon Us From Home [private]

Summer 2018 | Photography

In America, in 2018, the word “patriotism” has taken on a particular meaning. “Patriotic” equals militaristic, patriarchal, obedient, maybe xenophobic; it evokes guns, red meat, the NFL, and the Republican National Convention. No matter how hard Democrats and liberals try to reclaim the word—to make the point that you can be “patriotic” while also believing that there are problems with the country—they haven’t been able to do it. 

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A page of Jacob’s travel diary during a trip to India, 1996. Photo by Sarah Blesener.

Mira Jacob’s Notes to Self

Summer 2017 | Articles

It began, as so many cultural inquiries do, with some confusion about Michael Jackson. The summer of 2014, Mira Jacob’s son (we’ll call him Z) was obsessed with the singer, which is to be expected of a six-year-old who knows what’s what. But any path into Jackson’s story, especially for a child of color (Jacob is Indian American; her husband is Jewish) invariably ends up in the territory of disconnect, the before and after of his complexion, making the pop star’s story, like the larger American one, a bit difficult to explain. What began with an obsessive imitation of the backstep from “Beat It” led to heavy rotation on the family turntable, with albums strewn across the room. “And then it was obvious,” Jacob recalls, “because Michael’s face is so big on those albums. You can see his skin get lighter. So of course Z begins to ask: Who is this person? How did this thing happen? Will it happen to us?”