MPA Photographer/Artist of the Year: Sarah Jarrett


After much discussion, debate and deliberation the Mobile Photography Awards has awarded the United Kingdom’s SARAH JARRETT our grand prize of MPA Photographer/Artist of the Year. Sarah was the only artist to appear on the top ten list of all seven jury members and continued to inspire the judges right through to our final choice. We are absolutely thrilled to award such an original, talented and technically brilliant artist with our most prestigious prize. We anticipate that the mobile community will be incredibly proud that such artistry graces our medium, Sarah’s work is truly remarkable in it’s own right and like all great artists, her chosen medium, an iPhone, is merely a tool she bends to serve her vision as an artist and photographer.

We wish to extend a hearty congratulations to our runner-up Helen Breznik, to each of our ten finalists and to all of the category winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions. We thank all of you who submitted to the MPA this year. We wouldn’t exist without each and every one of you who create the work that constitutes our amazing art-form.

Included here are statements from several of our judge’s on the impact Sarah’s work had on the jury:

Daniel Berman: Her “Cool Britannia” series (included below) is an impressive collection of insights into youth culture in the UK – taken together, I see a generation’s worth of journeys, the desire for acceptance, a seeker’s motivation for meaning within the context of fashion and music and the friction between social acceptance/personal expression. Above all, I see a window into a kind of celebration of misfits whose eyes are vivid yet who hide behind sartorial creativity in their eternal search for identity. I think her work in this regard may be the most cohesive expression I’ve ever seen in the mobile arts. She also has carved out an utterly unmistakable and original visual style unlike any other working in the genre.

Her ability to capture timeless expressions in a photograph and bring them to an entirely new level of visual creativity with exceptional technique makes Sarah, in my eyes, the most exciting artist working in our medium today.

Misho Baranovic: With a clarity of vision and exquisite technical skill, Sarah Jarrett is a deserving winner of this year’s MPA Photographer/Artist of the Year Award. Sarah is one of the new generation of mobile artists who continue to blur the lines between photography and painting.

Her bold color palette and pared back stroke adds an intimacy to her portraiture. Jarrett’s Cool Britannia portrait series is impressive in it’s ability to offer an insight into individual expression while providing a broader commentary on the importance of British counter culture through the decades.

I keep going back to Jarret’s “Boy about Town’ portrait, a young man in mod clothing and a WHO patch, back straight, chin up. His stare encapsulates Jarrett’s work, a challenge to the establishment: mobile photography and art has arrived.

Andy Royston: I’m absolutely delighted that Sarah Jarrett is our Mobile Photography Awards Photographer/Artist of the year. More than any artist in the last year she’s produced work that’s made me stop to take in her striking, beautifully composed and deftly colored work.

This year has seen mobile artists emerge who show a keen appreciation of older photographic and art techniques. There’s something familiar in Sarah’s pieces that pay subtle homage to mediaeval art, Japanese Ukiyo-e and contemporary illustration.

Her portraits are moving and funny by turns and her use of color in photographic landscapes is exemplary; she’s developed a way of flattening perspectives and creating layouts that feel timeless like a 19th Century painting. I’ve spent many weeks trying to find a way to do this in my own landscape work, and frankly she’s superb at this. She has a great sense of color control; when to reign it back, when to let it free, and when to create a splash.

Sarah is a most worthy winner.

Daria Polichetti: Jarrett’s work has emerged as a strong new voice in the mobile arts. From delicately rendered botanicals to sparse landscapes to abstracted portraits, she has a wide range—but her portraits in particular stand out. Rendered against bright color fields, her subjects are isolated and altered in a manner that evokes early 20th century expressionist painters. Individually, each piece seeks to define the character and emotional qualities of the subject, while together they begin to paint the portrait of a larger group: individual but connected.

Jarrett’s work may not be traditional when viewed in the context of photography itself, but it follows a long tradition of abstract and expressionist painting as well as the more contemporary digital arts, making it an interesting example of how successfully the mobile arts have begun to expand beyond the boundaries of pure photography.

She is also an excellent colorist. She has a good eye for capturing emotion in her initial shots, and her touch is expressive and free. In the end, color, texture and linework all combine together to merge her photography and painting in a seamless, evocative way while highlighting emotion, character and story in each portrait.

Please enjoy the following selection of Sarah’s work as entered in the MPA. We have also included in the gallery a set of her recent work in order to celebrate Sarah’s artistry and expose the community to a more complete vision of her outstanding portfolio.

You can see a slideshow of some of Sarah’s work on the App Whisperer