Sarah Blesener was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She studied Linguistics and Youth Development at North Central University. While at 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 issues of youth culture and movements, focusing on Russia, Eastern Europe and the United States.
BECKON US FROM HOME
“Always remember, you are soldiers of God. And nobody in the entire history of the world has ever been as free as you are right now.” —Opening words from Utah Patriot Camp
In patriot camps and clubs around the United States, roughly 400,000 children are taught annually, often with military subtext, what it means to be an American. Here, in this microcosm of a changing nation, youth straddle the vulnerability of adolescence and the simultaneous stripping of individuality. Sarah Blesener’s ongoing work examines the interplay of religion, love of country, and military-style training in the teaching of ‘New Americanism’ amongst youth.
Topic: Becoming Private Nelson
PhotoWings: Sarah Blesener Interview
Reveal, Center for Investigative Reporting: Youth camps shape new generations with patriotism, pushups and prayer
New York Times: Coming of Age Amid Patriotic Training
PDN's 30 Under 30: OUR CHOICE OF NEW AND EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHERS TO WATCH
INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2017: Grand Prize Winner
National Geographic Photography: A New Generation of Kids Learns to Live Like Soldiers
The California Sunday Magazine: Border Agents in Training
Zeke Magazine: Toy Soldiers: Rising Nationalism Among Youth in Russia
Reveal: Meet our Fellow
The Guardian: War Games: Russia's Young Cadets on Parade