Honorable Mention / 2018 / Press / Feature Story

Beckon Us From Home

  • Photographer
    Sarah Blesener
  • Credit
    This work was funded by the Alexia Foundation and CatchLight Fellowship in partnership with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The dual messages of "America first" and "Americanism" can be
found not only at the forefront of current political movements, but
in the pages of literature and education taught at camps and clubs
across the United States, where thousands of youth are choosing
to spend their free time. While “Americanism” is a concept that has
been around for decades, I am defining this “new Americanism” as
a renewed embrace of the centuries-old theme of American
exceptionalism and manifest destiny.

In patriotic camps and clubs around the United States, roughly
400,00 American 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 is a documentary photographer based in New York City. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she studied Linguistics and Youth Development at North Central University. While in 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 youth movements and culture in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the United States. She is a recent recipient of the Alexia Foundation grant for her 2017 work in the United States, and a current fellow with Catchlight, working with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. She is also one of Anastasia Photo Gallery's Emerging Photographers.

Awards Alexia Foundation Professional Grant Recipient, CatchLight Fellowship Recipient, Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographer