Sarah Jones

I have been photographing therapy rooms since 1997. The idea came when I was studying for my fine art MA. I was struck by the use of psychoanalytical theories in discussions of art, especially since these theories were – and still are – used to treat patients. So I decided to photograph places of analysis and bring them into the gallery.

Sarah Jones first gained international attention in the late 1990’s for her large-scale photographs of psychoanalysts’ couches and her studies of three young women pictured in domestic settings, seen moving through adolescence to early adulthood. Jones’ subsequent works have further drawn attention to a relationship played out between subject, location and photographer. This can be seen in her composed photographs of life models, and young female actors, shot in both studio and on location. Across her more recent works, Jones’ use of the cinematic lighting technique of day for night on location has built a compressed photographic realm where her subjects, seemingly emerging from an inky black photographic night, make distinct her visual language. She is interested in the ‘encounter’, in photographic space, and in an approximation of to-life scale of her subjects in her exhibition prints. Jones’ recent diptychs suggest the viewing of stereographic prints and reference the Rorschach inkblot test. Her subjects, including formal urban rose gardens, a groomed black horse, and an ornate iron screen, are seen from front and back, some flipped and reversed.


Jones’ ongoing Cabinet works with found objects – still lives made with mathematical precision – refer to the Cabinet of Curiosities. These displays by collectors, popular in the 1700’s, reflected a growing interest in natural history, displaying a collectors ‘theatre of the world’.  A museum vitrine, a cabinet, is a glass case intended to display items to aid closer scrutiny. In Jones’ work, the photograph is uniquely framed conceptually as such, as a cabinet.


Recent solo shows include Hall of Mirrors, Maureen Paley, London (2021); Sarah Jones: The Pleasure Gardens, Weinstein Hammons Gallery, Minneapolis (2019); Anton Kern Gallery, New York (2018); Minneapolis Institute of Arts (2013); Sarah Jones: Photographs, National Media Museum, Bradford (2007), where she was Fellow in Photography; Huis Marseille, Foundation for Photography, Amsterdam (2000); Museum Folkwang Essen (1999); and Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid (1999). She has exhibited in group shows worldwide, including Dulwich Picture Gallery, London; Guildhall Art Gallery, London; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate, London; The National Gallery, London; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Caixa Forum Madrid and Caixa Forum, Barcelona. Public collections include Tate Gallery, London, UK; The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Arts Council of England, London, UK; The National Media Museum, Bradford, USA; The Government Art Collection, UK; Museum Folkwang Essen; Galeria Civica, Modena; FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais and Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco among others.


She is a Reader in photography at The Royal College of Art and is represented by Maureen Paley London, and Anton Kern Gallery, New York.


A monograph on her work was published by Violette Editions in October 2013.