Sara Rawlinson is both scientist and artist. She grew up in Minnesota, USA, working throughout her childhood alongside her photographer grandmother in the dark room. Sara went on to have a very successful research and academic career, taking a PhD in Seismology and Earth Sciences and subsequently running a Masters degree course in Natural Hazards at the Australian National University. Throughout her career, she continued to take art classes and eventually left the academic world to pursue her love of photography.
Sara relocated to the other side of the world and, inspired by the beauty of the Cairngorms in her new Scottish home, she became more interested in landscape photography. Now, having moved to Cambridge nearly a year ago, she has turned her lens on to Cambridge college libraries, with the aim of making some of the hidden parts of Cambridge more visible. “It’s the knowledge contained within those walls,” Sara tells me “and that these historic buildings have preserved and disseminated that knowledge for so long.” As well as wider shots, Sara particularly likes to concentrate on tiny details of structures within the libraries such as radiator grilles, bolts, shelving systems and their numbering.
50% of the opening night proceeds from this exhibition will be donated to the World Literacy Foundation, a global not-for-profit organisation that works to lift young people out of poverty through the power of literacy. That same night (2 October), there will also be a Silent Auction of two of Sara’s framed photographs with 100% of the winning bids going to the Foundation.
“Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” runs from 2 – 14 October at Michaelhouse in Trinity Street, a beautiful converted 14th century church. On 7 October, Sara will be running a photography workshop, looking at details of this historic building and giving participants a chance to share their photos and talk, maybe whilst enjoying some food from the excellent Michaelhouse cafe.
For those who are wondering, Sara hasn’t turned her back on science entirely ….. along the way, she fell in love with an Australian seismologist and (to paraphrase!) reader, she married him.
Michaelhouse, Trinity Street, Cambridge CB2 1SU