British twin sisters, Sarah (Photographer) and Sally (Art Director) were raised in rural England and Scotland. To inform themselves culturally, Sally and Sarah spent much of their childhood and art school years secretly relying on a crackling radio, untuned T.V.s, passed around mixtapes and discovering international magazines.
Enter BLAG. Sally and Sarah created BLAG – initially as a xeroxed ‘zine, at art college, using the wages they made from their Saturday job. The sisters grew it to become an international glossy, choosing up-and-comers for covers and features ahead of the curve. They produced in-depth, down-to-earth editorial content leaning into humour and kindness, unveiling an empathetical viewpoint not often seen. Over the years, the duo have produced and created hundreds of original shoots and interviews.
The sisters also took modelling jobs and worked in music publicity. Sarah often found herself close to some of the world’s leading music and fashion photographers, “As many sessions were minimal on time, I gladly offered to assist rather than watch, when I could.”
When Sarah and Sally were photographed by Corinne Day for the cover of Placebo’s ‘Without You I’m Nothing’, Sarah decided to take her love of photography further. “I was ecstatic about being asked to do the shoot because Corinne Day was so well loved for her images of Kate Moss,” says Sarah.
“I thought, wow, Sally and I will look as cool as Kate! But I realised that day, no matter what level of technical skill you have, making subjects feel right for the image is key,” she explains.
Mixing these experiences with her dreams for BLAG made Sarah look at photography differently, “Sally and I went on to figure out all the elements we could bring to our shoots from our own experiences. We devised principles to stick by, which nicely balance serious and fun — quickly getting to know subjects as best as possible and making sure they feel good and are respected. At the same time, keeping the focus off that absolute self-consciousness, we always bring music and humour to the set. Creating the right atmosphere can transform the location, whether an empty studio or somewhere more lavish. Although many of my photographs show a seriousness, the experiences between are filled with laughter.”
Sarah and Sally believe making striking images are born out of bringing critical ingredients to each session; humour, storytelling, respect, down-to-earth scene setting and specifically created soundtracks.
The duo’s ethos is that each shoot portrays subjects naturally. They take an organic approach, with zero to little in the way of retouching and essential lighting only. Sarah uses singular spotlights usually reserved for film sets or natural light and focuses on creating the right atmosphere.
Sarah has also been commissioned to shoot for Rolling Stone, i-D, Dazed and N.M.E. She shot Beastie Boys, ‘Awesome, I Shot That’ sleeve and one of Evisu jeans first advertising campaigns in Europe.
The twins’ portraits feature some of the world’s most admired artists from Beastie Boys, OutKast, Franz Ferdinand, N.E.R.D., Joshua Homme, Broken Bells, Slash, Justice, Amy Winehouse and many more. Presented on www.blag.london, a series of portraits features intimate images of inspirational musicians, actors, directors and models, including Helen McCrory, Rinko Kikuchi, Kelly Rowland, Amerie, Ciara, Nelly Furtado, Anne-Marie Duff, Bella Dayne, Gillian Anderson, Sofia Boutella and more.