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Check Out Sally Davies’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sally Davies.

Sally Davies

Hi Sally, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I moved from Canada to New York in 1983 and took Allen Ginsberg’s old apartment. I still live in the East Village with my dog Bun and split my time between the East and West Coast.

I am a street photographer whose works are in the Museum of the City of New York and the NYC 9/11 Memorial Museum. I am the author of the McDonalds Happy Meal project (1.5 million online hits), and my photo archive is part of the Downtown Collection of Fales Library at New York University. In 2014, my “Lower East Side Photographs” were exhibited at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York City, with a 2nd solo exhibit, “New York at Night” that followed on June 4, 2015. In 2014, I received a citation from the city of New York for my ongoing commitment to photographing the Lower East Side.

Sometime around 2019, I decided to shift the camera from outside to inside. It was time to photograph the New Yorkers at home. That photo project became my first book, “New Yorkers” (Ammonite Pub UK). After the success of that book, I knew I was heading west to document Californians at home. That project became my recently released book “California Dreamers” (Ammonite Pub UK)

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Life isn’t a smooth road for anyone. Every type of life has ups and downs. Artists have challenges that are particular to that life; how to get the work out into the world and into the collections of like-minded people. When I was just starting out, there was also the unspoken issue of being a woman in a business that represented mostly male artists. Then, how to pay the bills while relentlessly working on my craft, trying to get good, knowing that no matter how good I got, I would never command the same sales prices as my male counterparts. Things are changing. Minorities and marginalized artists are finally getting a shot. It’s still not enough, but it’s a start.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I graduated college with a degree in painting, and I minored in photography. I have photographed ever since I was about 14. I have continued to do both my entire life. I think each genre is good for the other. My first show in New York City was at OK Harris Gallery, owned by the famous Ivan Karp, who discovered Roy Lichtenstein, so I was pretty happy to have a show there. From there, I moved to the East Village art scene and joined the Gracie Mansion Gallery, one of the very first East Village galleries back in the early 80’s. Those were exciting times. Sometime around 2000, I had my first solo show of photographs and have been on that path ever since. My archive is mostly fine art- street photography, with the recent addition of the portrait books; New Yorkers, and now California Dreamers.

What are your plans for the future?
I have never had a Plan B. Things just roll out in my life according to some universal plan. So far, so good. I love California and spend half my time here. I want to get a gallery here or a rep of some kind. Project-wise, anything is possible right now. I would like to do a 3rd book of Americans at Home – not sure which city yet, and ideas for new paintings are percolating.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
All photos are ©Sally Davies

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