Shot Through the Heart


I'm the kind of girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. So much so, sometimes it gets me in trouble. My style of photography, I believe, encompasses who I am as a person and also as a photographer. It's almost a never-ending question—as in life—I'm extremely curious and inquisitive.

"Who, what, how and why?" I love to find out what makes people who they are. I love to connect. My style of photography can be defined as street portraiture or street photography, but I prefer the term, "Realism." I enjoy concentrating on the human moment.

Baby Dreads, Aruba, February 2010

Celebrating Life

I'm a hopeless romantic and a sensitive person. Even when, perhaps, photographing a subject whom others may be afraid of, such as a drug user (with 7" knife in pocket—true story!) or someone with a disgruntled look about them, I choose to see the good in everyone. Behind the using, there is a person with a heart who may have had rough breaks in life and made a huge wrong turn. It's not for me to judge. I feel my work is not about judging people; it's about celebrating people. We are all so unique. Perhaps that's why I'm so attracted to the term "Realism." It's about finding the soul behind the exterior of what we see daily on the street. 

Purple Haze, Portugal, June 2010

The Eyes Have It

I like to capture the real person, not the person whom we try to be in our daily lives, behind the masks we wear. When I "catch" somebody, and only them, it truly is special. I know that moment, the moment when eyes lock with my eyes, through the lens, my vision. As soon as I press the button and I hear the loud audible shutter slap of my trusty Mamiya 645 , I know whether I captured that moment or not. I feel a rush when I know I got it, or perhaps disappointment in myself that I couldn't connect. I want to tell the subject's story. It's an openness I'm looking for, as if I (or my lens) know them better than anyone in this world. 


Bearded Lady, Madeira, June 2010

Old School

Yes, I'm old school. I shoot film, usually 120 film. Yes, I know we live in a digital age. I truly believe digital is an amazing medium and I use it for personal shots or commercial projects, but for my street photography, I wouldn't dream of it. Could I get more bang for my buck? Sure. Could I potentially shoot a lot more in a day? Sure. But would it be as special to me? No. To me, there is a romance in using film. It not only looks more authentic—as if I could reach in and touch the person—but it slows down my process. It makes me think and savor each shot more, really think about my exposure, think about the framing. I have 16 shots on a roll of 120. I try to make each and every one special. I don't take two or three shots of each person, perhaps two at most. I usually feel I can catch the moment in one shot. There is nothing like viewing the negatives for the first time; there is a wait involved. A huge anticipation. Don't the best things come to those who wait?

Girl, Dutch Caribbean, February 2010

I'm new to the B&H Insights community and am thrilled to be a part of it. I will be delving into more details on the subject of street photography and street portraiture in the near future. 

Sara Louise Petty is a New York-based fashion designer and most importantly, mother. Always a lover of photograhy and the arts, she picked up a plastic toy Holga camera and started to experiment with analog photography. Although the Holga produced (and still produces) some of her most moving images, she moved on to 35mm and medium-format cameras.

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Thank you so much, Pierre!  I really appreciate the feedback.

Kind regards


excellent and inspiring article, and superb portaits. excellent work


So true about you through your photographs, Sara: the “human moment:” those 2 words are a good summary of you when I see those pictures. They come from your heart. You are right.
Daniele Arnaud

Thanks so much Steve. That is so flattering! I'm glad you liked my article/work.

Please feel free to find me on Facebook and look out for future B&H Insights posts.

Kindest regards,


 Awesome, awesome, awesome. I'm now a huge fan. Thx for posting!

Thank you Jennifer! I really liked your article and work also. 


Sara, Great portraits and wonderful article. It's refreshing to see this kind of work on B&H Insights.

 Hi Tom, 

I'm mostly using a Mamiya 645AF these days. 

I found that with too many cameras I was not able to really get to know one that well, and feel 'at one' with the camera. I do like the Auto Focus feature on the Mamiya also, which is great for faster work in street photography. I also sometimes use a Nikon SLR, a Hasselblad and a Holga or Diana.

I'm glad the strap worked out but definitely check B&H too! :-)


Thanks so much for posting this link to more of my work. This was a fun article, featuring a little of what I do, and a some fun personal stuff. 

All the best,


John Sebastian Here.

Publisher of

We featured Sara's work this past December and it was a great success

So many people responded to it that we couldnt keep up with the emails

Here is a link to the feature let me know what you think''

Congratulations Sara your a great artist!!!


I think this may be the strap that was on the Rollei.



Hi Tom, 

It was a used Rollei, and the strap came with it. Sorry I cannot be more help. Did you check B&H? They do have a huge amount of straps, I bought a great one for my Mamiya from here. If you are anywhere near NYC it's great to go there in person and try them out. 

Thanks so much for your comments on my work! 

All the best


Hi Sara,

Just read your wonderfull article about your fantastic street photography. Such tremendous vitality in your work. Keep up doing what you love!

However, I'm also posting this as I'm looking for a better camera strap for my Rollei 3.5. I liked your strap as it appears to be wider for better comfort. Would you be so kind as to tell me where you got your strap?

I thank you for your interest in my needs.


 Thank you everyone! I will google you, Alan. Thanks Joan for joining my facebook fan page also. 


 Hooked before I even viewed all the photos, and bookmarked you immediately. I am new in photography and this too is how I view the world and recognize this journey. Would that we all lived more compassionately and dared to empathize with everyone we meet? Even and especially, those 'society' deems 'unsavory'. I will be following your work most definitely. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement.

 well your work is amazing, I have just started to really dive into this art form with all my heart has to offer.  I would love you to critique how I see the photographic world.  I have a group page on facebook where i post my edited and unedited work.  I hope you give it a look you can just google my name alan scherer I appreciate the opportunity to see your work.