Born and raised in Boston, Sarah Hadley had a very unusual home life. When she was just four years old, her father became the Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and her family moved into the apartment on the 4th floor which Mrs. Gardner had built for herself. Hadley spent the next 19 years living in a Venetian palazzo surrounded by Gardner’s eclectic collection of classic and renaissance artwork and furnishings.
Hadley went on to study Art History and Italian at Georgetown University and Photography at the Corcoran College of Art. She interned at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy and later worked at the Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress. She lived in Chicago for twelve years and founded the Filter Photo Festival in 2009.
Hadley was named one of the “jeunes talents” by Le Monde at the Fotofever Art Fair in Paris in 2015. She has also exhibited internationally at the Porto Photo Festival (Portugal), the Lishui Photo Festival (China), the Worldwide Photography Biennial (Buenos Aires) and the Ballarat Festival (Australia). She has had solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Boston, MA), the Loyola Museum of Art (Chicago, IL), Afterimage Gallery (Dallas, TX), and Fabrik Projects Gallery (Los Angeles, CA). Hadley’s work has also been featured in publications and online blogs including Elle Italia, PDN, L’Oeil de la Photographie, ArtTribune, Shots Magazine, Lenscratch.com, B+W Magazine (UK), Don’t Take Pictures and F-Stop Magazine. She has received grants from the California Center for Cultural Innovation, the Illinois Arts Council, and several fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation. Hadley currently lives and works in Los Angeles and her first monograph Lost Venice will be published by Damiani Editore in 2020.
Venice, Italy is a haunting, surreal and mysterious place with a storied past. Its seemingly endless maze of passageways and canals have fascinated me since I was a child. And while most people visit Venice and see only its overwhelming beauty, I see a dark and sadder side as well. I see a city clinging to a bygone era and splendor and I see a Venetian way of life that is rapidly changing while its foundations are eroding. For me, the city is also haunted with memories of my childhood and the loss of my father.
I chose Venice because of my long history with the city – one that began when I was four years old in Boston, and my family moved to a replica of a Venetian Palace – the Gardner Museum. We lived in the Director’s apartment above the museum for most of my childhood. We traveled to Venice often for my father’s work and I lived and worked there in my twenties. The sadness in these photographs is about death of my father, who died suddenly when I was 25, and it is also my feelings about the loss of my childhood home, that Venetian Palace, and about the fragility and impermanence of things.
August 24, 2017