Sabrina Haley Bio

There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist). I recognize documentary style photography to be my mission.

A compelling photograph evokes thought and crystallizes in the viewer's mind and memory. I want to document how my subject sees their world, instead of how an outsider would perceive their world.

Through my lens others can speak, through my lens others can listen, through my lens a conversation that could lead to action is created.
My whole life has been a series of steps preparing me to become a documentary photographer. It began the first time I picked up an old Nikon manual camera and captured my first image. My passion for photographing people versus the landscape images that my father photographed became clear at a young age. In an exceptional middle school Social Studies class I became aware of the social injustice and tragedy of apartheid in South Africa. That awareness led to my concern for underrepresented and struggling communities in my own town and throughout the world.

My professional work within the social and human services has further defined my path. From showing slide shows in the Alzheimer's section of a Santa Barbara retirement home, to teaching Oakland's inner city children how to read, I have learned that there are compelling voices needing to be heard. If these voices are left behind we are in danger of the next generation inheriting their problematic history.

My educational background includes a B. A. in Communication Studies, extensive photography courses from Brooks Institute and the San Francisco City College Photo Program, and lastly a graduate certificate from the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies and Field Research.

My professional photography background includes being the staff photographer for the Westmont Horizon, assistant photographer for the Hayward Tribune, a photographer and web intern for a San Francisco non-profit homeless outreach organization, and a Communications Representative and Photojournalist for a Ugandan based organization in Kampala, Uganda.  I have also completed the work-scholar program at the Aperture Foundation where I worked in Traveling Exhibitions and implemented a program to market the Limited Print collection to corporate collectors and buyers. 

I have shot editorial assignments for Physic’s Today, travel web sites, and promotional material for Incentives to Intrigue, hotels, and fashion designers. I shoot unique portraits of up and coming comedians, actresses, and performers. I continue to shoot freelance editorial assignments while working on long-term independent documentary projects. I also enjoy taking my documentary lens and applying it to shooting beautiful humanistic style weddings capturing the true emotion and joy of the day and people involved.

My eyes and lens will face out to the world so that others can speak, listen, and respond.