While artist-in-residence at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, I photographed one hundred objects used in the practice of witchcraft, enabling the objects to emerge from the darkness. Reflecting on this process, I found parallels with photographic practice. In witchcraft, magic is practiced to bring about transformation and sometimes objects are made or charged with magical intent for this purpose. Similarly, the photographic process can transform objects, images and ideas that contribute to its meaning. I became fascinated to explore how light and darkness define and articulate our relationship to enchantment and if this mechanism can be employed to suggest narrative and significance. The photographs are rites of evocation in which I investigate intersections between photography and esoteric philosophies. Because photography seizes and preserves, the images are inevitably associated with history while the approach explores the creative and magical potentials of representing the past to the present.
Sara Hannant is a photographer and artist best known for her images exploring magic, myth and folklore. Her work has been widely exhibited including at The Royal Society of Arts, Christie’s and Towner Art Gallery. She has produced two books, Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year (Merrell 2011) about the contemporary practice of ancient seasonal rites, which is also a Horniman Museum touring exhibition, and Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (Strange Attractor Press 2016) co-authored with Simon Costin, resulting from of her artist residency at the museum.