'Sensations of Summer'
In Conversation with Joanna and Sarah Halpin
Endless days, dappled water, clothes clinging to your skin—these are the sensations of summer. For High Summer ‘22, we take a trip to New York with sisters Joanna and Sarah Halpin as they capture a voyeuristic account of summertime. In this interview, we talk to the duo about what defines summer for them.
Words: Katie Cazalet-Smith
Images: Joanna and Sarah Halpin
Aeyde: What defines summer for you?
Joanna: We’re in New York at the moment, and the seasons can change from one day to the next. It was snowing only a week or so ago and then out of nowhere you’re suddenly immersed in the height of summer. We both welcome the warmth and light that spring into summer brings and the feeling of thawing out.
Sarah: One of the silver linings of the pandemic meant that bars and restaurants here were able to extend their outdoor dining onto the streets of New York—something that has thankfully remained! To us, this felt so reminiscent of the atmosphere in European cities, which was such a comfort and familiarity to experience in a time where we weren’t able to travel.
A: Where in the world do you most like to spend a summer’s day?
SH: We’re originally from Cornwall, (South West England), so we grew up swimming in the ocean and spending most summers playing on the beach, either at home or on vacation in Europe. Although we now live between London and New York, there’s such an attachment to these early memories and an association with what I want summer to feel like.
JH: I couldn’t agree more.
A: You are sisters but also a creative duo—what about the season inspires you?
JH: Natural light plays a huge role in our photography style, so we love it when the days get a little longer, a little more golden, and we have more time and flexibility to shoot.
A: You’re known for producing imagery that feels real and tactile. What draws you to this style?
SH: We’ve always gravitated towards imagery that doesn’t feel too literal or produced. I think I'm a fairly quiet and introverted person by nature. So this way of working—of seeing the world and noticing those quieter, more intimate moments—feels entirely intuitive.
JH: We love capturing the smaller moments or vignettes that capture something that is already there, rather than manipulating a situation to ‘feel’ a certain way.