Waterman’s interdisciplinary arts practice and research is concerned with the interpretation of literature into an elusive form of self-portraiture. She creates autobiographical experimental video and photographic works that explore issues of memory, place and familial relationships, drawing upon writers such as Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Derek Jarman.
She re-invents the source material through a fragmentary re-scripting exercise, seeking associations with certain images, themes, characters or concepts. Consequently, the chosen literary text functions as a mechanism for the re-imagining of memory. By staging the self in this way, difficult, yet universal experiences of illness, conflict, loss and separation are illuminated through adaptation. Waterman’s interventions with the archive and family album, and interest in storytelling allow for her to engage with notions of home, identity, performativity and self-representation through her recalled visual narratives.
She received an MA Image & Communication from Goldsmiths, University of London in 1996. Her practice-based PhD research, supervised by Professor Liz Wells (‘Visualising The Waste Land: Discovering a Praxis of Adaptation’, University of Plymouth, 2004-2010), used T.S Eliot’s 1922 poem as an explorative text to examine her interpretative methods, culminating in a collection of photographic and video installations. Through the employment of staged re-enactments, metaphorical landscapes and subversive modernist film techniques, the Waste Land project became an attempt to work through the marital breakdown and divorce of her parents.
Sally joined UCA Rochester as an associate lecturer in 2017 and became a senior lecturer and Year 2 Leader for BA Photography & Fashion Photography in February 2021. She has formerly lectured at Plymouth College of Art, University of Plymouth and Ravensbourne, London across photography, film, media arts, fashion promotion courses. She has been employed as a part time archive manager for the German fashion and fine art photographer, Juergen Teller since 2009 and has previously worked as an archivist for Pentagram Design and the National Portrait gallery, London. Commercially, Sally’s photographs have been published by clients such as Virago, Random House, Harper Collins and Faber & Faber for a variety of book covers through Millennium Images Ltd, who have represented her since 1996.
She has exhibited extensively, including Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham; Nottingham Castle Museum, Wolverhampton Gallery, York Art Gallery, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales; Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery, London; Royal West of England Academy, Bristol; MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and Turner Contemporary, Margate. Her films have been screened at numerous international festivals, such as Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York; Berlin Experimental Film Festival; The Family Film Project International Film Festival, Porto, Portugal and the 19th International Kansk Video Festival/SOPROMAT-TV, Russia. She has co-curated artist film programmes at Birkbeck cinema, London; ViSiONA festival, Huesca, Spain; Close-Up cinema, London and CCA, Glasgow. Her work is held in public collections including The National Art Library at the V&A, London; Tate Library, London and the Yale Center for
British Art, New York, as well as universities such as Goldsmiths, Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Denver and The School of Art Institute of Chicago.
Published works include ‘Performing Familial Memory in Against’ in Picturing the Family: Media, Narrative, Memory, edited by Silke Arnold-de Simine and Joanne Leal (Bloomsbury, 2018) and ‘Re-imagining the Family Album through Literary Adaptation’ in Global Photographies: Memory–History–Archives, edited by Sissy Helff and Stefanie Michels, (Transcript, 2018).
She was a visiting fellow at the IGRS, University of London (2011-2012), where she organised the ‘Family Ties: Recollection and Representation’ conference. As a founder member of the subsequent research group, Family Ties Network, she has organised and hosted a number of symposium, research seminar events and screenings across the UK.