Books

Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. By Sara Hannant & Simon Costin.

Published by STRANGE ATTRACTOR PRESS Halloween, 2016, £25 paperback, £35 hardback and £50 special editions.

 

“Sara’s pictures are rites of evocation… a radically new and exciting approach to the work of representing the past to the present.”  Ronald Hutton

One hundred objects, exuding magic and mystery, emerge from the darkness of Cornwall’s much loved Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in this book of haunting photographs. Artist and photographer Sara Hannant has captured the very essence of these carefully selected artifacts, which include wax dolls, wands, statues, daggers, pendants, robes and amulets, all used in the practice of witchcraft and magic. Some have been displayed at the museum for years; others have long been hidden in its archives.  Each striking image tells its own vivid tale of belief and ceremonial practice. Accompanying the photographs are informative texts from Sara Hannant and Museum director Simon Costin, as well as an illuminating introduction by the leading historian of British witchcraft and magic, Ronald Hutton.

Shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2017

Honorary Winner International Photography Awards 2017  

Honorary Winner Moscow International Foto Awards 2017

“Spellbinding selection”  Atlas Obscura

“Allows the individuality of each unique object to speak with eloquence”  The Learned Pig

“A feast for the eyes and mind” Arnolfini Bookshop

“Photographer works her own magic at the Museum of Witchcraft”  The Wild Hunt

“This is a unique book…  each striking image tells its own vivid tale of belief and ceremonial practice”  Meyn Mamvro

“Of Shadows is intriguing.  The positioning of the subjects doesn’t detract from their mysterious nature and yet conveys a great deal of objective information.  The captions are very informative and help to add to the experience of viewing these unique pieces.”  Lens Culture

“Very informative – and the photographs are amazing”  A Bad Witch’s Blog

“A beautiful new book… satisfyingly square-shaped, full-colour, and impeccably designed, making it a rather totemic object unto itself”  Phantasmaphile

“Revealing many fascinating aspects of folklore and tradition” The Countryman

“Creepy and brilliant”  London Review Bookshop

Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through the English Ritual Year
by Sara Hannant. Published by Merrell, 2011

Runner-up The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award in 2012

“These photographs are fabulous, and the author has clearly taken the time to find out what these customs mean to their participants. Her consideration of revived, invented and semi-institutional customs alongside the ‘traditional’ is welcome, and the whole is backed with a sober and thoughtful text.”  The Folklore Society

“Sara Hannant’s remarkable photographs convey, with joy and compassion, the mystery, charm and exuberance of traditional English ritual.”  Shirley Collins, President of the English Folk Dance and Song Society

“Sara has a rare gift for capturing peak moments in such celebrations … the human participants emerge as vivid characters in their own right, adding depth to the drama and humour of the local seasonal rites in which they are involved”  Professor Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol

“Wonderful photographs – funny, moving, lovely and very human” Mali Morris RA

“Folklore, myth and tradition mingle”  The Guardian

“The pictures are artistic, stylish, insightful, intimate and thoughtful.” Fact and Fiction

“Full of wonderful photos” A Bad Witch’s Blog

“Hannant’s charming and informative photo essay brings to life this quintessentially English obsession…and she captures the warmth, drama, humour and emotion of these quaint events with an artist’s eye” F22 (Eyes Wide Open)

“Hannant’s eye-catching, reportage-style photographs capture the mystery and eccentricity of customs which are for her integral to the cultural identity of present-day England”  The Countryman

“In this fantastic book… you get a real glimpse of what it was like to be there; jostled by crowds at the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, or listening to the clink and rustle of the saucy milkmaids, decked out in silverware, who parade with the Deptford Jack. The images are compelling, at once capturing the vividness, excitement and mystery of these events” Pagan Dawn

“A gifted and inspired photographer, Sara Hannant shows us just ‘how we do it’ today… A visual jewel of delight” The Goddess and Green Man

“Hannant’s vibrant images reveal her keen eye for the unexpected, offering a captivating and surprising glimpse of contemporary ‘Merrie England” British Photographic History Blog

“Highly recommended” The Cauldron

“Sara Hannant’s beautiful new book …is an attractive celebration of a wide range of seasonal observation. It deserves to be seen widely and enjoyed”  Humphrey With His Flail Blog

“Sara Hannant’s photographs of English folk customs capture the eternity of tradition and the spectacular force of movement contained in group celebrations. From Ottery St Mary’s blazing tar barrels to the colourful greenery of Deptford’s Green Man, Hannant shows with dramatic vividness how the Wheel of the Year keeps spinning even when so many of us have forgotten its pagan ancestry” Abraxas: International Journal of Esoteric Studies

Folk Horror Revival: Urban Wyrd

Published 27th June by Wyrd Harvest Press.  Welcome to the Urban Wyrd. Discover Hauntology, Weird Technology & Transport, Hauntings and much much more in the realms of TV, Film, Literature, Art, Culture, Lore and Life. Travel in time and spaces with Adam Scovell, Stephen Volk, Scarfolk, Julianne Regan, Sebastian Backziewicz, Sara Hannant, The Black Meadow and many other contributors. All sales profits from this book purchased from Lulu bookstore are donated at intervals to The Wildlife Trusts.

Imbolc celebration, Marsden, West Yorkshire.  

The new book Birch (Reaktion Books 2018) by the ethnobotanist Anna Lewington includes my photograph of an Imbolc celebration in West Yorkshire.

Elegant and beautiful, rich in history and supremely useful, birches (Betula spp.) have played an extraordinary yet largely unrecognized part in shaping both our natural environment and the material culture and beliefs of millions of people around the world. For thousands of years they have given people of the northern forests and beyond raw materials in the form of leaves, twigs, branches and bark, as well as wood and sap, not simply to survive but to flourish and express their identity in practical and spiritual ways. Tough, water-proof and flexible, birch bark has been used for everything from basketry and clothing to housing and transport, musical instruments and medicines, as well as the means to communicate and record sacred beliefs: some of our most ancient Buddhist texts and other historic documents are written on birch bark scrolls.

The The Seasons: Art of the Unfolding Year

By Steve Marshall and Gil Clarke

This catalogue accompanies a unique exhibition at St Barbe Museum celebrating seasonal change as portrayed by British artists over the last 100 years. The seasonal cycle has long been a source of inspiration for artists, writers and musicians but in recent times our mainly urban and digitally-focused society has become increasingly remote from the natural rhythms of the year. At a time when nature is threatened by climate change, pollution, development and declining fertility this exhibition serves as a timely reminder of the joys and critical importance of nature’s cycle. It will also resonate with those for whom lockdown provided an unexpected opportunity to connect once again with the onset of spring.