Sarah Lim’s latest promo is just the cutest. There’s really no other way to describe it. Inspired by Valentine’s Day and old school Valentines with hand-lettering and packaging, Sarah designed a “thaumatrope,” a 19th century optical illusion toy that, when spun, seems to blend the images on each side into one.
Sarah demonstrating the thaumatrope.
The Austin, Texas photographer crafted each one by hand and sent them out to dozens of creatives. Her goal was to make something interactive that people would want to talk about, share and keep on their desks.
I’m kind of nerdy and I especially like old, mechanical things. A thaumatrope was one of these old, 19th century optical illusion toys that plays with the idea of the persistence of vision, which is one of the first concepts video and motion pictures were based on. So when you twirl a thaumatrope, you see both images in one; your brain just fills in the gaps… I made them before as a kid and thought the idea could translate the same for a photograph.
The fun images and the idea of sending out a “toy” perfectly represent Sarah’s style:
I’m usually pretty silly. I’m serious about the work, but like having a fun time and making sure people around me do too. I tend to use a lot of bright colors and crisp lighting, but really try to focus on the emotional experience, even if it’s pretty weird or hyper-real. I have a weird sense of humor and a lot of interests, so a lot of my work is based on my own experiences or stories I’ve heard. Sometimes pop culture. I’ve always been a sucker for good stories and really aim to tell stories with each of my images.
Sarah said people really seem to responding to the promos already—she’s gotten emails from people saying they like it, it’s been shared on Instagram a few times and she’s had two interview requests about it.
My goal is to send out about 200, but so far, I’ve probably sent out about 60 or so. It’s the challenge of being a “one-stop shop,” but the handmade aspect of this promo is just indicative of my brand and what I do. But having such positive feedback is definitely a good motivator to get more out!
To see more of Sarah’s work, visit sarahlimphoto.com.