Cool People in CLE: Sarah Sloboda

So after my amazing experience with Sarah, go read OUR PHOTOSHOOT WITH SARAH SLOBODA IN CLEVELAND I knew she had to be featured in #CoolPeopleinCLE I love to hear stories of why people come back to check her’s out below!

1. How did you meet #CourtneyCoversCleveland?

I found Courtney’s blog through a round-up of the best bloggers in the Midwest, and was instantly enamored with her love of Cleveland. We got to meet in person for the first time when I did a photo shoot for her family.

2. Briefly tell me a little about yourself, who you are and what you do? 

My name is Sarah Sloboda. I call myself an artist, and the bulk of my professional life has been in photography and writing. The driving forces behind my life choices are creative expression, finding new interests, and learning. It’s important to me to live an inspired life and have rich experiences. I started a garden for the first time this year, and I love being a gardener!

3. Why photography? And what’s your favorite location to shoot in Cleveland?

When I was a child, I became aware that my memory was finite. It alarmed me, because I was in love with the moments of my life, and I wanted to remember and cherish them. I always loved writing and recording and playing with my mom’s 110 camera. My dad bought me my first SLR for my 17th birthday, and the fact that photography could create images so close to how I saw the world with my eyes spoke to that deep desire in my soul to help aid my finite memory in capturing moments I loved. Photography is meditation to me – it puts me into flow and it’s how I allow love to flow through me and into physical form.

4. You often hear about people wanting to move to NY and San Francisco, two places you’ve lived. Can you explain what brought you to back to Cleveland?

When I first moved to NYC, I loved it. It was like the Midwest work ethic on steroids, combined with this incessant sense of possibility. It really feels like anything is possible there, and it spawned more ideas in me than I had time to achieve whilst trying to keep up with the pace of life there. I came back to Cleveland in 2011, and a couple years later some travel opportunities came my way that turned me into a digital nomad for two and half years. I made my way to LA, and then eventually up the coast to San Francisco, where I stayed for several years. San Francisco (locals don’t call it San Fran or Frisco – they cringe when others do! 🤣) is beautiful and provided endless variations of fog and sunshine and landscapes and coastal views. Still, it wasn’t home. Something didn’t feel settled in me. In Cleveland, I feel like my feet are on the ground. It’s lush here environmentally and culturally, and while people work hard, they also know how to relax, feel love, and just be. The coasts are great places to live for opportunity to push yourself, and get inspired by people succeeding at some impressive dreams. But when you’re super clear on what you’re about, Cleveland is a great place to be – you can be deliberate with your time and choose your own pace, things that have become more important to me over time. Plus, it smells good and it’s so green.

5. What’s one thing you love about Cleveland?

The food and the coffee. When I didn’t live here, I’d spend about a month here every year, and I used to joke, “all I do in Cleveland is eat.” I love the restaurant and coffee scene here – the chefs and roasters are artists.

6. If you had a friend visit you in Cleveland, where must you take them to see the best of Cleveland?

First stop, Rising Star Coffee. Next, the lake. I grew up going to Huntington Beach and Mentor Headlands, and now Edgewater is looking beautiful, too. When I post photos of Lake Erie on Instagram, people who have never been here can’t conceive of it – it’s like an ocean to them. Then, Honey Hut ice cream, in Old Brooklyn where I grew up. And, of course, Transformer Station so we can look at and discuss photography.

7. Whats your favorite local restaurant or store and what do you order/ or buy?

Wow, I have so many, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Cappuccino from Rising Star Coffee is high on the list. Anything prepared by Chef Douglas Katz. Heirloom tomatoes from the Tremont Farmer’s Market in August are a must-have.

8. What do you wish more people knew about Cleveland?

I’d like everyone to know how cool Cleveland is, how rich it is in creativity, deliciousness, and nature. And, it’s humble. It doesn’t beat you over the head with its merits, they’re just there for you to enjoy at your own pace. I used to tell all my friends in NYC, “it’s an hour flight, and a very relaxing vacation with world-class amenities.”

Anything else you want to add?

Thank you so much for these thoughtful questions, and for the opportunity to share a bit about myself and my love for our city. I am so grateful for everything you do to cherish this place.


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