Contextualizing Pickering within a trajectory of British photography, Bright talks about the "melancholy" and "deadpan" qualities that are characteristic of British photography. Introducing her series Public Order, a project exploring the Metropolitan Police Public Order Training Center, Pickering describes the works impetus as being in part about the way "Institutions are always trying to plan for the unexpected and trying to control and manage something that can't be controlled."

This conversation between photographer Sarah Pickering and independent writer, lecturer, and curator Susan Bright, took place March 31, 2010, on the occasion of the publication of Pickering's first monograph: Explosions, Fires and Public Order. This monograph brings together four of Sarah Pickering's photographic series which collectively present a visually arresting glimpse into the secret world of civil defense.

Sarah Pickering (born in Durham City, England, 1972) finished her MA in photography at the Royal College of Art in London in 2005. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Photographers' Gallery Graduate Award and a Jerwood Award. Pickering has exhibited internationally and in the UK where her work was part of How We Are: Photographing Britain, at Tate Britain co-curated by Susan Bright.