Born in Canberra, Australia. Living in Melbourne, Australia.
So, Sophie, what is your story?
I’m a born and raised suburban Canberra girl, Australia’s capital. It’s a quiet place surrounded by bushland and man-made lakes. From an early age, I was always interested in the arts, learning music and dance until I hurt my back at 13. It’s an injury that still plagues me today. I picked up a camera shortly after by 14th birthday; it was an Olympus OM20 – I still use it today.
I was lost as a teenager and documenting my surroundings seemed to be a good way to slip in and out of situations unnoticed. At 16 I created a community zine called ‘Grandma’s House’ and my photographs finally had somewhere to live, just pictures of bands and fashion portraits with articles and reviews to pair.
From being the quiet documenter at social events I began working for two DJ companies while in Canberra. After 6 months of late night parties and disco lights, I moved to Melbourne to study through Photography Studies College with a major in Fine Art. Through my degree, I could channel my vision and bring my ideas into reality.
In my second year, I took part in a photobook workshop at OBSCURA, a photography festival in Malaysia. It was an incredible experience and am lucky enough now to be returning for the third time as a workshop assistant. Vig Nachname and his team put in so much work for their arts community and it is wonderful to be part of it. I will return in August after an artist residency in Vietnam for the month of July.
Why do you make the art you make? Why photography?
My artistic practice combines personal experience, research in psychology and spiritualism. Growing up, my mother would place crystals and healing stones throughout the house, sage cleanse our rooms and entrust in a psychic. She also would go to church and enjoyed choir. Her faith was more about connecting to others and her family than following the teachings of one particular idea. She’s got great ghost stories.
So I’ve always been surrounded by an odd mess of blind faith and things you can feel but not see. This is where my initial inspiration for my work comes from, things that lurk in the shadows, late night streams of consciousness right before bed and questioning what is real. Photographs tell both truth and lies.
BL_NK SP_CE really plays off this idea that we use photographs to remind us of the past but the memories associated with those images are distorted over time. It also grants you access to people and places you wouldn’t normally meet. Portraiture and fashion photography has allowed me to create work that lies outside my art practice and to see from others perspectives. It’s really liberating.
What does your creative process look like? Where do you find inspiration?
A lot of research goes into my initial ideas; reading gives me space to breathe and form visual translations. Shooting is very organic, when I have an idea I try to shoot it straight away or make something similar to test it out. It’s a lot of trial and error and gut feelings. Sometimes they work out and other times they fail but it’s all a process. A few of my favorite photographs have been complete accidents.
What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?
It’s wonderfully exciting and tough. You’ve got to be able to stand on your own two feet and really drive yourself. The best thing I’ve found is surrounding myself with other creatives in different fields. Being able to collaborate and work with others is really rewarding. Even if the images or paintings don’t work out, it’s all about the act.
I don’t make art for money. I make art because I would go crazy if I didn’t.
Last but not least, what did you dream about last night?
Ah my dreams, they are usually a mash of the insane and the mundane. Last night I dreamt that my deaf cat Luna was giant, and I we flew across the desert, think Atreyu and Falkor.
All Rights Reserved. © Sophie Gabrielle.