"The stars shall fade away, the sun himself grow dim with age, and nature sink in years, but thou shalt flourish in immortal youth."

Monday, September 24, 2012


“All in all, my childhood was happy and I was very fortunate. My family was close and loving, and my older sister was my best friend,” Sophie Pellegrini began telling me about her childhood. She was born in 1993 in Washington, DC. Raised in Potomac, Maryland, and now live in Lewiston, Maine, where I attend Bates College.
“Many of my best childhood memories involve her. I was very sensitive and introverted, so I spent a lot of my time reading, writing, crafting, and exploring the little woods in my backyard. I had a vivid imagination, which was a mixed blessing. I grew up in a close-knit, family-oriented neighborhood based around community. Some things about it were wonderful-- for instance, I grew up swimming on the neighborhood swim team, easily the best experience of my life and where I made many of my best friends-- but sometimes, it felt small and uninspiring to me, particularly as I reached high school.“

“Since when do you learn Photography?” I ask her again.
“I first discovered Flickr through my sister in 2007.”
“I was fascinated by the way people created a whole new world in their photos, and was drawn to the beautiful images people created.”
“ I bought a digital camera and began to take photos myself. I studied it with the help of online forums, but mostly through trial-and-error photo shoots. Since then, I've taken a short portrait photography class in 2009 and a class in 2010 to learn how to use the dark room. That led me to really explore film--polaroid, instax, medium format, 35 mm... lots of different forms. I've also taken Photography classes at college. Sometimes I think my own experiences will teach me more about photography than a class ever could, though.”

“Why Photography? What did you feel?”
“When I first began photographing, it was a way for me to self-express, to experience catharsis and make peace with my world.”
“ Over time, it became something I love for so many more reasons. Creation has always been in my blood-- I come from a family of artists and have been crafting and creating for as long as my memory goes back. Photography satisfies that itch. It gives me such satisfaction to see an image in my head and find the way to create it for others to see, too. I love the explorative process of learning through experience: the experimenting, the failing, the learning, the succeeding.”

“Tell me about your photograph..Light, Dreams, Nightmares...what do you wanna talk with your photograph?“
“Sometimes, the photos I take are simply expressions of something I'm feeling that I need to get out.”
“ Other times, I'm trying to document a moment that I never want to forget or lost track of. Other times, I have an idea in mind that I want to make concrete. I aim to create photos that are honest, that make people feel and think about things both familiar and new, and that make people question their position to the world.”

“You've done a lot of projects”
“Tell me about your project... just 1 of them..”
“While I was at school, I had a final semester project in Photography 2 in which I could really do anything, as long as it resulted in a cohesive body of work. I choose to take photos using an overhead screen projector. It was an idea that struck me in a dream, where I saw images of skeletons projected onto human bodies. I was fascinated and decided to build on the idea. I experimented with different images and the way they projected onto the human body of my models. It was tricky to figure out the lighting most of all, but it was a very rewarding shoot.”

“and then, you always capture a woman, why? who is the woman in your pitures? how about a men?”
“When I first starting to take photos, the only people I featured in them were myself or my sister. I was too shy and self conscious to ask other people to photograph them, and I felt as though my friends wouldn't understand. So it was easiest to take photos of the two people I knew wouldn't judge me-- myself, and Leah, my older sister and best friend. Over time, I've grown into myself and moved past the fear of what other people will think. I create the art I want to create, knowing some people will never understand it, but that some will, and that that is okay. That being said, I've never had much access to any boys who would enjoy being photographed in the way I'd like to photograph them. I'd like to change that soon, though, and feature more males in my shoots. I definitely have shoots in mind that involve men, I just haven't been able to execute them yet.”

“What’s your next project?”
“I'm working on a analogue series right now at a graveyard. I've always been most drawn to portraits, but I'm trying to push myself to take photos that involve people in a less direct way-- that's the premise for this project.”

“Who inspired you?”
“I am blessed to have a father who is interested in art and photography himself. He always supports this passion of mine, and has knowledge about the art to help me learn. He has found a way to balance the passions in his life and still be successful and have a loving family. I will strive for that. “

on the sidelines of the talks, we heard the strains of a song from Bon Iver.
“Ahh, I like this song”
“Something about Justin Vernon's lyrics and melodies breaks my heart every time I hear his songs. I can't explain it fully, but his music really speaks to me. And it's perfect to play when I'm editing photos or on a shoot.”
I nodded. and we were silent for a moment in the rhythm of the song

“Sometimes, there are still questioning whether it is digital or analog, how do you think?“
“I really think there is validity to both forms. Photographers should use the form that they are most drawn to, in my opinion. It's art-- there is no right or wrong. It would break my heart to see analogue disappear, though; I hope it remains available for as long as digital photography does. I just believe analogue should not be pushed away because it's less "simple." The extra steps you must take to shoot film can make the finished project 10 times more rewarding than creating a digital image. I think there are things that can be done with both forms that cannot be found in the other. “
“I use both. I am really drawn to the way analogue looks for many types of photo subjects, so I tend to edit my photos to look like film, because it often suits the feeling I am trying to create. But sometimes I think the effects of digital are more appropriate for a shoot.”

Sophie Pellegrini

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic photographer! I recently have gathered a lot of Sophie's photographs as inspiration for my photography course at school. I have started my coursework now and I am doing a shoot in a cemetery, then I read this and... Sophie is doing a shoot in a cemetery too! What a cool coincidence! :) Thanks for this article!