Please note some content and imagery is of a sensitive nature.
In this Modus Meets we talk with fashion and portrait photographer, Sophie Mayanne about her career journey and how and why she created her unique campaign, Behind The Scars, which celebrates scars of all shapes and sizes, and the incredible stories behind them.
Tell us a little about yourself…
My name is Sophie Mayanne, I’m 27 years old. I am a photographer, I’m creative, I love peanut butter, animals, and adventures.
How did you get into photography?
I first got into photography between college and university. I used to paint prior to photography, but I was never good at creating anything realistic (abstract was fine!) – so I think I wanted a medium where I could translate and explore my reality. I started off with self portraiture before turning my camera onto other people. From there I started to learn how to tell stories visually, and explore different avenues of expressing myself including fashion. I know work across advertising and portraiture.
What has inspired you to explore the themes, that you do in your photography such as self-love and inclusivity?
What inspires me is usually the people I meet. Most projects I create start with a conversation with someone, somewhere. Sometimes that conversation is with myself, and how I feel. Other times it’s with someone I’ve met. These themes are relatable to everyone, in some form – and as a photographer I have a role in how people feel in the skin they are in.
How do your personal projects differ from the commercial work you do menswear, womenswear, music and charitable causes? How do you select the brands that you work with?
They don’t hugely differ – a lot of the time the commercial work I engage in is a result of my personal work. Usually projects come about because a brand or client are looking for a particular type of photography, or authenticity for the project they want to create. I’ve been quite lucky in this sense, as most projects have found me.
How has covid 19 impacted your work as a photographer? How have you been able to navigate through it?
It’s been up and down, and sideways at points. I normally visit people to take photographs, so being restricted was something new I had to try and work around. I actually ended up returning to some self portraiture, and engaging with how much my own body has changed during the past 18 months. I used social media as an open space to share how I was feeling throughout the pandemic -which helped me navigate the situation!
Any exciting projects in the pipeline?
A few, and I’m hoping to revisit and wrap a project that’s been put on hold too!
What is a piece of advice you would give to others pursuing a career in this industry?
It’s a rollacoaster – you have to be prepared for amazing highs, but also the lows. Especially as creative work is often tied quite closely to our personal perspectives and identity in photography – criticism will come, but that’s OK – not everyone will love your work. Try to stay grounded, and regularly talk to yourself. ‘What excites me, do I love this project, what do I want to create?’
Give one word to describe your work five years ago and a word to describe it currently and why have you chosen those words?
5 years ago: Unpredictable – I’ve only been a photographer for 7 years, so 5 years ago my work was still unpredictable and messy, and that’s OK. I was working out how I wanted to share my work with the world, and what I wanted to say.
Now: Progressing – I feel like I’m at a pivotal moment now, very much an exciting time of ‘What do I do next?; – but I also feel more comfortable with myself as a creative, and the natural path my photographic process will follow.