Fault Line, by Sophie Barbasch
I started studying photography in high school and then got more serious about it during college. After college, I realized I wanted to pursue my MFA. Grad school helped me a lot in terms of understanding what I was trying to do and say with my work. I feel like I am still processing some of the feedback I got, even though I’ve been out of school for a number of years now. I have experimented with other media, but I feel like photography comes closest to expressing how I experience the world. Even so, I still think a lot about what images cannot express and how to fill those gaps.
Preferences, preparations, photography equipment
It depends a lot on the project—sometimes, I stage the images and work with a tripod. For other projects, I just shoot hand-held and respond in the moment. I am using the Mamiya 7 and the Sony mirrorless camera right now. I love film, but digital is very liberating.
Artist Statement: Fault Line
Fault Line is a story about my family. The protagonist is my younger cousin Adam. It takes place in Brooklin, Maine, where he lives. I have been working on this project intensively since 2013.
It was then that I went to visit Adam and was overwhelmed by his intelligence, humor, and vulnerability. I couldn’t help but feel connected to him. We understood each other in a way no one else in the family did. I felt like he was my stand-in, my double. When we started taking pictures, we both wanted to make the same images; I didn’t have to explain anything.
In 2013, I had already been estranged from my father for seven years. I wanted to return to a family base to understand what had happened. I wanted to make images that expressed moments from the past: moments of conflict, isolation, and despair. I also wanted to express the desire to connect to family and to belong to something. I chose the surreal landscape of Brooklin, sandwiched between the coast and the dense forest, to begin exploring these fragments from my childhood. I used Adam as my model. Over the years, I also began to incorporate myself, my brother, my aunt, my cousins, and finally my father, into the images.
Influences and favorite stuff within and outside of photography
At the moment, I am inspired by the Not Surprised project (http://www.not-surprised.org/) as well as Barbara Kruger’s new NYC Metrocard series. I just finished reading The Babysitter at Rest by Jen George, which I loved. My new favorite photo book is Blind Date by Leiko Shiga.
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Sophie Barbasch