© Sophie Davis

Looking at Women, by Sophie Davis

25.09.2017 | Art | BY:

Photographer Sophie Davis talks to Twin about her series of work, ‘The Unresolved’.

I began this series nearly two years ago, having been constantly exposed to images of beauty ideals from a young age through media and popular culture. Starting this series felt like a necessary step for me to try and understand my fascination with beauty and the female form.

‘The Unresolved’ is a growing body of work and the girls I photograph start out as strangers to me. I ‘collect’ my subjects around London, they are just normal women who I feel instantly drawn to because of their physical appearance. I ask them to sit for me if they are interested. These sittings are mostly done nude.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

Surprisingly, through the many girls I have photographed I have only ever had one no, which I think speaks volumes about how we as women are curious about seeing ourselves laid bare. It could be seen as searching for validation, wanting to feel beautiful in a world that makes us constantly insecure.

The images have become part of a growing archive, a collection of female flesh, both a celebration of the magnetising allure of the woman but also an exploration into the limits of objectification.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

The method of my work has been described as predatory in nature, more ‘male gaze’ than ‘female’ (which I can’t help but see as reductive, as women have the ability to desire just as much as men). But alongside the seemingly callous ‘pick ups’ there is a tenderness to the photographs that remove them from an objectifying, colder viewpoint – it is down to the close ups. The details in the folds of skin and stray hairs, the remnants of another human being.  There is the intimacy and closeness you would assume exist between lovers. I am always amazed at the level of trust each girl puts in me, and the friendships that come out of some encounters.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

‘The Unresolved ‘is an exploration of the limits of the female gaze and the ‘trap of beauty’ and our constant hunt for it. In exploring with such issues with this body of work, it has given me further insight into our conditioning, and the confusion that surrounds the self in relation to images of the  ‘ideal’. There is a hunger in the images, both from myself as photographer and from the subjects themselves, it’s a desire to be seen, to be looked at to be the one do the looking.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

Follow Sophie on Instagram: @sophiexzx and Skin and Blister collective on @skin.and.blister

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KrisKidd_2

Helping People Feel Beautiful: Twin meets Sequoia Ziff

03.08.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

Born and raised in LA, photographer Sequoia Ziff has a magical way of merging fantasy and ultimate realness. Her photographs present human flaws in a complex light, holding in tension in a combination of vulnerability and spirit in striking, monochrome portraits. Ahead of her opening at Saatchi Gallery in London (where she is now based), Twin catches up with Sequoia to talk photography style and the magic of portraits.

How did you get started in photography and what’s your favourite camera to use?

I have known that I have wanted to be a photographer for as long as I can remember. It has always been my obsession.  I worked on shoots through high school, decided not to go to college and have been living for it since.  I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to gear, I found what works for me early on and have only made minor changes as my style has evolved.  I have always worked with Canons, I started on film and now tend to work with the same camera for every shoot, a Canon 5d Mark 3.

Why black in white over colour?

Taste. A lot of the time, it’s just what I think looks better. It removes a sense of time and place and keeps the focus on connecting with the subject. I do love colour though….in moderation.

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© Sequoia Ziff

Why portraiture?

I love people. Having your photo taken is a vulnerable process, and my job is to soul gaze all day long. That kind of vulnerability can be uncomfortable for people, and I enjoy helping people feel beautiful, just through the process of shooting them.

How did your style develop?

I have always been really specific in what I like aesthetically: old architecture, old movies, vintage clothes and a sense of timelessness. Anything that combines that with some haunted magical realism is always a bonus.

What is a good photograph to you?

One that makes you feel deep empathy and one that allows you to daydream.

© Sequoia Ziff

© Sequoia Ziff

Tell us about the worldwide tribe project. How did it come about?

I was the featured artist at Summit at Sea this year, the idea was to humanise the refugee crisis and dismantle the fear by bringing larger than life size portraits to the centre of the ship. I had known about the amazing work that Worldwide Tribe does and contacted them about partnering and ended up working with one of their partners on the ground in Greece documenting portraits and life in the camp. Excited that the show is coming to London next month, and will be featured at the Saatchi from August 9-31st.

Has Instagram helped or hindered the medium of photography?

Both. I think that social media is an amazing tool for photographers, and it has meant that upcoming generations are more invested and interested in photography than ever before. It’s made everyone a photographer. It means that as an artist, you are able to build a network and self promote to a much larger audience, and from anywhere in the world.

Synchronicity_6

© Sequoia Ziff

As a user of social media, I’m exposed to so many awesome artists that I may not have discovered without platforms like Instagram. That being said, I think that art often doesn’t have the intended impact that it would offscreen and in person. For me, social media is more of a business tool than an artistic one and the more time that  I spend off-screen,  the more present, inspired, and grounded I feel.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

Shooting as usual. Since moving from LA to London, I have been working a lot in the music industry,  so will continue to be shooting a bunch of album artwork and press shots for bands. 

Worldwide Tribe exhibition is at Saatchi Gallery London, August 9th – 31st 2017

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