Inspiration

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Trailblazers: Raw talent with Sophie Mayanne

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Sophie Mayanne is a 23-year old fashion and portrait photographer based in The Cotswolds. Her style is unmistakable - favouring raw, striking images (often –though not exclusively– of people), which are instantly recognisable. The boldness of Sophie’s work has already been picked up by both the fashion and music industries with recent clients including Dazed, Wonderland, i-D, The Sunday Times, Universal and Sony. Keep eye on for this Trailblazer because you’ll be seeing a lot of her in the future, Sophie’s honest and genuine photography is celebrated by all those who can see its potential.

Hi Sophie! When did your passion for photography start? What was your journey into pursuing it as a career?

My passion started towards the end of college. I started a daily, self-portrait project getting all the way to day 211 at which point I turned my camera the other way around and started to photograph other people. I began photographing friends at university until I had a bit of a portfolio together, then I started working with modelling agencies.

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What is it about the human experience you enjoy working with so much?

I think I enjoy photographing people because there is more of a personal connection there and I relate more to other people than to anything else. Getting to know the subject you are photographing is really important and helps a lot, even a quick conversation over coffee still gives something extra to the final image.

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What's been the most fun shoot you’ve worked on to date?

I think a lot of my shoots are fun, I like having a relaxed atmosphere and I’ve always had really good teams around me. I recently did a shoot in Brighton with a band called White Room and because I've recently passed my driving test this was the first time I'd driven for a shoot. It was great to have the freedom of being able to shoot in different places. It was also refreshing as a lot of the shoots I do are in London - so a bit of sea air was great!

A shoot I did around a year ago for Dazed Digital was great fun too. It was my first time working for Dazed, and my first timing doing GIFS as well! It was a chaotic but creative day, and the models really embraced all the different outfit changes.

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What project you're most proud of to date?

Probably my book, Twenty-Two, which was recently released in collaboration with It’s Nice That and Arjowiggins. I got to work with design studio Colophon Foundry/ The Entente on it and I learned so much from the experience, especially as it required going back through my old work. The book really breathes new life into them. It also includes my journal entries which I keep after (almost) every shoot I do, so it shows the progressive journey in my work’s development as well as offering a behind-the-scenes feel.

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What are you working on at the moment?

Quite a few different editorial projects and also a personal project called 'Scars'. Scars is a collaboration between myself and stylist, Lulu Wentworth, and it carries personal weight for both us. The images are very barely retouched - we only colour correct - as it’s important they are empowering and speak honestly about the battles people have with ‘beauty’. We’re due to shoot another instalment for the project soon.

I also recently shot a cover for L'Officiel Spain. This was my first ever cover, and quite a surreal feeling!

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What's the most frustrating brief to receive?

Sometimes when you have a large team and a lot of different ideas floating around it can take time to come up with a creative direction which everyone is happy with and that feels right for the project.

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How do you feel when you have your own photo taken?

I’m very, very awkward if I have my own photo taken, I don’t think I’m the most photogenic!

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Which other young photographers should we be looking out for?

So many! I think Jack Davison’s work is incredible and each new project he releases is stunning. Vicky Grout also takes great portraits, I really like the rawness in her music-related work.

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And finally, if you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Somewhere warm - England is always cold! I would love to go to New York sometime in the near future but I have a quite momentous list of places I would like to travel too. Top of the list is Reykjavik, Iceland.

People wise, I’d like to photograph Sia - that could be interesting!*

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