Please be advised that the following podcast episode was recorded remotely by each of the paticipants, following strict social distancing measures.
In this podcast episode, New York based fashion and portrait photographer, director and artist, Sophie Elgort, speaks to childhood friend, writer and fashion stylist, Nneya Richards, about her experiences and ideas in photography, her growth as an artist, mentorship of young women and her love of storytelling.
From growing up in a family of artists and around the sets of her Father, renowned photographer, Arthur Elgort, Sophie tells us where it all started. Turning her childhood interest into a successful career, Sophie has established her own identity as a photographer through exploration, examination and a joy for how she sees life through a lens.
“The way that I shoot subjects on set is I really like to be able to catch them in their element. Oftentimes I even start shooting while I say I'm doing a lighting test or something, just to be able to catch somebody doing something that they maybe wouldn't do in front of the camera, which ends up being the most amazing moment because they're caught off guard and they're not posing and they're not self-conscious.”
Sophie enjoys photographing people through all walks of life, looking to understand their story and endeavours to best represent a true reflection of that story in her work. Having collaborated on a variety of projects with De Beers Forevermark, including Females in Focus, a photography exhibition in tribute to six extraordinary women, including Rosario Dawson and Janet Mock, resonated most with Elgort.
Meeting all these different women who do different things – women who empower other women – was really special.
Whilst Sophie appreciates the opportunities she had through her creative upbringing, she is committed to giving back and creating connections and experiences for young women that are not normally granted the same accessibility. Sophie speaks of her passion for the next generation of female photographers via her initiative, Through Our Lens, co-Founded with Carolyn Pride, a programme setup to ensure diversity within the industry by cultivating opportunity, mentorship, and resources for high-school-aged girls who are looking to explore careers in fashion. She hopes to inspire those as she was inspired by female photographers such as Ellen von Unwerth, Sally Mann and Nan Goldin to name a few.
If you actually look and you look at work lensed by women, there are so many incredible talents and people doing amazing things. So, my main inspirations are really women.
Sophie also discusses tips and tricks for photographing diamonds and finding new, creative ways to work during uncertain and challenging times.
Whatever the situation that Sophie has found herself in or project she’s been a part of, her ongoing pursuit to capture people in their element, in motion, is what best represents her belief in the lasting power of imagery and of ‘forever’ – that whilst the moment is fleeting, the image, memory and story of her subject remains ever-present and true.
I want other people to get something out of it, whether it's joy or an emotion, or they feel inspired. To almost feel like they can jump into the image and be there. Or they could get to know a person through the image.
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