Meet twenty year old photographer Sophie Lobban, originally from a little town just outside of Durham in the North East of England, and now residing in London. We chat with the artist about the inspiration behind a series of portraits she shot with LouLou Aherne that we can’t keep our eyes away from, her passion for collecting both objects and memories and her newly found love for a cheap, delicious bagel shop in Brick Lane. (We’ve been there too in our London travels!)
Hi Sophie! Tell us a bit about yourself as a person and as an artist. I love anything remotely space related; moons, stars, transits. I’m very sentimental which kind of makes me a crazy hoarder, I collect everything – magazines, postcards, rocks, rainbow makers, cameras (of course!) and cushions. I think that’s why I photograph things, so I can collect moments too. As an artist …my love of abstract and unearthly notions always influence and filter into my work. I like taking unimaginable or philosophical concepts like infinite space or lucid dreams and redefining them in a raw, real and personal way – imagining what they would look like or feel like.
What do you love most about test shoots with fresh models? Any new faces you’re dying to work with? I love that fresh models are passionate, enthusiastic and eager to create and inspire your images just as much as you are! It’s also probably because new models are often just as awkward as me, I’d rather capture a perfectly awkward moment than someone oozing sickly confidence all the time. There’s a vulnerability in most new faces which just translates amazingly in photographs, it’s fascinating and much more real.
Tell us about your personal style! Do you find it translates into how you dress your models? My personal style is very uniform, boyish and minimal… shirts, jeans and black chunky boots forever! I think it probably does translate, because half the time I mix what the model turns up in wearing with the styling line ups to tone down the ‘fashion’ element and create an image focused on the subject. I like to keep things simple and spontaneous.
Is it safe to say you are an analogue-based photographer? What do you love most about shooting film?
I’d love to say that I shot entirely on film, but I do use some digital cameras when shooting collections or commissions. For my own work I love shooting film because it’s really relaxing – you can’t form an opinion on your image instantly because you can’t see it. Another thing is that I often forget exactly what I’ve been photographing until the prints come back, that way it’s much more magical and satisfying when you remember it. I have a few projects in mind that I want to begin over summer this year.. which will all be film based.
Photographers you admire or believe are creating really great things at the moment? I love analog photographers, especially Katie Silvester and Francesca Allen here in London. I also love the bohemian and effortlessly cool editorials Gavriel Maynard and Ryan Kenny produce, I’ve admired their work for such a long time – they make me want to up and move to Australia so badly. Oh! and Lea Colombo is absolutely killing it with her atmospheric backstage show photography for Dazed!
“My shoot with LouLou came about because she had the exact look I wanted to photograph as part of my latest project… It’s called Exoplanetology, it’s focused on photographing people and places around us which have connections and subtle hints of distant planets – because ultimately we are all made of stardust anyway! So I picked her specifically from a bunch of new faces because her youth, expressionate face and crazy amazing hair – it just screamed planet GJ 504-b – a young planet which still glows magenta pink! When I photographed her, I wanted to capture her presence and bare faced beauty in the images [while also] showing the characteristics of the planet in her.”
You quite recently exhibited at DesignMATTERS at 5th Base Gallery in Brick Lane. Tell us about the work you had in the show!
That work was focused on a completely different planet within my Exoplanetology series too! The work was a mixture of fashion and fine art photographs I’d taken exploring planet TrES-2b. I had some really cool prints made up in vinyl on the floor so that people could walk all over them as if they were walking on the surface of the planet. I wanted the photographs to be really immersive, sensory and a bit mad. I loved showing at DesignMATTERS because it’s an organisation focused on art and science.. so it was nice for my work to be recognised in that context – not just [as] a fashion photographer.
You are originally from the north east of England. Do you believe that London has shaped or influenced your work since your move to the bigger city? In what ways? I definitely do! Moving here allowed me to meet people from all walks of life and I’ve been able to work with some amazing creatives down here! London has completely taken me out of my northern comfort zone! If I hadn’t moved to London I would not have met amazing stylist and friend Beth Weld.. who actually styled the LouLou shoot.
What are some of your favourite hang out spots in London? I love Wardour News in Soho because I’m a crazy magazine hoarder/collector/keeper so I’m regularly browsing the shelves in there. I’ve also recently been introduced to the insanely cheap and amazing bagel shop in Brick Lane. I also love really random places like the crazy holographic subway underneath right by Water Bridge.
What can we expect from you photographically this year? Many more personal projects and ideas that I need to get out of my system as soon as I graduate from my degree in June! I’m hopefully going to plan an exhibition of Exoplanetology in the next month and continue scouting my planet people. I’m also looking forward to collaborating with really cool set designers, stylists and faces over summer and basically take my film camera wherever the wind takes me!
Who would you love to see interviewed by Zeum? I’d love to see what Lucas Asin, Ash Kingston, Beth Weld or Meara Kallista Morse have to say!
Styling| Beth Weld
Model | LouLou Aherne @ Profile Models