Featured on theprintspace blog today is young photographer Sophie Mayanne, who speaks to us about her project Demarcation. Read on below! My name is Sophie Mayanne, I’m based in between London and Cirencester (in the countryside!). I do photography, and today I’m catching up on some editing.
First of all, please introduce yourself.
My name is Sophie Mayanne, I’m based in between London and Cirencester (in the countryside!). I do photography, and today I’m catching up on some editing.
Tell us your story!
I first got into photography between college and university, when I did a “365 project” – one self-portrait a day. I only made it to day 211, but by then I had to started to branch out more and capture the world around me. I remember a comment from one of my university tutors that really made me think – “You look like a girl who just sits in her room and takes photographs”. That made me really think about how much more I could be doing back then.
Eliza Jane Murray, 23, Australian (Photographed August 2015)
I came to London when I was just 19 years old to study a BA in Fashion Styling at Istituto Marangoni. However that was never really my dream. I was originally enrolled in Sydney’s College of Fine Arts. However after a year of travelling following high school my eyes were open and my feet were too itchy to stay in Sydney. I was suddenly desperate to see every corner of the world so I came to the realisation that I should study abroad. I worked my butt off to convince my parents it was a good idea and finally landed a scholarship, which secured my one-way ticket. London has really become my second home after living here for three years. It has honestly been the best three years of my life but also a very challenging experience. Being so far from home was difficult but the benefits of being in the middle of Europe in such a creative hub are endless. My styling work has fallen into huge publications, and I’ve unexpectedly stumbled back into the performing world. I may have also managed to gain a lot stamps in my passport…! I think living in London you get addicted to this fast paced life style. You never stop and you realize how hard you have to work to be on top of your game. A person once told me that life is a collection of experience. Your life and the legacy you leave will be as full or as empty as you make it. A change of perspective is like taking a long deep breath after a long day. It’s important to change things up in life, to look at things from different angles. I really think travelling gives you the distance you need to see your life from a renewed lens. Seeing another way of life is a great way to learn to appreciate your old one. I owe a huge chunk of my heart to all those special souls in my life who enjoyed the ride with me. I will really miss you London.
What was the concept and inspiration behind the work, and how did the project come about?
Demarcation began in August 2015 when some of my closest friends were reaching the end of their visas, and were faced with the situation of returning home. Many of them felt that where they had come from was no longer home, but their attempts at staying or obtaining sponsorship had been to no avail. I felt, being close to them, that this was something I needed to capture. At points too, I experienced an underlying guilt that I had something that they could not have.
Dasan Connors-Hart / 20 / Australia (Photographed January 2016)
I came to London in early 2014 after a failed attempt to see the Rolling Stones in Sydney led me to Paris to watch them – which eventually turned into getting a 2-year visa for the UK. I came to London with no expectations and no friends, within a month I’d found a job, a boat to live on and a group of people that I still call my best friends today. Living here has taught me many things. Most of all its taught me how to be independent which I think is essential for any person to feel in early stages of adulthood. I suppose moving anywhere where you’re disconnected from what is usually comfortable forces this upon a person but for me and many others this place was London and for that I am grateful. Leaving has been strange, though not sad. It’s something that’s always in the back of your mind whilst on a visa and I think can really motivate you to try new things and also set limitations on what you can do so naturally you just try and be in the moment and enjoy the day. Not being able to live in a place that feels like home is unsettling although I don’t like to think of anything as permanent, the relationships I’ve made and experiences I’ve had mean more to me than passport controls and borders and I don’t see my time in London as over as long as I still have these memories.
What inspires you?
I’ve recently been reading a lot from the poet John Cooper-Clarke. His words are brilliant, and the juxtaposition is something I can really draw inspiration from. Secondly, my family and friends are a large amount of my inspiration – they’re honest, creative and always there – it can be something as simple like a sarcastic comment from my sister, or an anecdote from my brother that can inspire me.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a new project called School of Education, with 9 girls who live in a warehouse in Tottenham Hale. I’m documenting them over the next year, so I’m excited to see where that one goes visually.
Dasha Moseikova /22/ Russian (Photographed October 2015)
I came to London to do my BA in Fashion Styling..and I had no idea what it is and what it’d be like really to live in this city. In my first year I’ve experienced what is it like to be a freshman living at halls…it was fun! During this year, I met some amazing people who changed the way I look at the world in general, and made me believe in myself; I tried a lot of new things good and bad, went to my first festival and spent my first night in a tent..and loved it, never thought I could do that. Thankfully, I got a bit more serious after that. During my summer break I did a styling internship – where I actually learned what styling is about, and not long after that I started doing my own thing. It was a lot of hit and miss in the beginning.. too much pink, but meeting some great creatives in the very beginning helped me to figure things out. For the first time I was doing something I love and, don’t wanna seem big-headed, but was actually quite successful at it. And I can’t be more thankful for people I had a chance to work with, some of them became my best friends. It all just happened so quickly and naturally. I’ve been asked so many times “Were you scared to move to a completely different country knowing no one?”. No, I was never scared, the only thing I was scared about is to go back to where I came from. Of course, you struggle a lot living in London, but it’s nothing compare to the opportunities it gives you. When i had nowhere to live – I always had my friends floor to sleep on (thanks to that friend btw), when I had no money to get a bus – I walked or there was always someone to help me out, we always managed to have a good time having nothing in our pockets. Coming to London meant freedom for me, personal and creative, for the firs time on my life I had an opportunity to explore who I really am, what I actually want to do, without anyones permission or approval. It’ s creativity is inspiring, I learned to play drums and bought my first guitar, started painting again, I could go to another city/town just to go to a gig (and there was always someone who I could drag with me), I even wrote a few depressing poems, I could never have imagined myself doing any of this. London became my home, not home away from home, but my only home, and the people I met became my family and they will always stay in my heart, I was never lonely there. I miss you all xxx