I first came across Sophie Mosimann‘s photography work at the July edition of the Gathered Design Market a couple of months ago and was instantly captivated by her eloquent style of black and white landscape and nature-based photography. Some of her work in particular caught my eye, because they were images that made me not only stop and think, but also reflect on what was presented before me. There were some pieces (particularly of forests and trees) that made me fall into a deeper thought and appreciate the simple things in life that we often overlook and don’t take a moment to really let it all soak into our mind, body, and soul. It’s safe to say that I found Sophie’s work riveting and a near-emotional experience and her ability to create something moody and highlight the tones and textures of the subjects in the photo is inspiring – from one photographer to another.
With the upcoming Gathered Design Market in October, I had a Q&A with Sophie about her anticipations around participating in the market as a stall holder – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Sophie?
Sophie: I am a local Adelaide photographer, specialising in lifestyle and documentary photography. I completed a Diploma in Commercial Photography back in 1999, and have more recently begun to work under the name SophieMosss Photography. Born and raised on the west side of town, I am passionate about the city I live in, the community that holds it together and the endless photographic possibilities that it (very kindly) presents to me. Aside from my upmost devotion to documenting the quirks, curiosities and undoubtable charm of this place I call home, I also gladly take on opportunities to work in the (always unpredictable and ever engaging) space of family portraiture, lifestyle and birth photography.
Tema: What made you decide on starting up your own photography business?
Sophie: Photography is always something I have held close to my heart. Whilst on extended maternity leave with my first child, I found my life was suddenly filled with children – mine, my family’s and my friend’s – and found they were often the subject of my work. I loved the idea of working from home, rather than being away in an office for 8 hours a day. I find lifestyle photography offers this flexibility. I can pop out for a few hours or so on a shoot and can edit my work from home.
Tema: How did you decide on what to offer via your business?
Sophie: My business has grown very organically. I started working with just a few friends and family and the circle grew from there. In addition to this, I shoot quite a bit of landscape and street photography around Adelaide and South Australia. A little more than a year ago, I started working with some of the local small business owners in my community and I slowly developed a range of cards and prints of my work, which were suited to their customer base. My range has grown quite substantially from there, and I now attend markets such as Gathered on a regular basis.
Tema: How would you describe your style of photography to someone who is new to your work?
Sophie: Good question! I would probably say my work is quite moody. I love to work in black and white. I really enjoy the subtleties of tone and form that are relieved, once colour is no longer a distraction in an image. I like to play with light, patterns, and texture in my work and have a fondness for recording the everyday in all its splendour. I find it is often the little things that we pass in life on a regular basis that strike a chord. It is those little things and how they are affected by light, that draw me in.
Tema: What helps you get ‘the shot’ when trying to turn it into print for purchase via your business?
Sophie: I think it is all about emotional connection. How you see something and how you connect with it in that moment, and if that connection you have strikes a chord with others. I try to shoot the familiar from a different perspective, so that it is recognisable and yet new. I find people really appreciate a different view, so that they see something that is already close to their heart in a new light. And then we both understand that there is something special about this. It is a nice thing to share.
Tema: What styles of photography do you primarily specialise in?
Sophie: I specialise in lifestyle and documentary photography as well as birth photography. I often work with families and newborns. I like to record the world as it is presented to me, and I love working with natural light.
Tema: Do you have a system, where you photograph something specific to then make it available for purchase? Or do you share your discoveries with us as they appear in front of you (and your camera lens)?
Sophie: I don’t really have a system, rather I like to explore the world through my lens. Sometimes, I will see something in a particular light but can’t get to it right away, so I will make note of it and come back later. Sometimes, it can take up to a year, in order to get the sun at the right angle! I find that I am often looking at things with a photograph in mind.
Tema: Do you do custom photography sessions as well? Would you like to share any customs with us – particularly those that pushed your creativity to the limit (in a good sense, of course)?
Sophie: Yes, I do custom photography sessions! I do a lot of work with families and newborn babies, as well as birth photography. They all present their own set of challenges. Lately, I have been doing a bit of work for Airbnb, which is quite a different style for me. They are big on appliances and home comforts, so I often find myself trying to find new and exciting ways to photograph coffee machines and dishwashers and the like.
Tema: How long has Sophie Mosss Photography been in business for? How have you found the journey so far?
Sophie: I have been operating as SophieMosss Photography on and off for a few years now, but I think the last year in particular has been fairly big for me – especially in terms of the Adelaide market scene. I have really loved getting to know other stall holders and hearing about their challenges and how they have overcome obstacles. It is really nice to be able to share stories on the market circuit, because while I love working for myself, it can be isolating at times.
Tema: How did you hone your skills around photography – was it something that you undertook formal training for or are you self-taught?
Sophie: I began with a Diploma of Commercial Photography back when we were still shooting with film and processing in darkrooms. I have been working on my own individual style ever since.
Tema: Do you run online or do you have a physical shopfront / stockists where people can access your photographic works?
Sophie: I work from home and shoot lifestyle sessions in the homes of my clients or out on locations, so I have no real studio or shop front. Aside from this, I pop up fairly regularly at markets around Adelaide. I don’t yet have an online store, but I do have a number of galleries on my website, which I print from (on request). I also post daily to my social media, which I find is a good way to connect with people who are interested in photography. My cards can be founds in various spots around Adelaide, such as Imprints Booksellers, Audrey’s House and Garden, and Her Name Was Nola, as well as a few others.
Tema: What do you think helps your photography business unique and a stand-out?
Sophie: I think I try to look for the subtitles in the day. The ordinary that is really extraordinary, the patterns left by light, those tiny little moments of connectedness that we all experience.
Tema: What have you found rewarding about being a small scale business in Adelaide / South Australia?
Sophie: I love working for myself. At the end of the day I am accountable, this means a lot of responsibility but also a lot of freedom. I can choose which direction I want to go in and I don’t have to work towards someone else’s vision. I can create my own.
Tema: What have you found challenging about being a small scale business in Adelaide / South Australia?
Sophie: I find it challenging that there aren’t others around who are working towards the same goal to bounce ideas around with. Your work is your work, your standard is your standard and it is up to you to keep on achieving that on a daily basis.
Tema: How did you get involved with Gathered SA?
Sophie: I first jumped on board with Gathered SA in March this year. It is a really great market, full of Adelaide makers and creatives so it has a really special vibe. I just love the Queens theatre as a venue. It is beautifully rustic and grand. I also had a stall in the Winter market in July, and am really excited about being a part of the next one in October!
Tema: What are you anticipating from the upcoming Gathered SA market?
Sophie: Well it’s Spring, so that is pretty exciting in itself! I’m looking forward to connecting with other stall holders, and meeting lots of lovely market goers and having the opportunity to show them some of my work.
Tema: What can people expect from visiting and/or supporting your business at the Market?
Sophie: I’m always up for a chat, and I love hearing stories about the places featured in my work! They can expect to find a full range of my cards, from all around Adelaide and South Australia, as well as prints and enlargements. My work is all printed locally, so their support goes a long way, in terms of enabling me to keep producing new work and engaging with my customers!
Tema: What would you like your customers to experience by buying something from you?
Sophie: I would like for them to be able to take something home that speaks to them, made by someone they have met, because that is part of the wonderful experience of shopping at a local market!
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about you and your business?
Sophie: My father is a photographer and my Grandmother before him. I think my Grandmother was 50 when she picked up her first camera, so I feel like I’ve had a head start. She was self-taught and had a real eye for striking imagery. I grew up in a house where the hallway was lined with black and white prints taken by my father on a trip to Spain and Morocco, before I was born. We had a dark room at the back. A little hidey hole of a room with an orange light which smelt of fixer. I used to play darkrooms when I was a girl. I’d pin bits of paper to a string with pegs that I had strung up in the back yard. I keep all of this with me when I am out with my camera. I kind of feel like it is in my blood, there is no shaking it.
You can visit Sophie Mosss Photography at the Gathered Design Market on October 26 + 27 from 10am – 4pm at the Queen’s Theatre in the Adelaide CBD.
Entry to the market is $2 and there is $4 (flat rate) parking available on Saturdays and Sundays at K Park along Playhouse Lane.
With thanks to Jenna O’Dell from Gathered SA for the interview opportunity.
Interview conducted by Fatema “Tema” Sitabkhan
Answers + images supplied by Sophie Mosimann // Sophie Mosss Photography