Fashion communication and styling student and It’s Nice That Graduate Sophie Mayanne has an incredibly strong portfolio of images that play with the notions of self-expression. To Sophie, London seemed the obvious choice when deciding which university to go to. “I was living in a small countryside village and had this big idea that London was the place I needed to be,” she says. “So I scoured university courses for something that could be my indefinite route there.” During her time there, she saw it as a period of growing up: “Time at university matures you,” she says. “You learn, you’re tested, but still smiling at the end.”
It was Sophie’s final third year project that she feels is her best, as it was a culmination of applying everything she’d learned over three years to her work. “I was much more comfortable and directive with bringing myself across in the images,” Sophie explains. “And I’ve learned more about how I can communicate and draw more from my subjects.”
Titled Fitting Inside a Box Would Be Real Nice, Sophie initially looked to her youth for this project: “I was inspired by the posters that were lovingly strewn across my once bare walls in my youth. [The project] explores the notions and perceptions of a modern poster boy,” she explains. Challenging the “scroll, click and save generation,” Sophie cast ten boys each seemingly with a story to tell. “Each portrait cultivates our need to be constantly tuned in… taking the social feeds of now back to the posters that once hung and fell from the walls.” Beautifully shot, it’s hard not to feel mesmerised by Sophie’s ability to convey an idea or narrative.
Throughout Sophie’s work she’s been able to spot the possibilities in a project, even when it wasn’t going in the direction she’d initially hoped. Her 365 day self-portrait project is a great example of this. “I continued as far as day 211 as I then began to expand my focus after realising there was much more I could explore, photograph and do,” Sophie says. “I soon turned my camera on my flatmates and friends."
“I learned that following my own ideas, creativity and path was integral… And the images that have a piece of you in them are always going to be the best ones you take.”Sophie Mayanne
It’s this focus that has allowed Sophie to create some stunning images but in the beginning she sometimes struggled. “Often you feel compelled to say ‘yes’ to things that really aren’t right for you. After saying yes to a number of things I wasn’t 100% into, I was starting to produce images I really disliked,” Sophie explains. “So I started to pull back and work out who I was contributing and working with to figure out what did and didn’t work.”
After watching editor-in-chief of Boys by Girls magazine, Cecilie Harris work hard for what she believes in, Sophie began to see the importance of creative integrity. “I learned that following my own ideas, creativity and path was integral… And the images that have a piece of you in them are always going to be the best ones you take.”
The work of New York-based photographer David Armstrong inspires Sophie and he’s someone she’d love to show her portfolio to. It’s his series of portraits taken in his own home, 615 Jefferson Ave that she admires most. “These portraits are raw and have an unrelenting depth… When I look at these portraits I am drawn in by the silent emotions and sincerity of the subject.” It’s something Sophie hopes to explore as she develops as a photographer.
Travelling the world is the ideal next step for Sophie, beginning with Europe, and she hopes it’ll bring plenty of photographic opportunities. “I think meeting others, photographing them and just seeing new things I haven’t experienced before will expand my world view. In many ways I feel naive and sheltered so I just need to go out there to learn and embrace new experiences.”
We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2015 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic and digital design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduate scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2015.
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.