Waves Of raw Emotion
The pandemic hit me in the same sudden and devastating way as most people I knew. Without warning, the world as we knew it came to a screeching halt and there was nothing anyone could do about it. During the first few weeks my friends and I rode waves of raw emotion. We cooked extravagant dinners and drank way too much wine. We cried, laughed until we started crying again, and tried to make light of a dark situation that we were convinced would be over soon. And on it went, day after day, night after night.
By week three, the crazy began to set in. As a photographer I am constantly thinking of what to create next, and I find the deepest inspiration while moving through the world. Losing the freedom of travel left me feeling stuck, depressed, and uninspired. I needed to create something or I felt I was going to explode.
Unicorn Of Sorts
I began to notice how the emotions of my friends and I had become exaggerated - larger than life and all consuming. Was there a way to capture that? I was acutely aware that this moment in history was never going to happen again. Sure, another virus could come along and send us spiraling into another global pandemic, but then it would be different because we would have already experienced this one and in some ways would know what to expect. March 2020 was a unicorn of sorts and my desire to document it shifted from curiosity to urgency.
In Flux Was Born
The idea of going to people’s houses and photographing them through their windows was one approach, but didn’t feel very me. Rather than photographing people in their environments, I wanted to strip everything away to focus on their experience inside themselves. As I sat on my front porch trying to figure out how to that, it hit me, I would invite people to come to me. This was the moment In Flux was born.
Blindly Falling Towards
I was fortunate that the house I was living in at the time had a space out front that would allow me to photograph people while keeping a safe distance. I set up a backdrop with light and dark fabric, and began inviting people to come have their photograph taken. After, I asked my subjects to bring their partners, their friends, their children, their pets, or to come alone. This was about capturing them as they were in that exact moment, no makeup, no creative direction, no wardrobe guidance, no agenda. Just them transitioning between everything they knew and held safe, and this new world they were blindly falling toward. The moment in between, a moment in flux.
A Few Words
I also asked them to share a few words that best described what they were experiencing. Their responses were striking: Surrender - Uncertainty - Patience - Heartbreak - Family - Play - Longing - Duality -
Hallucination - Little Joys - Still - Reflect - Messy - Split - Grounding - Groundless - Anxious - Raw - Overwhelmed - Tenderness - Dream - Transformation - Detail - Shatter - Cocoon - Hope
Three Rolls Of HP5+
Each session I shot three rolls of Ilford HP5+ on my Hasselblad 500C/M. I chose this film because of its gorgeous ability to translate well in all lighting situations. Even though I aimed to photograph each subject around the same time of day, I was aware that the light would vary a lot throughout the project.
Comprehend The Chaos
As I look back on the images two years later, I see now that they are not just special to me because of how they turned out, but more so because of the connection this project gave me to others during a very isolated and frightening time. There were days when we would shoot for ten minutes then talk for two hours. At the end of the day, we were all just trying to comprehend the chaos and recognize that we were not alone. Even though Covid is still a presence in our lives, the world has adapted and we are learning how to move forward the best we can. I will forever be grateful for the humans who helped make this project happen both on camera and off. At the end of the day, the connections we share are all that we have.
About The Author
Sophie is a fashion & lifestyle photographer who now splits her time between Los Angeles and the Oregon coast after almost a decade in New York City. While in NYC she studied under the dance photographer Lois Greenfield and received her degree in photography at Parsons School of Design. Drawing inspiration from the way light can dance, she focuses on portraits and the way people move throughout the world. Utilizing a mix of film and digital, she seeks to share the stories of the people who inspire her. Her client list includes Google, Apple, Frank & Eileen, Goop, Daily Harvest, Style Magazine Italia, Pedal Electric, Béis Travel, Who What Wear, Cancer Wellness, Lorna Jane, Fit Fab Fun, and LaColombe.
www – www.sophiekuller.com
Instagram – @sophkuller