The perfect alignment between head, eyes and heart. This is what photography means for Sophie Kietzmann, a fashion beauty and portrait photographer from Berlin, based in New York. They started developing their creative expression at a very young age, at 7 years old, when playing at taking pictures with their dad's camera. From a game for children, photography has become much more for Sophie, a tool that allows them to express ideas and opinions, to create her own personal vision of the world.
Their work is inspired and strongly connected by their personal history, their own story of coming out. While growing up, Sophie realized that queer women weren't represented so much, so they could't identify themselves among all the faces and bodies present in the media. Once they started working within the fashion photography business, they felt the need to give these people access to the commercial industry.
They built a universe where people that are not usually seen, can finally look at their image reflected, glance at themselves and be proud. Sophie's camera is a mirror that shows the bodies the way they are, a mirror which allows us to recognize ourselves, in all shapes and types.
I photograph the people I would have liked to see represented when I was growing up. Not just people I would identify myself with, but also others that are underrepresented visually
Queer people still need to be more integrated and incorporated within the visual representation, but not only them. Sophie Kietzmann has given space and exposure to a variety of topics that have been left out of the scene for quite a long time. People with disabilities, physical issues and elderly, for example. By creating trust and a safe space, Sophie wants to convey an image that is honest and truthful, which respects the identity and integrity of the person in front of the camera. Their gaze is sharp and blunt, but also caring and mindful. When representing the diversity of the body, there is nothing but empowerment, self love and self respect. Sophie's photos emphasize the concept of the human body as a miracle, that we should all be grateful for.
For Sophie, portraits have no limitations or boundaries nor prejudices. The whole process of taking portraits becomes a neutral ground where to interact with people and give them access to the commercial industry, the spotlight they truly deserve.
A very interesting aspect of Sophie's photography work is the representation of ageism. The fashion industry and the media have barely showcased the elderly, especially the LGBTQIA+ one. Sophie has been involved in a photographic project with Sage, an organization dedicated to the eldery LBGTQIA+ community, portraying several members. Again, their gaze is not sugar coated, but it keeps intact its sincerity and simplicity.
"It's important for the younger generation of our communities to see them represented, to see their stories being told and to be connected with our generation".
Sophie Kietzmann is a photographer who depicts the world as they would like to be in reality. A world where everybody can be seen. And we want that world too.