STORIES: Sophie Rosen
September 2nd – November 27th, 2017
*extended through February 2018
“What would you talk about if asked to tell a story?” This is the question that Union College junior, Sophie Rosen, asked over twenty friends and classmates in order to create her series of expressive photographs in the exhibition, STORIES. The photographs are classic, mostly full-face, color portraits, shot simply in soft light against black backgrounds. Yet the depth of expression that Rosen achieves is far from simple.
In the words of the psychology major/photographer, “This project was inspired by the desire to bring out the emotions someone feels while telling a story. Facial expressions can do so much to deepen a viewer’s understanding of how someone feels when revealing whatever they might consider to be ‘their’ story.”
In the exhibition, viewers are first presented with striking, emotional sequences of portraits, followed by quotes from the sitters which reveal the nature of the subject matter being disclosed.
We get a glimpse of the inner lives of the models, and our own inner workings, when we read the quotes and reconcile our presumptions with the actual sentiments being expressed in each frame. A few of Rosen’s subjects express of-the-moment political quandaries, while others impart poignancy in addressing matters of sexual violence, mortality, and serious illness. Rosen seems to be drawing our attention to the underlying pain and loss that we all carry, perhaps in the hopes that this knowledge will translate into respect when interacting with each other.
However, the photographs which seem to linger in the mind the most are those with mildly enigmatic quotes. Combined with the accompanying, often ambiguous expressions, these leave us wondering how the sitters truly feel about their admissions and if our conclusions are correct, or not?
Rosen is from Westport, Connecticut, and is currently studying both psychology and visual arts, with a strong focus in photography. She aspires to utilize her passion for both of these areas of focus in her future career.