In a cultural landscape that is predominantly focused on manipulating images towards perfection, Sophie Mayanne is favouring a different approach. The 24-year-old photographer portrays women in a raw and honest way, purposefully focusing on features most fashion or beauty imagery would probably not put centre stage: scars. Starting a photography series called “Behind the Scars” earlier this year, Sophie is looking to change our perception of something we have often been taught is not to be shown. Especially because scars’ origins more often than not are inimitably linked to shocking or traumatic events.
In her series, Sophie’s protagonists speak openly and honestly about the situations that brought their scars about – and the London based photographer is equally vocal about what she wishes viewers take from her project: “I want people to be able to see them from my perspective, and I want them to see the beauty in themselves that other people see. I want them to feel comfortable, and liberated in embracing themselves wholly in front of the camera.”
This journey towards self-acceptance is one each of her subjects is tackling in a very personal way, Sophie says, with their relationships with themselves as varied as the scars themselves. “Some fully embrace them, others find the process of exposing them therapeutic. I learn something new from each person I meet, but I think what I’ve learnt that whatever life throws at you – it’s best to face it head on with a positive attitude!” Sophie is looking to create these empowering bonds not only with the women in front of her camera, but also the people looking at them – for an image still is one of the most immediate and powerful tools to trigger an audience’s interest.
“Photography is relatable because it can be a realistic representation of another person – when it is in its rawest form,” Sophie explains, “I think the combination of the photograph and the story is what allows the project to change people’s perceptions. I want the photos to have a positive impact, and challenge people to think differently about their own skin.”