Feature: Soulfire PhotographySeptember 11, 2013
We had the chance to speak with Sonja of Soulfire Photography about her work, her inspirations and her upcoming projects.
Think you are looking at screen captures from the game when you are looking at that Draugr Deathlord pictured below? If you answered yes, you weren’t the only one. Actually, that’s Bill from Punished Props in his Draugr Deathlord costume that Sonja from Soulfire Photography had the chance to capture and it’s the photo that drew me in to her creative and detailed photography work.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi there! I’m Sonja, I recently graduated with a BS in Biology, specializing in Plant Sciences, with a minor in Geoscience. I currently wrangle zombie plants and in my spare time, take photos of ridiculously amazing people. I live with my better half and my pup, Kara. I’m trying to incorporate photography as a main source of income but….that’s a very slow process. Either way, I love what I do, and I love the people I work with!
What inspired you to get into photography?
I was raised in an artistic household and was always encouraged to pretty much explore any and all artistic outlets. It’s something that I have always been grateful for. Photography just happened to be the outlet that I took to like a duck to water!
How long have you been a photographer?
In highschool, I was on the crew team and at every regatta, I’d get bored, and end up taking peoples’ cameras and photographing the trip (because I didn’t have my own at the time). When I graduated highschool, I received my first DSLR (Kodak P850) as a present and started using photography as a creative outlet and a way to stay sane during classes! It really all went downhill from there.
Do you have anyone whose work is particularly inspiring to you?
Oh….goodness. Okay this is a little complicated. Photography-wise, Zhang Jingna ( http://www.zhangjingna.com/ ) is a photographer that I look up to and admire (I have for years, really). Her work is amazing and absolutely flawless. I was fortunate to meet her two years ago at MLG Raleigh when she was there with her Starcraft team. Her work inspires me to always reach for more and to keep evolving in my style. I also have a mentor of sorts, Matt Norris ( http://mgnorris.zenfolio.com/ ). I started talking with him a few years ago and he helps me keep my head on straight and pushes me to create goals to strive for. I’m pretty sure I’d be struggling to grow as a photographer without his help.
What subjects are the most interesting to you to photograph?
As much as I enjoy fashion and weddings (both of which are fun for me, I wish I had the opportunity to do more), cosplayers are always intriguing to work with. For me, when working with cosplayers, it’s less about creating a pretty portrait and more about helping them become who (or what) they’re cosplaying (yay character-driven portraiture!). This involves a lot more research before a shoot, doing my best to find appropriate locations, brainstorming lighting ideas… even getting a soundtrack/playlist ready on my iPod. The more emotion showing through the photo, the better. A lot of the time, I have people telling me my photos made them cry/gasp/flip tables. Mission accomplished. If that’s the case, it means that the collaboration between the model and I worked as we wanted it to. A model that has a deep seated love for their character (or entire series) is the best model to work with. It really allows me to create some amazing emotive portraits and scenes.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you might be working on?
I have been trying to organize a photo project based on a piece of artwork a good friend of mine created (you can see it here: http://fav.me/d5nse1j ). In this piece, she created an emotion using a character with no face, relying solely on body language and color. I’ve been looking for models and makeup artists (and assistants…and anyone who is interested in collaborating with me) to work with me on this over time. I’ve had a few people show interest, but this is a photo project that will be quite the undertaking for all of us.
I have also been working on a series of horror photos based on personal fears and phobias myself and my friends have. We have a lot of ideas and have fleshed out some amazing scenes, the hardest part is finding the timing that works best for all of us. This actually started when deviantArt ran a contest for Guillermo del Toro’s “Mama” (My collaboration entry is here: http://fav.me/d5r0b7x ). I’m really hoping we can continue on with this project soon!
Where can we find more of your work?
Header photo credit to Soulfire Photography and Punished Props