In conversation with: Sophia Andnyana
To coincide with our recent collaboration, I chat to photographer Sophia Adnyana (@sophiaadnyana) about stepping into professional photography, growing up in London and her own personal vision of womanhood. I first came across Sophia via her Instagram platform, Hibiscus (@thehibiscus_), dedicated to the celebration of other women of Asian decent. In an industry that can be so narrow in it's representation of women, I was drawn to the diversity Sophia was advocating through Hibiscus. Now stepping into the world of professional photography herself, Sophia showcases true diversity celebrating womanhood and the female form through a confident and sincere lens.
What are your tools of the trade?
Being inspired and influenced by artists around me helped form the foundation of how I see myself as a photographer. I'm still learning and finding my own style however I'm constantly reminded that there's no right way to photograph; especially now with beauty taking a more unconventional, natural form in fashion and art, I take inspiration from many different creatives to experiment with my work.
"There's no right way to photograph"
You grew up in North London, how do you feel that has shaped your photographic style?
Growing up in such a diverse city as London, I've always been exposed to so many cultures, races, religions. Since focusing on my passions in the creative world, I've met so many wonderfully brilliant and talented people from various aspects of the industry; London produces such creativity and I definitely wouldn't be able to produce the work I do without collaborations with like-minded people. I do believe that London style is quite distinct in that it is a culture that allows young people to represent and express themselves through visual uniqueness; so living in a place with such creative freedom puts no boundaries on how I present my subjects.
Your work centers around womanhood and the female form, what would you say your personal version of femininity looks and feels like?
For me, being comfortable in your own skin and owning your body is the truest representation of womanhood. I grew up around my mum's collection of Gustav Klimt paintings which always stood out to me, the women were depicted so fragile and delicate yet so elevated and goddess-like, a symbol for me that weakness is strength. Photographer Carlota Guerrero is probably my biggest inspiration at the moment, in that she similarly presents women in quite an ethereal way, but still very raw and natural. She paints the idea of beauty as embracing your body in spite of conventional stereotypes and that's how I also try to convey 'womanhood' and 'femininity' in my work.
What do you hope for people take from your work?
I hope for them to see the natural beauty in the subject, in a raw, unedited light. I also want to show the beautiful partnership between natural elements and the human form. Lastly, I like to create this dream-like state around the subject to highlight womanliness in all it's perfections and imperfections, for people to understand women as the goddesses they are.
Alongside your freelance work you also run your own platform, Hibiscus, what prompted you to start that work?
Earlier this year, I came across a prominent online publication who were looking for submissions for their next issue. I applied with my work and was successful until the last moment when I was ultimately turned away as I didn't fit into the publication's aesthetic (racially). From that, I decided to research social platforms that showcased creative Asian women but hardly found any to the equivalent of the publication I'd submitted my work to previously. I decided to then start my own platform dedicated to Asian women in all their creative capabilities; and I've come across some incredible ladies! I think also there is a stereotype with Asian women in a professional capacity, so highlighting them succeeding in careers that may be out of the norm or non-stereotypical is definitely something I want to show and hope to achieve through Hibiscus.
All images provided by Sophia Adnyana
For more information and work from Sophia, go to her Website & view her Instagram.