Photo project

Family Photography Therapy in Sophie Barbasch’s Project

American photographer captures relatives, hoping to improve the relationships in the family.
Sophie Barbasch

Lives in New York City. Rhode Island School of Design graduate. Published her works in LensCulture, iGNANT, and Feature Shoot.

Fault Line is a project I am doing in the small coastal town of Brooklin, Maine. The protagonist is my younger cousin Adam, who lives there. I feel connected to him and his experience. I feel I can express myself through him. Although there is a big age gap, I feel like we understand each other uniquely. He is incredibly perceptive and intelligent. He collaborates with me and helps me come up with ideas.

I also photograph my brother, father, and other cousins. I chose the title because a fault line alludes to where the earth splits in an earthquake. This is a metaphor for a divided family with a complicated history. My goal is to show the weight we all carry and how we are both connected and isolated from each other.

I feel tension in my life between wanting to be very close to my family and feeling overwhelmed by difficult relationships. I know that making photos will not bring resolution to my problems, but on some level it helps me understand things in a different way. I am trying to understand how a family support one another even when things aren’t perfect.

Brooklin is a small town of about 800 people. It is an isolated place, surrounded by both the ocean and the woods. There is a harshness in that environment that I am drawn to — or maybe simply being close to nature entails a certain harshness.

In my photos, I am trying to capture an interior experience where my subject is present in his/her surroundings but also focused on something else — a thought or memory or feeling — something not visible in the frame.

The pictures in Fault Line present a series of everyday moments where I use formal elements to convey reflection, disruption and isolation.

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