Family Photography Therapy in Sophie Barbasch’s Project
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.