A fresh lens in the photography world

Sophie Barkham feeds her creative frustration with photography, any chance she gets
Student photographer Sophie Barkham.
Image supplied by: Photo by Andrew Johnson
Student photographer Sophie Barkham.

Whether she’s taking fashion portraits of her friends or photos for Queen’s Players, photographer Sophie Barkham finds a creative outlet wherever she goes.

You may have seen hundreds of Barkham’s photographs on the Underground’s Facebook page, where she does photography shoots three or four times a week.

Or you may have seen her work on the MUSE Magazine’s website, where she works as head photographer and manages a team of photographers.

Barkham, ArtSci ’16, says she started photography in the darkroom at her arts high school in Grade 10.

“It was so stressful, working in that darkroom,” she said. “But I fell in love with it.”

She said she was creatively frustrated when she came to Queen’s. Barkham’s classes are more artistic than most — she’s a drama student — but they still left her thirsty for other creative outlets.

That’s when she started shooting, she said.

“I started doing headshots for theatre productions and photographs for campus events. I started shooting for the Underground last year,” she said.

While she takes various types of photographs on campus, Barkham says fashion shoots are her favourite.

“Fashion photography is where my heart’s at,” she said.

(A photograph taken by Barkham for MUSE Magazine)

As a student who plans to pursue photography after graduation, Barkham said she hopes to be a refreshing female voice in a male-dominated field.

Most of the fashion photography we see depicts women through a “male gaze”, she said, referring to a perspective through which women are objectified and degraded. It’s something she wants to change.

“There is a place for female photographers portraying women the way women should be portrayed,” she said.

Several aspects of photography attracted her to the field, she said.

(A photograph by Sophie Barkham during an Advanced Fashion Photography course at Ryerson University)

“I love the technical aspects of it. The lighting, being able to really understand the art,” Barkham said.

“But I also think there’s such a demand! People say everybody’s a photographer now with the growth in technology. I actually think that makes the standard of professional photographers that much higher.”

Barkham added that she has advice for female photographers looking for creative outlets.

“Take every opportunity,” she said. “They’ll come to you if you look for them.”

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