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Sophie Elgort On Empowerment And Expression

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Follow Sophie’s work – Photos by Bridget Badore for The Style Line

“It’s so important for all different individuals across the world to have

a platform to express themselves and through art we can see the world through many sets of eyes,” Sophie Elgort relayed in our interview below, “It’s important to be original, think for yourself and not to blindly follow something just because everyone else is doing it.” In an age where documenting every little thing in real-time often conflicts with one’s ability to actually experience a moment, you could say that style maven and esteemed photographer Sophie Elgort is on a mission to humanize the way we approach both fashion and photography.

For one thing, Sophie’s penchant for portraiture is perhaps her strongest suit and it’s evidenced in her impressive body of work for legacy brands like ADIDAS and Mercedes Benz – she truly captures the essence of her subjects in a real, modern and relatable way. In contrast, Sophie is also no stranger to life behind the camera as she has been featured in esteemed publications including Teen Vogue, Glamour and Forbes.

Speaking more to this idea, the bonafide visual storyteller is now harnessing her widespread influence to give back to the next generation of aspiring photographers. Sophie’s initiative Through Our Lens, co-founded with Carolyn Pride, is on a mission to ensure diversity within the industry by cultivating opportunity, mentorship and resources for teen girls who are looking to explore careers in fashion. Coupling this empowering endeavor with her busy shoot schedule and growing client roster, we’re so honored to have caught Sophie in a relatively quiet moment to chat more about what’s next in her burgeoning career.

From finding her artistic voice to fostering her personal style discover our inspiring conversation with Sophie below which features beautifully captured moments from our visit at her airy New York home by Bridget Badore for The Style Line.

I’m a fashion and portrait photographer born and

raised in New York City. My work has been featured internationally in magazines including Glamour, Teen Vogue and The Financial Times and I’ve also created images for brands like ADIDAS, OLAY and Mercedes Benz. Alongside my photography, I also contribute to a variety of media outlets and do public speaking as a photography and style expert. The most important thing in my life is my family and friendships. I like to spend my free time playing guitar, skiing, traveling and exploring new places, cultures and foods, documenting everything with my camera along the way.

How would you describe your respective relationships to fashion and photography and what speaks to you the most about these mediums as a form personal and professional expression?

Fashion is how I express myself on the outside and photography/creating images is how I express experiences. When I have the chance to take someone’s portrait, I’m trying to catch through my camera a glimpse of this person’s personality.

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Tell us about the inception of Through Our Lens and your hopes for the initiative. Why is launching a venture like this important now more than ever and what are your plans for this in the coming months?

My co-founder Carolyn Pride and I launched Through Our Lens with the goal of boosting racial, socioeconomic and gender variety in fashion; behind the lens as well as in front of the camera. Through Our Lens provides life-changing access and significant mentorship to teen girls who are underrepresented in the fashion space. We live in a diverse population, so the world should be seen through the viewpoints of and represented by every background, gender, race, and ethnicity.

As one of our board members, Nneya Richards, so well put it, “the best way to move the narrative along towards empowerment and inclusion is to open doors for more young women to be apart of writing that narrative” – and right now this is more important than ever. To date, we’ve raised over $15K, partnered with MZWallace and are just getting started – orientation with our first class of girls starts on February 4, 2017 and the programming will run every other Saturday through June! We are actually still taking applications through January 1st if anyone reading this wants to apply, they can do so here.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

Where is the last place you traveled? (And I’ll answer the question in case you want to know…) I was in San Miguel de Allende two weeks ago attending a friend’s wedding and it was one of the most exciting places I’ve been, both culturally and visually. I am very excited about some of the images I captured there.

As a born and raised New Yorker how have you learned to embrace the quiet moments at home? Do you feel there is a synergy between your approach to both personal and interior style and why is it important for creative people to have an inspiring space even while off-duty?

The rare times that I get to spend at home feel like the biggest luxury especially in a city like NYC where there are a million things going on every night. I like my home to be livable, not too precious, a place I feel comfortable in and also that your guests feel comfortable in – something I learned from my parents. I think my personal style is like that too, it’s a mix of styles, mostly from designers that I have relationships with or items I pick up along the way and keep for my whole life so everything feels personal. Same thing in the home, my husband and I have collected pieces from our travels around the world and our adventures around flea markets. Every piece has a story and a meaning.

Generally how do you think we can use accessible vehicles like fashion to impact the world in world in a positive way?

I think as long as the fashion industry is inclusive and representative of all backgrounds (why we started Through Our Lens), then fashion is an outlet, a way for people to express themselves and also transcend barriers.

How would you advise the next generation of photographers, makers and creatives to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

It’s so important for all different individuals across the world to have a platform to express themselves and through art we can see the world through many sets of eyes. It’s important to be original, think for yourself and not to blindly follow something just because everyone else is doing it. That applies to art, but more importantly big ideas throughout the world.