“My work is a study of reverie, a powerful alchemy that the performer and audience inspire, exist in, and respond to during the cycle of a festival. A presence that everyone has a part in, that brings an otherworldliness to the occasion; an atmosphere of something greater than ourselves,” Sophie says.
Her works capture the essence of the eagle, too – its extraordinary power to see clearly from great heights and across vast distances, inspiring personal transformations.
Eagles still have a mythical resonance in the Asian eagle hunting nations of Mongolia, southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. They are a powerful symbol of transformation – signifying a higher ‘self’ taking flight, lifting free from worldly entanglement and soaring to an expanded vision of reality.
At the festival there are a series of games that showcase the speed, agility, accuracy and Kazakh dress of the eagle and trainer.
The theme that runs through Sophie’s work has its own traditional name – the baraka – which is best described as the spiritual thread that lies between nature and the divine experience so often experienced at festivals.
“My personal practice has resulted in an anthology of imagery that tells individual stories, while visualising the change in the psyche of those swept away,” she says. “In the moment I can feel what I call the baraka that the performer and audience inspire together, exist in and respond to. The way I interpret this is that it makes people feel like they are involved in something greater than themselves. It is a magical experience.”
This exhibition is part of a larger body of work on festivals, which has continued since Sophie’s early career where she worked solely in the music industry, largely at rock festivals.
The creation of her book ‘Peace Love and Brown Rice - A Photographic History of the Big Day Out’ was self published to enduring popular and critical acclaim.