Contemporary Artist Revives Old Hollywood Aesthetics For Fashion Week

by Amir Bakian

The opportunity to engage with art created by like-minded individuals with similar identities wields an incredible meaning for the LGBTQIA+ community and others who may not often see themselves reflected in mainstream media. As a non-binary, queer, and feminine-presenting fine art photographer, Sophie Chalk is breaking barriers and challenging traditional norms in the art world. Their unique blend of old and new world aesthetics captivates audiences with striking lighting design and historical signifiers. Telling important stories of queer experience that are often overlooked or underrepresented.


Sophie’s work is characterized by a high level of technical skill and a deep understanding of history, allowing them to blend old and new world aesthetics seamlessly. With a portfolio of portraits that could rival some of the greats in studio photography history with their lighting design alone. Sophie’s technical accomplishments for an artist under 30 are truly noteworthy. Sophie was also awarded a scholarship to the Parsons MFA Program, which they completed online during the COVID-19 era.

“I use photography to encourage viewers of my art to re-see the world around them,” Sophie explains the motivation for their work. “Raising questions about the images held in archives we consider to be historically accurate or true when so many stories were never able to be told,”. Creating these portraits also allowed Sophie to see their own identity reflected in their work before they could come to terms with it. “It’s almost as though I created a world where historically it was safe to just be myself,” they said. Creating this world has become a mission for the fast-rising artist and photographer.

In sharing some of their wisdom on how they developed their practice, Sophie shared “Copying, mimicking, and emulating are all valuable skills to cultivate as an artist. They allow you to gain control of your process and find your own unique voice. Just be sure to reference and pay homage to your inspiration.” Some of the old world photographers Sophie has referenced in the past include Madame d’Ora, Edward Steichen, Harriet Louise and Cecil Beaton. “Much of my other inspiration comes from contemporary LGBTQIA+ artists such as Catherine Opie, Joel Stephen Birnie, Jessica Schwientek, Jesse Egner and Connor ‘Foot’ Ovenden-Shaw,”.

Audiences worldwide love this work style, evidenced by the thousands of engagements on Sophie’s social media platforms. Having brought their love of all things photography all the way from Australia, Sophie has seen much success in the last year. Their other experimental, camera-less darkroom works have been internationally received in locations including Melbourne, Pingyao, Bandung, New York, and Barcelona. In speaking with us Sophie shares that they are excited to be gaining attention for their portraiture as it is where they first fell in love with photography.

Using their unique artistic voice, Sophie is creating a new inclusive narrative and representative of diverse perspectives. Challenging what we know from visual history and what we perceive to be the truth in archives. To that end, Sophie has just launched an arts education podcast with art historian and educator Seema Rao, aptly named the ArtLust Podcast.

With their exceptional talent, innovative approach, and impressive exhibition record, Sophie Chalk is an artist to watch. Be sure to check out their portfolio and follow them on social media to stay up-to-date on their latest projects.

Presented by: Ascend Agency

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