Sophie Jade speaks to Bow Arts about beauty standards, defying limits and simple narratives, and finding a safe haven in her studio in Camden.
Dramatic and polished, the models in Sophie Jade’s fashion and beauty photographs are styled glamorously. Yet, a bold or glossy-yet-natural lip, or a dreamy tilt to the head are often the most extravagant of Sophie’s subtle -but effective- stylistic interventions to draw the eye in her portraiture. Preferring a down-to-earth approach that centres the model’s own uniqueness, Sophie’s lens refutes ‘beauty’ as an ideal that distorts the rich complexity that exists in the real world.
Sophie is part of Bow Arts’ growing community of artists based in the studios in Camden. We caught up with her to ask more about her artistic practice, find out what inspires her, and celebrate her successes.
Introduce yourself and tell us a little about your practice!
My name is Sophie Jade and I am a photographer from London specialising in portraiture, fashion and beauty. I work both in the studio and on location. Beyond merely taking pictures, my goal is to tell a story, particularly those that centre on female experiences and the complexities of girlhood.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m now working on expanding my beauty photography portfolio, collaborating with different London talent agencies, while also working on a photography project regarding natural hair.
What’s the drive/motivation behind your work?
What inspires me is the amazing journey it is to portray women in various contexts. In a society where competing and, at times, demanding standards for women of behaviour, attractiveness, and identity are frequently presented, it is crucial to provide women with a space where they may feel confident, safe and positive. This is something I strive for in my portraiture sessions.
It is not in my vision to alter someone’s skin tone, morph their silhouette, or display them in an unrealistic way.Sophie Jade
While beauty photography often finds itself under scrutiny, painted as a tool that disempowers and distorts reality, I’m adamant about veering away from the style of editing that is bizarrely inhuman. I’m not trying to hide someone’s uniqueness or change their natural beauty. It is not in my vision to alter someone’s skin tone, morph their silhouette, or display them in an unrealistic way. Working closely with new face models in their developmental phase has given me a front-row seat to the rich variety of human character. There are many different types of beauty, and the diversity of society is something that really motivates me. I get my inspiration from people’s faces.
What themes are you interested in?
I enjoy looking at femininity from a variety of perspectives; I also love uplifting models with disabilities and differences. Our cultural landscape is enriched by diversity in the media. Richer narratives, more complex dialogues, and a wider range of aesthetic enjoyment result from it. When we simply appreciate one type of beauty, we place limitations on ourselves.
When we simply appreciate one type of beauty, we place limitations on ourselves.Sophie Jade, Photographer
Who are your artistic influences/inspirations?
I love the work of Nadine Ijewere, who is known for celebrating the diversity of her models, many of whom do not fit the stereotypes of the fashion industry as well as photographers such as Maisie Cousins and Chantel King.
How has having an affordable studio impacted your practice/what is it you like about having your
A low-cost studio for me has served as a haven for unrestricted creativity, offering the invaluable gift of space to explore, experiment, and implement varied artistic concepts. The affordability factor has alleviated a lot of financial stress for me, allowing me to focus more on the creative process rather than continuously thinking about how to make ends meet.
A low-cost studio for me has served as a haven for unrestricted creativity, offering the invaluable gift of space to explore, experiment, and implement varied artistic concepts.Sophie Jade
Has having access to a studio in central London affected your practice?
In December of 2022, I was considering abandoning my ambition of becoming a photographer since I did not have the ability to consistently hire out studios by the hour. Having my own studio has completely changed everything for me. When I’m overwhelmed, I have a peaceful space where I can be creative and escape the stresses of the world. Art is truly healing.
What are the challenges you face as an artist/designer/maker?
Being young and also a woman can often translate to not being taken seriously, which adds an additional layer of complexity to pursuing a career in a field like photography or art—a discipline that is already commonly dismissed as financially unstable or “impractical.” Women are increasingly gaining top positions in the traditionally male-dominated fashion sector. I sincerely hope that more female fashion photographers emerge in the future.
Being young and also a woman can often translate to not being taken seriously, which adds an additional layer of complexity to pursuing a career in a field like photography or art—a discipline that is already commonly dismissed as financially unstable or “impractical.”Sophie Jade, Photographer
I am also autistic, which presents a distinct set of hurdles but also gives me a unique lens through which I see the world. However, photography has been an empowering medium for me and has allowed me to socialise more and make friends.
The camera is more than just a tool for me; it allows me to translate my particular challenges and frustrations into a distinct creative voice. This voice speaks not only for me, but for all others who battle to be heard in a world that all too frequently silences individuals who do not fit certain moulds. Life is a never-ending road full of challenges, yet each shot I take not only improves my portfolio but also strengthens my drive to keep challenging standards and defying expectations.
About Sophie Jade
Sophie Jade is a fashion photographer based in London. The essence of Sophie’s passion is rooted in the empowerment of individuals and the promotion of diversity. Her photography is a reflection of this conviction, capturing meaningful moments and emotions that inspire positive change. Sophie’s fascination with fashion and beauty shapes her unique approach to photography.