Born in Paris, Sophie Caby is a Los Angeles-based photographer. Her work focuses on people and landscape, and has been published in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Magazine, Madame Figaro and Intersection. Her first solo show “Terminus Los Angeles” opens at Wilding Cran’s UNIT B from December 13-27.
Paris-born photographer Sophie Caby moved to LA in 2012 without a car or a license. When she began to travel by bus in a city ruled by cars, she found another face of Los Angeles.
“Terminus Los Angeles” is Caby’s documentation of those she made the commute with every day. The exhibition, which runs from December 13 – 27, is the first to open at Wilding Cran gallery’s new independent creative project space, UNIT B.
Where are you from?
Paris, France. I grew up in a quiet suburb of Paris, I would take a thirty minute train ride into the city for adventures at night and on weekends.
When did you start making art?
At one year old, my father left the house. I had two photographs left of him. Later on, my stepfather introduced me to photography with a C220 Mamiya – it felt like watching the movie of life in real time. In high school, my philosophy teacher taught me how to print in the darkroom. At the faculty, the director of photography department taught me about the technics and gave me a Minolta. I started posing for myself and for established photographers. So, it all started from an impulse driven by the search for love.
A French-American critic and philosopher, (born 1929) whose work looks at the Holocaust, as well as the relationships between language, literature, and society. Steiner is considered one of the greatest minds of our time.
A Brazilian architect (1907-1012) who played a key role in the development of modern architecture. Niemeyer is famous for his use of abstract forms and curves, and work in reinforced concrete.
Philidelphia based architect (1901-1974), considered one of the greatest of his time. Kahn’s buildings were monumental and monolithic in scale, and did not attempt to hide any elements of their design.
Who influenced you growing up and who influences you today?
American TV shows like “Columbo” and fashion magazines influenced me, I knew the name of every model. Today, I am influenced by philosopher George Steiner, by architects Oscar Niemeyer and Louis Kahn. I have found architecture is the most important experience and I can not be happier in the city of Los Angeles. But… really what influences me is what I eat, what I drink and who I talk to and what I see on a daily basis. My work Terminus Los Angeles is a clear representation of what has influenced me during the past year.
How would you describe your style?
It is difficult for me to categorize myself because first of all I would need enough culture and knowledge of which movements and styles already exist, and second of all because I can never get enough perspective. I am always in my work I can never get away from it. But I am going to try: I think it is poetic, it is reportage-like, it is cold, it is compassionate and it is honest.
How and when did you decide that this is what you were going to do?
When everybody stopped saying you’re young, you’re smart, you’re cute.
“Outside of art,
my interests and passions are men.
I think they’re great.”
— Sophie Caby
What’s your story of getting started as an artist?
It started from having my friends encouraging me. I had the confidence and, in a way, the validation. I kept photographing, portraying, creating, expressing, and magazines were interested in my work and I realized I just had to keep doing what I wanted to do, almost without thinking.
How does it feel to have accomplished this body of work? What was the process like?
In the case of Terminus Los Angeles, the process was long because it was all made by hand. Those people I portrayed where just there, taking the bus off to work or else, and I would share that moment with them.
They went through chemicals, light projections, agitations in trays and ended up stuck between the plexiglass and the matt of a wooden frame. I am attached to all of them and I am proud of this work.
What’s your favorite book, film, and music right now?
My favorite book is the Oxford English Dictionary, and John Fante’s novels, especially “Ask the Dust” and “Bandini.”
Brazilian photojournalist, who travels worldwide on social documentary projects and has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2001.
I went to see this breathtaking documentary about Sebastiao Salgado “The Salt of the Earth” at Laemmle, it talks about everything I want to know about. I very much loved “Birdman” by Iñárritu too, the music was so good! Music wise, I become disabled, I can not listen to music and do something else (unless dancing), and I go through phases. It’s a torture to pick an album, so I am changing the question into which song have you listened to the most for the past week, and I go to my most played list now, it says “Do What You Gotta Do” by Simone.
What are your interests and passions outside of your art?
Outside of art, my interests and passions are men. I think they’re great.
How do you feel about the rising creative scene in LA?
I feel so excited to witness it, I always envied my friends talking about how New York used to be. Well, now it’s my turn with Los Angeles. There is so many stories to tell, so many characters to portray, so many beautiful buildings to experience, it’s endless.
What’s next for you?
Next is self-portraits.