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Sophie Barbasch is a photographer based in New York City. She earned her MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BA in Art and Art History from Brown University and has achieved grants and residencies with the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Blue Mountain Center, the 2016 Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil, and more.
Fault Line presents a collection of atmospherically charged portraits taken in the coastal town of Brooklin, Maine. The subjects are members of Barbasch’s immediate and extended family, but the project’s main protagonist is the photographers younger cousin, Adam, who resides there.
“I chose the title because a fault line alludes to where the earth splits in an earthquake (a metaphor for a divided family with a complicated history) and also alludes to fault, or blame (I wonder, how does a family support each other, even when things aren’t perfect?) My goal is to show the weight we all carry and how we are both connected and isolated from each other.”
A clear tension is present within Barbasch’s imagery, especially surrounding the main protagonist we find in Adam, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence. An image of him in an awkward, restless stretch on a grey sanded beach seems to embody the physical and emotional growing pains that adolescence brings, while another depicts a young boy sitting alone in a landlocked canoe, in an almost dreamlike landscape. There are moments of connection and distance present within the series, hinting at the complicated narrative of family; a narrative that most of us know, to some degree. I found myself lost in these images for some time, caught up in the Barbasch’s drama and atmosphere, and caught a glimpse of myself as a boy in Adam. Brilliant work.
All images © Sophie Barbasch