What happens when a portrait artist and model swap roles? 26-year-old photographer Sophie Mayanne’s short film debut does just that in its exploration of the intimate relationship of portrait painting.
Mayanne is best known for her ongoing photography project ‘Behind The Scars’which celebrates bodily scars and those who bear them. Since April 2017, Mayanne has captured over 400 scar portraits and stories, encouraging many men, women and children all over the world to embrace the skin they are in. From surgical scars to accidents, the portraits capture each sitter’s unique, raw and emotionally fraught experiences.
For her latest project, Mayanne has utilised her striking style in her first short film ‘To Be Human’ and studies Brighton-based artist Emma Hopkins. The duo’s collaboration began when Mayanne sat for a series of portraits for Hopkins, of which one was awarded the Young Artist Award at the BP Portrait Awards this year and was on display at the National Portrait Gallery.
After developing a close relationship as artist and model, Mayanne and Hopkins decided to switch places. “Emma describes her methods of painting as ‘painting people from the inside out’ – her painting narratives explore human skin, and how our exteriors evolve and change. This short film, in turn, is my portrait of Emma,” Mayanne explains.
The film takes place in Hopkins’ Brighton studio and intimately investigates her relationship with making art. Growing up a shy child, Hopkins says it felt natural to find more introverted ways to express herself. As we catch glimpses of portrait studies surrounding the studio, viewers are given a unique insight into the process behind producing an award-winning portrait.
Mayanne’s raw sincerity, combined with Hopkin’s tender intimacy, pairs for a powerful film that truly allows us to better understand their personal relationship as artists and muses.