Half Albanian, half Belgian, Sophie Rata grew up in Belgium and started completely devoting herself to photography about two years ago, but it was always part of her life somehow. After finishing school (photography) in 1998 she assisted Marc Lagrange for about a year. that was before digital photography when photographing was still quite an investment. At that time she was experiencing life, traveling and still photographing from time to time. Then all her equipment was stolen and she just stopped shooting for about 2 years. Embarking on a trip to India, she decided to acquire a digital camera …and from that moment on, she slowly but surely developed the passion that for the last 2 years has turned into an obsession. She always had a talent for drawing and found that with the digital revolution she was able to put her entire self into a photograph by editing it exactly the way she wants it to be.

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

i guess subconsciously when i started to realize i could fantasize my own reality through what i see in everyday life. so very soon in life actually..

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

mainly a nikon d700, 85mm 1.4, 50mm 1.5 and sometimes a 24mm 2.8 and a 70-200 2.8

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

Butterflies, i have this obsession with their colors how they always seem to match in every different species of butterflies… so I use that inspiration a lot in my work when it comes to color choices. I have hundreds of pictures and drawings of all different kinds of butterflies at home

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

it depends, sometimes i do sometimes i don’t… but i try to get jobs which allow me to do the kind of work i love most. i try to stay true to what i love instead of doing a lot of commercial jobs to earn more money

What is your all time favorite genre to shoot (portraiture, conceptual, documentary, commercial, etc..)?

whatever i have in mind, which can be every genre i guess creating a certain ambiance is very important to me

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

i really wouldn’t know for sure, but i guess the way i use color and i have a certain soft film-like editing style. also i tend to work with wide open f to get creamy dimensional blurs (hence why i mainly work with prime lenses) when editing i try to give my images kind of an analogue feel to them. I also try to make scenes look as plausible as possible, even when i really tweak colors and such. i love to create something surreal, but in such a way that it looks real, if u get what i mean, as if the world i create really does exist somewhere. I hate when a picture looks totally Photoshopped and fake, like shooting in studio with harsh light and then layering up in landscapes which are obviously fake… it can be done, but few are those manage to get it right in my opinion.
Light is very important!

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

amongst my favorite celebrities are: Lily Cole, Juliette Lewis, Scarlett Johansson, Kirsten Dunst, Ania Franziska Plaschg and Audrey Tautou, just to name a few. because of their endless beauty, and outspoken personality. but just actually anyone with that thing that triggers me would do, they really don’t need to be famous at all…

what’s your dream photo field trip?

i will be going on a shooting trip to Dartmoor soon, that’s one of them

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

hasselblad, because I like the challenge of square framing, the grip and the extreme fine quality of lenses.

who are your favorite photographers?

tim walker for his concepts
eugenio recuenco for the pure beauty, scenery and use of light
sally mann for ambiance, honesty and analogue love
marc lagrange for his perfect technique

do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?

show your work as much as you can and shoot and edit as much as you can, always strive to improve your skills. once you stop doing that, it’s over

what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?

i like listening to piano music a lot but I enjoy many, many styles of music. at the moment I love radical face for editing, I also tend to listen to soundtracks of movies that inspire me and sometimes i put on a great movie or series that i can watch over and over again while editing commercial work

what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?

outside on location

best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot? or best way to celebrate a brilliant capture?

a great vegan power meal and a fresh orange-carrot-ginger juice

will you share with us one of your favorite shots?

This is one of my faves because it looks so weird and i love the colors, actually I took this shot while we were cleaning up, i saw her walking with the frame as such and of course asked her for a few more shots. The light was perfect, actually it was dark already… i like shooting in twilight.

your favorite photo by another photographer?

I have many, but here’s one by Sally Mann. I really love how bizarre this whole scene looks with the kid on stilts in the background and the way they are standing there as adults waiting for something…

Candy Cigarette ©Sally Mann

are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?

Neither, or a little bit of both

what’s your sign? (we’re conducting a poll)


who would you like to see interviewed by photopolus next?

Marc Lagrange


If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com, subject: Art Star.
*please include your website and examples of your work