It can be said that the modern high-gloss portrait corresponds to more of a phantasmagoria than reality. Staging and retouching are the tools for this kind of trickery. If one reverses the signs, however, we suddenly have a captivating, sensitive kind of photographic art. This is precisely the standout quality of Sofie Knijff's pictures. They depict children from every country on Earth. But she allows the protagonists themselves to decide how they want to be seen. Knijff asks her subjects about their ideal selves, or dreams of themselves, and the answers she receives are photographs in which the girls and boys become reflections of their desires, possibilities, and hopes. Whether amusing or emotional, posed seriously or with a sly wink, the photographs always testify to an originality whose photographic imagination will perhaps soon be reality.
SOFIE KNIJFF (*1972) studied acting in Maastricht and photography in Amsterdam. Her works have been seen in shows around the world. Her special eye has led to numerous publications in well-known magazines.
EXHIBITION Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago, Autumn 2020