CONGREGATION WORKSHOP // by sophie green

My most recent project – collaborating with the church congregation for the last year and a half – has been particularly special. Alongside the shoots, I have been doing some photography workshops, which generally culminate in a variety of unrelated activities including dance offs, climbing tractors or doing gymnastics on the street. Here are some behind the scenes snaps...

BLACK DIAMOND // by sophie green

Sharing a little story I shot of 'Ayu' in Tokyo last year who is a member of the Ganguro 'Black Diamond' subculture. Ganguro is an alternative fashion trend among young Japanese women that started in the mid 1990s by rebellious youth who contradicted the traditional Japanese concept of beauty; pale skin, dark hair and neutral makeup tones. Ganguro instead tanned their skin, bleached their hair and used colourful makeup in striking ways. The Ganguro trend reached its peak by the end of a decade, it then became almost obsolete by early 2000 when a ‘Bihaku’ craze emerged among young women who wanted to imitate the look of their favourite popular singers. However there are still over 100 Ganguro’s survivors who call themselves the ‘Black Diamonds’ who are swimming against the conventional fashion current in Japan today, keen to revive the Ganguro subculture.

Ayu – “While gal culture takes a variety of forms, I'm affiliated with the Ganguro genre, an original Japanese culture which isn’t just about style and beauty but a way of life. Whilst some Gyaru’s came and went with the fashion wave a while ago, Gyaru’s still exist and continue against the fashion trends and have strong policies and mind-sets. I knew about the Ganguro since the beginning, I wrote to their blogs, those Ganguro’s I met were my entry-point to the culture, it's liberating to connect with like-minded people and we all became fast friends. I've been part of this community for fourteen years. Some people have really taken to the Ganguro aesthetic, they'll see us on the street and rush over in amazement. The whole package is key but the most important is having dark skin, there is the showy makeup, hairdos, and nails. If you don't show skin, you're not a gal, Japanese people like tanned skin, it’s unusual. Our style wouldn’t be able to continue if we cared about how others thought of us all the time. ‘You only live once’ - there is quite a bit of this kind of mind-set in Gyaru’s – this idea that you only have one life, so you have to ‘seize the moment’ and enjoy it to the full without worrying about how you look to others. I just want to stay true to myself. However we're a minority and we are misunderstood by society. We are used to people hurling abuse and even garbage at us. I guess you could say we all have great skill for just not caring about those kinds of things. It's as though we're treated as sub-human, even though we have hearts, some people really think we're strange. People judge by appearances and those who want to spend time with the real me don't care about that. My boyfriend is a normal guy, so there have been problems. He doesn't mind introducing me to his seniors, but some people might think he's an odd-ball but he's dating me for the person I am inside. Thanks to the internet, there are girls all over the world who admire Gyaru fashion. I would be thrilled if someone told me that meeting me has changed the way they appreciate our culture.”

KENYA OUTTAKES // by sophie green

THE GUARDIAN // by sophie green

New commission out now in The Guardian Weekend Magazine - The Generation Game.

The geographer Dr Albert Sabater argues that the young and the old in the UK are living more physically separate lives – driven in part by the growing split between older homeowners and younger renters. He worries that this will accentuate what is seen as increasing antagonism between young and old, millennials and baby boomers, with the former accusing the latter of carving up society to suit them and leaving later generations only scraps.

In a report for the Guardian, myself and journalist Stephen Moss went to West Somerset and central Manchester – the parts of England with the oldest and youngest populations respectively – to test attitudes, see how different age groups in those areas related to each other, and investigate whether the notion of a war of the generations was true.

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JUST A DROP CHARITY // by sophie green

A new collaboration all the way from Kenya with the brilliant charity 'Just a Drop' - who support communities with access to sustainable clean water solutions around the world, transforming lives. See the full series on my website.

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Adidas x Parley // by sophie green

‘Blue’ – my response to a brief from Adidas in collaboration with Parley, a platform that encourages discussion around the fragility of the ocean via creative collaborations to help raise awareness of the global threats towards our oceans and find solutions to end the destruction.

No one can deny the elemental beauty of our oceans, a beauty and purity that is symbolically and universally represented by the colour blue. However, we need to open our eyes to the fact that the oceans we love are slowly being destroyed by our over consumption and casual disposal of plastics.

There’s a strange irony in creating art out of the plastic rubbish that is slowly destroying our oceans. As a photographer I’m compelled to find beauty in everything I see. I have explored the colour blue, in combination with the abstracted beauty of everyday abandoned plastic materials, to create a psychological tension between the two. The visual power of the images intend to form a powerful reminder of the beauty of the ocean that we all have a duty to protect.

I hope that these images will somehow engage the viewer to confront the shocking reality of marine plastic pollution and ultimately ignite a desire to act responsibly to ensure the health of our planet for future generations.

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Portrait of Britain 2017 // by sophie green

Hannah outside church after Sunday morning service in Peckham, South London. I'm excited that Hannah will be a part of Portrait of Britain 2017, a nationwide exhibition by British Journal of Photography showcasing the many faces of modern Britain.

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Projects In Progress // by sophie green

New projects underway and behind the scenes snaps.

BURBERRY // by sophie green

I was commissioned by Burberry to photograph events across Britain as part of their Burberry summertime event series which celebrates traditional British heritage, including Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Bath & West Show, Oxford May Day, The Aberdeen Highland Games, Nottinghill Carnival, Cowes Week and Blakeney Regatta. View the full series on my website here; http://www.sophiegreenphotography.com/burberry/

Paintings // by sophie green

I also like to paint....