Sophie Morner, the publisher behind Capricious Magazine, GLU, FAMOUS, and founder of Capricious Space, is presenting her first solo show in two years. A collection of photographs shot between 2003-2010, The Name of a Song, compiles images Morner kept to herself while spending her greater energy establishing a publishing house and gallery for emerging photographers.
Excited about my friend's big show, I paid Sophie a studio visit at Capricious Space, where her exhibition will open this Friday from 7-9pm. Get to know her a little better though this interview, and see some of her favorite relics around the studio! See you all at the opening!
Christelle de Castro: To give everyone some background on your magazine, when did you release the first issue of Capricious and what was your intention behind the publication?
Sophie Morner: I released Capricious Spring 2004 in Paris. I started it when I was looking for a place to publish my work and I didn't love any of the magazines that were around. A lot of my friends thought the same, so I made Capricious for us, basically. I wasn't sure if it would be an ongoing thing, but I fell in love with making a magazine and the idea of creating a place for emerging photographers that focused purely on the photography. So now we are doing our 11th issue!
CDC: Did Capricous Space come next? Did you always have your sights towards opening a gallery?
SM: I actually didn't have a plan to open a space at all! When I moved back to NYC in 2005 after a year and a half in Europe, I ran Capricious, and by then I had taken on GLU Magazine and Famous, and we also published an issue of LTTR V. So it was shaping as a publishing house. We also gave out a couple of artist books, I Have a Room by Melnaie Bonajo and The Known World, that I collaborated with Anne Hall with. So it really was a little mini publishing house.
The Space was a couple of blocks from my apartment in Williamsburg, I walked by it every day. Through my friend Anna Dunn who worked there, I was gifted the space for one night and did an exhibition with FAMOUS magazine. I totally fell in love with the space, and the gallery that was previously occupying the space had to move. As soon as it was up for rent, I jumped on it!
We had to get it all going in a really short time, so a month later, we had our first show. Now its been over 2 years going, and I have definitely learned a lot just jumping into running a space! We stopped publishing other magazines than Capricious, to focus solely on the space, and that helped for sure.
CDC: I'm so excited you are finally making time to do a show of your own work! Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from The Name of a Song?
SM: Ah, I have been so focused on Capricious these years that I haven't been able to put a show together in a while. I photograph all the time, so I have an endless amount of work that never gets out there. We had an open slot at the space, and I said, why not? It is a very specific selection of my work over time that represents where I am and have been. Torches, I would call them.
CDC: Flipping through some of the Polaroids and prints at your studio, I noticed a few faces that appeared throughout your work. Do you photograph models or do you prefer friends as your subjects?
SM: I do some commercial work, where I photograph models and such, but when it comes to my work, I photograph mostly my friends and loved ones. Some of my friends I have photographed during a long time. I love watching us age together.
CDC: Over how many years did you shoot the collection that is The Name of a Song?
SM: Its from 2003 to 2010.
CDC: Name 3 things or themes we can expect to see in your show?
SM: The sun, blue, and rocks.
CDC: When I look at your work I see something very dreamy. It feels very light and romantic instead of vulgar or emotionally dark. I respect artists who don't rely on shock factor to create stand-out work. What influences your work? Could it be your love of nature?
SM: Haha, yes, I am for sure inspired by nature and animals. But I am also inspired by relationships, communication and how we relate in the world and to the world. There is so much sorrow and pain in the world, so when I was younger I would make work about the romantic ideals of a world I would want to live in. The work now is more about the world I live in, the community with the sorrows that come with life. I do think my work always had darkness and melancholy, but that can be interpreted as romantic, right?
CDC: Oh, without a doubt!
Now, it's obvious to anyone that knows you that horses are a huge part of your life. Can you talk a little bit about your horses and perhaps your riding practice?
SM: I love horses, always have. I train horses in the morning before work. It's something really holy to me. Healing.
CDC: What's the next step for you? Any up coming projects keeping you excited and busy?
SM: Well, Capricious has a lot of really exiting things happening. We have a new issue coming out in end of October, the Anti-Fashion Fashion Issue. I am working on a new gay zine - RANDY with AK Burns, and it will be amazing! We are releasing that around 20th of September!! In the spring we are releasing a book with K8 Hardy, which will be great. So a lot of good things with Capricious.
I am working on a couple of new photography series, but also videos, that is quiet different from my other work, but the theme is similar for sure!
CDC: Just for fun, what did you have for breakfast today?
SM: Yogurt and a banana! Haha!
CDC: The last thing you googled?
SM: George Michael (not kidding..heheh)
CDC: FIlm or digital?
SM: Both!! I prefer film, but I just got a digital camera!
CDC: Ok, your favorite George Michael song title?
SM: Haha, Faith!!!
The Name of a Song by Sophie Morner
103 Broadway (between Bedford & Berry)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Opens Friday September 10, 2010 7PM-9PM
the name of a song
christelle de castro