Art Producers Speak: Sophie Ebrard

- - Art Producers Speak

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email:

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Sophie Ebrard. I love her work and she was a joy to work with. Experimenting with natural light and preferring the surprise factor of film for her personal work are two factors among many that give her images a sense of genuine warmth. This is both rare and beautiful amongst the current climate of overly produced and manipulated images.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been shooting professionally for 3 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’ve always been taking pictures. My dad is a keen photographer so in my childhood I always had access to a camera.
After graduating from university, I went straight into advertising. It felt like the right thing to do at the time. It took me almost a decade to realize that my childhood passion for photography was what I wanted to do for a living. Three years ago, I left my well-paid job and started a new career.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Difficult question as there are so many talented people who I admire and who have inspired me. William Eggleston, Henri Cartier Bresson, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton…are some of the photographers who have had a great influence on how I approach my work.

But I would say, I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t had guidance by some of my very good friends who are also photographers. They have inspired me since the beginning of this journey.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
As a photographer, you are constantly trying to find your voice. You can only find it by trying new things and be in the constant look out for projects that suit you. If you stay true to yourself, you will ultimately find a voice, yours. The result will be new, fresh and hopefully inspiring to others. If you like the result, there’s a good chance someone will notice it and will want to hire you for that.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Today consumers are bored of overly produced and manipulated images so brands want documentary style images: reality a little bit enhanced.
They want some of the grittiness, but is has to look beautiful.

I believe possess a good eye for reality. I have an instinct for finding the beautiful in the supremely ordinary. I like to make normal things appear special. My style seems to appeals to both art directors and clients. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to work with great clients and art directors who like the way I see the world and who share my vision of the work.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I try to keep my website updated by posting some new work regularly. I use social medias. But I would say my agents in London and in the US do most of the work. I’m fortunate enough to have great representation.

I’m working at the moment on my first solo exhibition. The project “Porn Set” (working title) is a series of visual investigations into the porn industry. I have followed a director on his shoots for the last two years (in LA, UK, Spain…). As a woman, I’ve tried to capture the beauty and aesthetics of the human body instead of focusing on the sexual encounter, and the primal nature of sex. We rarely see the behind the scenes, the beauty and the emotion that comes out of it. My eye was focusing on the essence of the beauty of the moment.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Never do work primarily because you think it will sell. Never compromise. The minute you do so, you lose your edge. Margaret Thatcher once said: “ If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromised on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing”. Not sure I would want to comment on her politics but this sentence seems very true for me as a photographer.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
As a photographer, you need to be feeding your soul as much as possible. Shooting commissioned work allows me to have the freedom to shoot as many personal projects as I want. It’s art and commerce.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as possible. For personal projects, I mainly shoot when I’m abroad. Light is very important in my life and in my work. And I like being in another country. It makes me look at things differently and pay attention to simple details, much more than I would in my day-to-day life. I try to use natural lighting as much as possible. I love to play with flare, contrasts, light and the shadows.



* Wyatt Clarke&Jones (Worldwide)
+44 20 7580 7570

* Judi Shin (USA)
+1 (917) 721-5385

Sophie Ebrard is a French, London based photographer. She has in the past shot commissioned work for companies including Adidas, Monocle magazine, Stella Artois, EMI music…

Sophie Ebrard’s photographs are as eclectic and full of life as the photographer herself. Experimenting with natural light and preferring the surprise-factor of film for her personal work are two factors among many that give Sophie’s images a sense of genuine warmth. This is both rare and beautiful amongst the current climate of overly produced and manipulated images. Yet she is not flippant in her art, choosing to connect with the subjects in her photographs on a personal level. Even her pictures that are absent of people aren’t without their own touch of personality and narrative. Sophie’s work is straight from the heart, and comes from her unyielding passion for photography, storytelling and light.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.


There Are 3 Comments On This Article.

  1. Rob, and Sophie,
    Just curious when people say “I’ve been shooting professionally for 3 years”, what’s your definition of professional? So for example if Sophie has been shooting for 10 years, but she is claiming 3 of which is professional – please explain.

  2. I had the pleasure of being the stylist on a shoot with Sophie this past year – we worked on a 4 day ad campaign and it was an awesome experience. She is full of energy, great ideas, and gets the whole crew excited to be there working right along with her. I just saw the released images and they are amazing. I’m now looking forward to working with her on a personal project that she wants to do. I find Sophie, her work and her vision inspiring. Congrats on the cool article Sophie – well deserved!