Q&A: Sage Sohier


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Don’t believe in it, best to be flexible. Philosophy is just institutionalized BS. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Films of people driving themselves. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Can’t go there. What is it that interests you about photography? Its ability to create striking short fictions out of everyday life. What is the worst thing about city life? Tourists with selfie sticks. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Australia, of course. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? This question is contradictory… If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Edward, the Prince of Wales, who abdicated the throne for the woman he loved. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Dog cloning. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? In the womb. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Landscape design (but not the installation). Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. Robert Frank’s “Trolley, New Orleans, 1955” is an incredibly moving photograph about segregation and human nature.

How often do you take other people’s advice? Not often, but a lot more than I used to when I was young. Describe a personal hell. Trapped on an elevator with techie camera buffs wearing perfume. Which living person do you most admire? Atul Gawande (“Being Mortal”). On what occasion do you lie? When I went to confession as a Catholic kid I would get so flustered that I would make up sins that I hadn’t committed. What was the last crime you witnessed? Donald Trump running for President. What is the best way to educate yourself? Reading; exploring the world and talking to all sorts of people. What is the next book you want to read? Dream birds: The Strange History of the Ostrich in Fashion, Food, and Fortune. Ultimate camera? I don’t tend to lust after new equipment, but every few years I need to update since I am now shooting digitally. I recently got a Nikon D810, which produces excellent results but lacks sex appeal. Most used camera? Mamiya 7II; Fujica 6×9 with a 65mm lens; Hasselblad for close-ups.

What object do you want? Just about now I could use a dark chocolate Ritter bar with hazelnuts. What object do you need? I need fewer objects in my life, and more subjects for my camera. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? Once you get used to using it, it’s like having an encyclopedia and the yellow pages at the tip of your fingers, integrated into a TV. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Are you kidding? Describe a cheap thrill. An affogato (a scoop of hazelnut ice cream topped with espresso). Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. VJ Day (the end of WWII) Are impulses more important than consequences? It’s important to pay attention to your impulses, but acting impulsively can lead to dire or embarrassing consequences. Which talent would you most like to have? Opera singer or the conductor of an orchestra. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? I’m going to photograph an Alpaca shearing competition and also meet an Emu. Assuming I survive the Emu encounter, I will go home and walk my dogs.

Sage Sohier — from the series “Americans Seen” which will be published by Nazraeli Press this fall as part of their NZ Library editions (set three). For more of Sage’s work and info on her forthcoming book visit her website here.