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March 9, 2016

Portrait 5/300: Sonia Mangiapane


Hiding in our rear wing we’ve got a space filled with over 200 creative minds, all together forming a creative workspace named “Broedplaats VKG”. They’ve been here since 2007 – long before Volkshotel even existed. Over the years, things have changed, but the “Broedplaats” still plays an important role in keeping this building lively, local and creative. Sonia is one of these creatives working in one of the studios. We had a talk with her about commercial photography, fine art, where it all started and pursuing your dreams.

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Do you remember the first time you thought photography was a cool medium?
“In high school we had a photography component in a media studies course. At the time I didn’t know how a manual camera worked, but one of my photos turned out as something recognisable. My teacher later complimented me on one of my other photos and over time it made me think, maybe there is something to this. I guess my passion started there. However, the fact that it seemed like such an expensive profession stopped me from studying photography, so I decided to pursue a career in graphic design instead. As time passed, I found that photography was still beckoning me, eventually I pursued a career in photography after all. It was a challenge, but if you’re hard-headed enough it’ll all work out in the end.”

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How would you describe your style of work?
I’m a composition junkie. I love to play with balance in photos, work with natural light and “find” images, rather than setting them up in a studio. For me it’s important to capture the essence of something and keep it simple; I’m a minimalist at heart. This aesthetic lends itself well to architectural photography which is a large part of my commercial work. 


How would you like people to look at your photos?
It’s so easy to put a lot of photos out there and never know how people respond to them. I love it when my work is considered or causes an emotional response. A few years ago, an Australian design magazine published some of my personal work and asked writers and creatives to write a piece of text or a poem to accompany the photos. This was such a good experience, because people were interacting with my work, and I received feedback on it in an unique and creative way. 

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How has it been here in Volkshotel at the Broedplaats VKG so far?
“I’ve been in this creative hub for about a year now and have recently become a member of a darkroom collective which has a space in the basement of the Broedplaats. At the moment, the darkroom runs the very real risk of being shut down permanently; which would be a great loss in my opinion. Unfortunately, the majority of the members of the collective left, so the darkroom space is up for rent. We’re hoping to find a new tenant that wants to run the darkroom in a collective manner. So please, any photographers out there that are interested in producing their own analogue photography prints, please get in touch and contact Hilde from the broedplaats (! It’s a great opportunity to learn, collaborate and be inspired.”

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Sonia Mangiapane
Studio 0.71, Broedplaats VKG
Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication)
Recent Projects:
◈ Zelfbouw – A personal series exploring the self-build trend in the Netherlands, published on Failed ArchitectureDomus & The Creator’s Project websites (2015)
◈ The Best Dutch Book Designs/De Best Verzorgde Boeken 2014 catalogue photography (2015)
◈ 2014 Arcaid Architectural Photography Awards – shortlisted (Buildings in Use category)

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© Portraits, studio interior images & video by: Joao MB Costa
Find more of his work on vimeo : Joao MB Costa
Interview & text by: Merel Løkke Rasmussen

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