Erotica and Self-Expression
Eme Sofia is putting a new lens on self-photography
Eme Sofia is an independent photographer who’s using her own body to explore sexuality and freedom of expression. Specialising in self-photography, Eme’s work captures her own sense of self through a body-positive, subversive lens.
Eme uses different materials, like honey, water, and paint to add an aestheticised, movement-oriented effect to her photos that works towards normalising the portrayal of sexuality and alternative forms of body language.
Her introduction to photography happened gradually. After years of starting, stopping, and then finding her way back to it, she eventually found herself transfixed by the levels of self-expression she was able to find in her photographic practice. Based in Argentina, Eme’s works are circulating in Berlin due to their sex- and body-positive message. Many of her images are used in Berlin-based publication, Berlinable, which uses erotica to promote curiosity and engagement in the world. This independent community, founded by Giada Armani, has given Eme and likeminded writers and artists a platform to explore the erotic through art and stories. We spoke with Eme about her process, her inspirations, and what it’s like capturing her own body and sexuality.
Anyone can create incredible things, all they need is the desire to do so.
How did you get started as a photographer?
My relationship with photography started when I was little, almost without me noticing it. My father was a photographer, and although he later changed his profession, he was the one who first introduced me to photography. From then on, my relationship with the photographic image was back and forth. I studied and worked on other things until 2015 when I was able to buy my own camera, and from that moment on I haven’t stopped taking photos.
What experiences have influenced you the most?
It’s crazy but something I always emphasise is that a lack of equipment – expensive lenses or cameras, for example – have made me need to be very creative. Even when the little equipment I had was stolen and I was about to leave everything behind, I told myself that it couldn’t end like that. I had to get creative, so I took photos with my cell phone, borrowed cameras, etc.
Where do you find inspiration?
Today I find it in everything that surrounds me. But I’m always open-minded and looking for new ideas.
What do you hope that most people take away from your art?
That anyone can create incredible things, all they need is the desire to do so – that failing and making mistakes is part of the process and that it happens to all of us.
Much of your work focuses on physicality and sexuality. How did these two themes become a main focus of your practice?
It was something that happened unintentionally. Although I have always been interested in what I do today, I was not encouraged to do it initially. It happened gradually once I started to officially show my self-portraits, and then I eventually created the Instagram account that I use today. Although my work has a sensual connotation, it comes from another perspective: the naturalisation of bodies and sexuality, the freedom of expression for women, and the intention to fight against censorship.
Are there certain parts of the body that inspire you or that you tend to focus on?
I would say that the lips, chest, stomach, and hands are never missing from my work.
What was the most difficult shoot you’ve had? Why?
Some elements that I have worked with are more complicated, like honey, water, and paint. It’s more complicated to use these things because my photos are self-portraits and I need to coordinate taking the photos while I use them.
Much of your work is self-portraiture. Why?
My photographic practice began with self-portraits because at first I didn’t know any models to take photos of, so I started practicing with myself. I tried out different lighting, plans, and ideas, and then without realising it, self-portraits became my way of expressing myself. It allowed me to release my internal thoughts and express what I was feeling. It’s challenging for me, and that’s what I love. It forces me to work creatively, not only in terms of the photography itself, but also in front of the camera – and to be able to do both at the same time.
It doesn’t matter what you have, but what you do with it.
What are your main artistic focuses now?
My artistic focus will continue to be to find new ways of seeing realities through my photographs – to continue expressing my ideals, and above all to continue having fun through creating.
Has the pandemic changed or influenced the way you take photos?
The way I take photos hasn’t changed, but it has had a positive effect in terms of my career. I started taking self-portrait courses online, which was something new for me, and it has brought me nothing but joy and growth.
What’s next? Do you have any exhibitions or projects planned for the future?
My next goal is to make a book of my photographs, and in the future I would love to make a book about creativity and photography.
Have you learned anything important from your practice?
I would just like to leave a phrase that I use and I always repeat: “It doesn’t matter what you have, but what you do with it.” Many times people say “I can’t” or “I don’t have the necessary equipment,” but it’s not like that. This also speaks to people making internal comparisons, sometimes without even realising it, with the art of others as we see others achieve incredible things. And sometimes we put ourselves down. I always like to remember that in creating there is frustration, there are mistakes, and that we don’t have to base ourselves on a final result.