Of all the photographers I have come across, both within research for this project and elsewhere, non have a more heart-wrenching story than Sonia Soberats. An immigrant to the United States, she suffered a horrific series of events which ultimately led to the core of much of her work. After the death of her only daughter, Sonia Soberats progressively lost sight in both her eyes before the death of her second child, her daughter. She has spoken on the events, stating “…their sickness helped me cope with my blindness. Because I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking about them. How much they were suffering, how much they were going through.”
Her work is predominantly black and white, and created using light trails. To us they have a slight eerie feel to them, as if with a somber undertone. By working through her personal tragedy, it is not surprising that her pieces encompass her pain. Through her work, she attempts to recreate certain emotions or events throughout her life; focusing on reliving her memories in a physical form. As she also works at times in collaboration with other visually impaired photographers, between them they also aim to represent thoughts and sensations felt mutually. She creates these pieces using light painting. Light painting is a method in which a small light source, usually a torch is used to paint around the subject, illuminating certain areas with a dream-like atmosphere. This method is done completely in the dark, which to sighted artists would seem a difficulty, but to Sonia Soberats, it is a perfect representation of her own blindness; light trails in the darkness.
She works with a sighted assistant who sets up the camera on the tripod, and using strong dialogue she distinguishes her subject. “I feel your face, your hair, then I’ll ask you: ‘Are you light-colored? Or dark? Is your hair blonde or brown or black?’ So with asking and touching, then I’ll get an idea of what I have to work with.”
Through research we came across a short video based around a Photographic group she is part of, focusing on their work and experiences in creating such work.