MEETING SOFIE

Photographer: Snezhana von Büdingen-Dyba

 the life of a young woman with down syndrome named Sofie. "I started taking pictures of Sofie back in 2017 when she was 18 years old. She had just finished school and spent almost every day on the family estate in a small village in Eastern of Germany. Sofie comes from a family of famous antique dealers and grew up in the magical atmosphere of this farm. Visiting Sofie and her family for over four years, I experienced their everyday lives and shared the highs and lows of Sofie’s first steps into love. At that time Sofie was in that awkward yet beautiful and thrilling age of transition from a girl to a woman, when every feeling is extremely intense and love seems to be the main purpose of life”, von Büdingen-Dyba explains.

The scenes in the photos came from immersing herself in Sofie’s world, watching her actions and reactions to things unfold. “Photographs of Sofie are created through our deep mutual trust and closeness”.

The most powerful aspect of this series is undoubtedly how universal the story it tells is. "Everyone can relate to that intensity of teenage feeling and I definitely recognise myself at that age in Sofie,” von Büdingen-Dyba says, and she hopes other people will be able to recognise their own experiences when they look at the pictures too. "This insight would destroy any artificial boundaries built on prejudice and ignorance between us,” she says, « and it would contribute to a deeper level of acceptance, integration and love between us humans.”