“I’m a creative person who doesn’t know what their future looks like” – Sophia Chew

This article was originally published on November 21, 2020.

Sophia Chew is a sixteen-year-old photographer from Mercer Island, Washington. She is known for her amazing Harry Potter themed self-timer shoots and kind personality. Fortunately, I had the chance to interview the young photographer. In this interview, she talks about the challenges she faces, photography, and how she is currently spending time.

How would you describe yourself?

Iwould describe myself as unique. I know of course everyone can say that, and it’s completely valid, but my uniqueness is what comes to mind when I think of myself. I’m a creative person who doesn’t know what their future looks like, and I would describe myself as friendly.

What attracted you to photography?

What attracted me to photography was probably the connections and the ability to create things from what I saw. I always tried to draw and paint when I was younger, but I was never very good at it, and I guess photography balanced my creative needs without having to be good at illustrations.

Who are your main inspirations for your photographs?

My main inspirations for photography include @alexandriaslens and @helenepambrun! Although they create different kinds of content, I try to mix their styles because I love their work. When I grow up, I want to be like Helene.

What are the challenges of being such a young photographer with a huge following?

Honestly, it’s crazy to think my following is as large as it is. Just seven months ago, I was feeling really stuck at 150 followers, but the progress had been super slow and gradual up until late October. I’ve found it difficult balancing my image online as well as in person. I’m two completely different people. Especially during election week, I was facing off with racists and offensive messages in my DMs, which is something I never thought I would need to do. Having so many people enjoy my work is amazing, but we forget about the negative connotations of social media until it directly affects us.

How has your style in photography changed?

My style in photography is never constant in my eyes. Of course, I absolutely love photoshop and Harry Potter edits, but I’m also a big fan of fashion and concert photography! I don’t want my page to be strictly Harry Potter because I am still having fun with varying styles, but I just do what’s made me happy in the last few months. My style is never constant, and it’s heavily influenced by the music I listen to, shows I watch, and emotions of that week!

What has being a photographer and high school student taught you?

Being a photographer and high school student has taught me about how hard the real world is. Growing up on social media, I was exposed to so much, which eventually caused me to mature faster. I’ve learned how to present myself in a way that I like and other people seem to like, and having photography to look forward to when school is hard helps a lot.

How has quarantine been for you?

Quarantine has been overall not super fun, but originally the project that kickstarted my account was @covid19_photos_for_teens. I keep myself busy with that account, and it’s opened so many doors for me that I am so grateful for.

What are the topics you feel strongly about?

Topics I’m invested/serious about include toxic masculinity, homophobia, global warming, the wage gap, and Black Lives Matter!

As you can tell from this interview, Sophia Chew is a remarkable teenager who has an outstanding talent for photography. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok under the username @shots_by_sophia. Go look her up, and follow her! Thank you for reading, and have a great Thanksgiving Break!