Sophie Stafford

Winning bodies of work

Sophie Stafford is a London-based photographer from Hull, England. Her work is informed by the paradoxical, complex, and occasionally absurd set of social and cultural relations that form our identities. She delves into events and spaces that bring people together in order to explore these ideas and uses her observant nature to develop a style which focuses on storytelling through a mixture of intimate portraits and reflective details. She is also drawn to cultural events because of how they are adapted, preserved, and passed on to new generations who, in turn, make them their own, evolving them in accordance with modern culture and technology. 

The images in this project were shot during down time at the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan, capturing the tensions of pre and post-competition. They explore the inner workings of the event and the people that surround them. Shining a light not on the main show, but on everything that goes with it: the racing anxiety and pumped-up adrenaline of the build-up; the long, lazy hours spent winding down after; and everything in-between. The images tell a unique story of the transient architecture and diverse community against a sun-baked backdrop, which are both nomadic and modern. But, most importantly, they show the value of cultural preservation in an increasingly homogenised world. This project was recently shortlisted for the 2021 Libraryman award.