Snezhana von Buedingen

Winning bodies of work

I got to know Sofie, an 18 years old girl with Down syndrome, in the autumn of 2017. She’s just finished school and spent almost every day on the family estate in Eilenstedt (Germany). Sofie comes from a family of famous antique dealers, and grew up in the magical atmosphere of this farm. Every piece of furniture or picture on the wall has a history to tell. Sofie has a very strong bond with her mother Barbara. Barbara was 40 when Sofie was born, at home. It was only a few days later during a routine doctor’s appointment, that she found out Sofie had Down syndrome, and would also require an operation on her heart. Barbara recounted her story of that day, sitting opposite the doctor as he explained: ”your child has Down syndrome, but reflect on the fact that it is the same child you‘ve lovingly held in your arms these first days. Nothing has changed, it’s still this amazing child“. Sofie is now 20,  and the close relationship and love that Barbara and her share, hasn’t changed since the day she was born. I’ve been visiting Sofie and her family for over three years. I had a chance to experience their everyday lives; sharing the highs and lows of her 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. Sofie continues to live on the farm estate with her parents, her brother and the countless animals.

Meeting Sofie