/25 Altered landscape

Sage Sohier

Perfectible Worlds

“Perfectible Worlds” is about people’s private passions and obsessions. Begun soon after 9/11/01, the series portrays people transported into worlds and activities over which they have near-total control. The photographs, made from medium-format negatives, range from portraits of some who make extravagant miniature worlds, to others who have extraordinary collections or who immerse themselves in unusual pursuits. Each photograph is the discovery of a particular world an individual has found or created for himself––a private world that few are privileged to see.

The series began with a picture I took of a friend working on his model railroad. Expanding over the twenty years he has owned his house, his railroad has taken over the entire basement. When he goes down to work on it, he leaves behind both his professional and family life. He need satisfy only himself, and exercises complete control over what he has made. This kind of absorption––what we do in an imperfect world to console ourselves––struck me as a subject worthy of exploration.

We’re all fascinated with other people’s passions—what they do in their spare time to satisfy an inner need. These constructions, collections, or activities are quirky, often beautiful, and almost always ends in themselves. My ambition has been to reveal the particularity and intensity of these acts and creations, and also to capture individuals’ engagement in the midst of them. Their worlds––for a fleeting instant, and through their generosity—become mine… and now, perhaps, yours.