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Snapshot: Sofia McKenna, Philadelphia & Luke Smithers, San Antonio

Today’s Snapshot is of a pair of photographers who wrote in their first email to me, “we are two young photographers, who live far from each other. Though we live on different sides of America, we manage to collaborate and make art together. Distance doesn’t affect our art or relationship; we’re still a dynamic duo.”

Photography by Sofia:





Photography by Luke:






Collaborative Work:







Lives in:

Sofia – I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Luke – I call Texas home. But I travel a lot and gather so much inspiration along the way. I’m prone to adventure while on the road! In fact, I may run into Sofia in Paris this spring.

Shoots With:

Sofia – I shoot with my Nikon D90 (digital), my Nikon D90 (film) and a Polaroid camera.

Luke – For digital, a Canon 5D Mark II and for film, a Polaroid 600 SE (although I’m about to start experimenting with medium format!). Sofia and I swap cameras a lot. We may shoot a few videos with her camera but take photos with mine. It all depends on our mood.

Favorite Subject:

Sofia – My favorite subject would have to be people; models and friends help me get my story across. I love to create elaborate, conceptual ideas that tell stories, and provoke people’s imagination. People show such strong emotion, and I find it important and compelling to capture that in the photos. I also love to photograph Luke. We always end up with these personal memories and photo collections of our youth.

Luke – Sofia, of course! We know each other so well that expressing each other through photographs is almost like taking self-portraits. We’re very much a single photographer. But I’m looking forward to exploring photojournalism. I’m fascinated by people who live in rural areas and plan to make some trips out to the country to photograph such distinct characters. There’s so much complexity to play with.

Inspired by:

Sofia- Inspiration comes from just about anything, I could see something silver and it sparks an idea for a shoot. Example: using an oversized spoon and fork for a shoot. Music is also something that has an influence. I listen to music and the songs takes me many places, creating visions in my mind. Fashion, magazines and travel also help me with ideas  but sometimes, I can’t even begin to explain where ideas come from, they just appear out of thin air.

Luke – Youth, maps, Canyons and deserts in the Southwest, hibernation, Alzheimer’s, clocks, shoes across telephone lines, shadows of passing airplanes/clouds. Then again, people fascinate me. Just people. In addition to photographing, I write fiction and verse. Both involve crafting characters without losing the complexity of an actual three-dimensional person. Every person is its own story with dozens of other stories attached like branches. I want to explore these branches, snatch each leaf. Similarly, I want to express this in my photos. An artist is one who can express complexity in a single piece of work.

Random Fact

Sofia- I will be traveling to Paris in June. I am so excited to shoot and live there for 3 weeks!

Luke – This summer, I visited a witch doctor in Africa (called a “sangoma” by natives). It was in the back of his yard in a township near Durban. Although it was the afternoon, time seemed warped inside his healing hut. The only light was from candles. All the different bottles of potions glowed green, purple, orange.  When he explained his healing methods, he kept looking down at his hands in his lap, sometimes moving a finger over the wrinkles on his palm. I left Africa with these beautiful images of the potions and his beaded headdress and his wrinkled hands.

Her website/His website.

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KeriKrow -September 30, 2011, 10:04AM

SUCH INSPIRATION!! What a lovely start to the blog today :)
Much <3 Love as always FP

stargirl -September 30, 2011, 11:02AM


Anonymous -September 30, 2011, 5:50PM

sofia and luke are so amazing! i am so happy fp featured them!

Felicia -September 30, 2011, 8:02PM

SO INSPIRATIONAL. And they’re Both too beautiful

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