Private View

2020 - Design and Photography - Sophie Sinnott

Sophie Sinnott is a multi-disciplinary creative based in London. Sinnott is an image-maker, a writer, a poet, a designer, a thinker, translating anecdotal truths into photography, experimental publication design, and collage. Emotions are paramount in what, why, and how she creates, and Sophie aims to comment, question and hone in on the things that make us human.

‘Private View’ 

Text by Hermione Oldham

Sophie Sinnott is a graphic designer whose series ‘Private View’ has enabled us to witness a snapshot of people’s lives during the most unusual but universal circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sophie has sought to allow individuals from around the world to express their experiences through a short written piece accompanied by a photograph of the view from their window – creating a unique insight into the lives of each person incorporated in the series. The intimate work Sophie has produced will be a permanent document of this extreme moment in time. As a recent graduate from Kingston School of Art, BA Graphic Design, Sophie Sinnott hopes to one day be creating her own magazines where she will be able to utilise her design skills in a passionate and imaginative way.

In this current pandemic world, where creativity and passion are pushed to the furthest corner of people’s mind, Sophie Sinnott has managed to produce something that will forever reflect the fluctuating emotions and difficulties endured by people during this bizarre moment in time. Whilst being cut off from everyone, Sophie’s book provides a communal collection of stories that give the reader a sense of comfort as she brings these isolated experiences all to one place. The world has been told to be stationary and to slow down and this is echoed in the still and quiet private views Sophie has incorporated in her series.

The book boasts 160 pages filled with the images of people’s private views that are placed beside witty, heart-warming and emotional stories and experiences from a huge array of people. When looking through this book I was taken with the recurring threads of fear for loved ones, fear of the unknown and fear of our own thoughts. Whilst we all have individual experiences, what Sophie has managed to bring to light is actually the similarities between all of us and the shared thoughts and reactions to this pandemic that appear in the book give the viewer a feeling of consolation and support.

The construction of this book is quite minimal, perhaps because of the limited resources during this time, but for me the simplistic aesthetic allows the content inside to be more impactful. Each story matters. This is reiterated in the large font used by Sophie, which gives the book a playful quality and allows for an easy read, despite it’s serious undertone. The blue coloured pages in-between are cut to frame each photograph and seemingly blend into the blue sky that each of us witness from our windows. Perhaps the colour is also reflective of the ‘blue’ feelings that many of us are experiencing during this time.

Regardless of age, location or status we have all been affected by coronavirus. We have all had to change our lives and our routines. We have been required to slow down our paces and have gained the ability to see life through a different lens. Sophie has created something which captures these new lenses we now look through. As we spend so much time indoors our main viewpoints have changed to the familiar sight of looking through a window to the outer world beyond our houses and rooms. Through Sophie’s work we can now observe the similarities and difference between everyone’s individual ‘worlds’.

For me the most impactful sentences written in this book were from Chris in the USA who said: ‘Quiet is a good thing from this time. We can hear ourselves think, we sleep a little longer, and remember our dreams when we wake. On a larger scale, quiet strips away the excess we craved before, replaced with a refreshing sense of how few things it actually does take to make us happy.’ Her commentary accompanies a darkly lit photograph, clearly taken in the evening. The photograph is empty of people and there is a harrowing silence emanating from it. The poetic sentences written by Chris are incredibly resonant of what I have been experiencing during the pandemic as we have all been forced to stop, reflect and reevaluate our lives.

Spanning from Sophie’s hometown in Richmond, to the rolling hills of Somerset, to the tempting sun of Spain, to the sky rocketing buildings of Chicago and finally furthest away in deep chaotic India where it seems too crowded to isolate. Sophie has shown that no matter where we are in the world we are all in this together, we can all empathise, we can all understand and collectively support and help each other.

Through collating these private views Sophie’s work offers up a perspective of the pandemic that many of us might have ignored. In a time that is mainly filled with  panic, confusion and loss it is easy to get overwhelmed and anxious. Despite this, Sophie’s art shows us that many of us are able to find peace, new forms of happiness and a way to concentrate on the small important things in life. A time to focus on ourselves, focus on the important relationships in our lives and actually relax in a world that is hard to pause.

Read Sophie Sinnott’s essay on Hermione Oldham’s work HERE.