Get Naked with Sophie Schoenfeld

Q&A with Sophie Schoenfeld, 21, junior at Emerson College

Q: What was it like posing nude?

A: I liked it. I thought it was really freeing. I feel as though oftentimes when we're on camera, we are taught that we have to hide things behind filters on Snapchat and on social media. But when you're naked there is nowhere to hide. I wasn’t exposing anything but me. We live in a culture where people use filters all the time.

Q: What was the shoot for?

A: It was a personal project by my friend Mia Schaumburg.  We went to this abandoned religious theme park built in the 1920s in Waterbury, Connecticut. The way I interpreted her idea was initially how people fit into architecture. She wanted naked bodies to create lines and angles and interact with the spaces. But I think the broader idea was about stripping away the structure of labels and modernization and stepping back toward Adam and Eve.


                                                                                                        Photo Credit: Mia Schaumburg

Q: Were you completely naked?

A: Yes. We completely stripped down–no clothes and no jewelry. The only piece of clothing actually worn during the shoot was a fur coat, which was supposed to make us seem more animalistic and pre-modern.

Q: How did you get comfortable?

A: [Laughs] It was kind of cold. There were some people that I had never met before. It was really interesting meeting people naked. We drank gin and tonic to warm ourselves up!

Q: Have you ever posed nude before?

A: No! This was my first modeling shoot ever.

Q: What makes this art?

A: To me, anything is art. It’s subjective. I think there is a message to be had behind art that is very intentional, and sometimes that is unintentional. So, if you can, convey this to the audience and it sparks some sort of an interest out of the ordinary day. It should spark conversation and thoughts. To me that’s what art is. We go to art school; we are supposed to be pushing the boundaries of what art is!

Q: How is this different from everyday nudity?

A: Nakedness does not have to equate to sex, which I think is also what this art accomplished. This was intentional and there is a message behind it, however you may interpret it. I just wish nakedness wasn’t such a taboo.


Q: Why do you think nude photos are viewed differently than nude paintings?

A: I think it has to do with identifications. There’s a lot of nude modeling for paintings and I think there is this idea that painting is a different dimension that we can’t touch. I also think that people understand painting to be more of an art. Photography and film are much more of a raw representation. I also think people think it is more acceptable to see nudity in a film rather than in a photo because in a film the nudity is confined to a storyline for a purpose. With photography we are forced to look at it and interpret it.