Trained to be a Girl

Sophie Barbasch

Sophie Barbasch, a New York-based photographer, does not only work on the aesthetic appeal of the photographs but also comes to the forefront as a collector and a well-author. Previously, we have included her Fault Line project in the 18th Issue. And now, we include unique "Trained to be a Girl" which comes to the foreground with authoring and collecting.  

For many years, she has been asking men she did not know questions about love, loneliness, and regret such as "Please write me a love letter", "Tell me about a mistake you made" or "What do you do about heartbreak?", and then collected answers in a series of 10 volumes book. These questions and answers, each close to each other, each completes the sentence of each other soothe Barbasch's anxieties as well as men that she has communicated. She describes her project as "a collection of fragmented voices that come together, decontextualized, abstracted, like an improbable poem.".   

There is another agenda beyond that the project has sweeten up the artist. For instance, we can find traces of slummed femininity perception in the work "Tell me why I'm a good girl". At this point, although men's discourse seems positive, Barbasch states that the descriptions contain stereotypical judgments and misogyny that women are accustomed. Or the spook that she doesn't really know these men who share their most private photographs… This tension between anonymous and closeness is another crucial point. It is possible to adapt this spook to every connection where the basic relationship with another person is established. So, this is not the internet culture.

Although "Trained to be a Girl" contains a lot of text from the people the artist has talked with, we do not see the artist's implications in written form. This promises both a reader can involve the project as a director, and a bunch of new stories that the artist cannot be imagined.