Meet Sofie: Life of A 20-year-old Girl with Down Syndrome

It was an autumn of 2017 when Snezhana von Büdigen got to know Sofie, a 20 year-old girl with Down syndrome, and her family, while she was working with a group of children with Down syndrome to take photos of them with their mothers.

"Sofie truly fascinated me, so much so that I decided to visit her on her family's farm," Snezhana said. "We spent a whole day together during which she let me immerse into her world. I had a chance to learn about her childhood, see the farm she grew up in and meet her family." Sofie had just finished school and spent almost every day on the family estate in Eilensted (Germany).

Then Sofie kept visiting Sofie and her family for over a year, experience their everyday lives, sharing at that time the highs and lows of her first steps into love. However, Sofie's relationship with boyfriend Andy ended the following summer. It was not easy for her to get over that break-up. Afterwards, Sofie continues to live on the farm estate with her parents, her brother and the countless animals.

"Sofie has created her own world within the high walls that surround the farm," said Snezhana, "she grown dear to me, and I think the same would have happened to anyone who had a chance to get to know her."

Snezhana took her time to know Sophie and her world because she thinks "the most important thing to do before photographing someone is to really understand who is the person you are going to portray." For instance, she needs to know her nature, before deciding on lighting, composition, color and other photographic aspects which are nothing but tools that a photographer should use to make the subject's personality stand out.

With this series, Snezhana wants to show the fascinating "Sofies world" and her sensitive nature. At the same time, she hopes viewers will be able to relate the images and perhaps even recognize themselves in some pictures.

(All photos copyrighted Snezhana von Büdigen)

>> Gallery: Meet Sofie

>> Photographer: Snezhana von Büdigen

>> Interveiw of photographer: Sensibility, love, compassion

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