Sage Sohier: Perfectible Worlds

by Madeline Yale

Intrigued by the often fanatical nature of some hobbyists' diversions, Massachusetts-based photographer Sage Sohier began the series Perfectible Worlds shortly after 9/11/01. Sohier's environmental portraits demonstrate a curious sense of wonderment: the simple yet seductive gratification of collecting, the nostalgic fabrication of miniature worlds, and the seemingly obsessive desire to perfect or transform oneself. What Sohier describes as "private passions and obsessions" speak about a larger topic: how we console ourselves in an imperfect world.

As our society becomes more complex and individualized, many aspects in our lives are motivated by a fear of the unknown. The photographer divulges how our leisure activities are indicators of the instinct to rationalize this chaotic fear by gaining control of our environments. Many hobbyists conduct their activities in solitude, therefore removing themselves from participating in the larger world. Through these escapist means, some lose all sense of time while becoming utterly absorbed in projects, driven by the desire for and illusion of perfection.