Hello! Rife Magazine ceased publishing new work in July 2022.

We've kept the magazine online as an archive and hope you'll still continue to enjoy all of its contributions from the last 8 years.

The Rife Team

Black Photography Commission: Art Fashion

For the second of our photography commissions Sonny Barthley shares his unique take on fashion photography as art.

Sonny Barthley is a fashion photographer, visual maker and poet. He’s collaborated with creatives in fashion and culture magazines as well as in the makeup and music industry. You can see his work on the front cover of Playful magazine.

Tell us about yourself and your work as a photographer.

I stem from the multicultural city of Bristol, and my roots are in Jamaica. I struggled to find my voice in photography. I owe a lot to Art Fashion because I was able to find my visual and photographic identity.   

Tell us more about your photos. 

I like to experiment with body movement, shapes and styling to give that art feel to my work. I’ve found myself celebrating the beauty of the human body frequently, as I style by using various fabric material and recycled objects to cut different shapes. Art Fashion has given me the confidence to grow as a creative and an individual 

I have an openness enables whoever I work with to feel at ease and discover more about their body. The more I’ve blossomed into a fashion photographer I’ve wondered what has drawn to photographing the female form. I firstly believe that my admiration and respect to femininity was sprouted at an early age. I grew up in a family of strong independent women but had destructive men in and out of their lives. From then I saw the true beauty in womanhood.

At the age of seventeen I became enthralled with the lyrics of the American musician Jeff Buckley. The way he weaved his raw emotions with emotive imagery related to me strongly, and of course the majority of his songs were about the beauty in women. I started writing my own poetry in the same vein soon after. I look at every photoshoot as a poem, with the styling, composition and poses being their own stanza.  

Follow Sonny Barthley on Instagram @sonnybarthley and see more of his work on his website