Sabine Metz’s Sweet Agony Photo Series is Unsettlingly Thought Provoking

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All photos by Sabine Metz. Used with permission.

Sabine Metz is a 22 year old photographer in the Netherlands. She is self taught and likes to shoot portraits, weddings, fashion, etc. Sabine recently did a series called Sweet Agony, and upon seeing the photos, we were hit with loads of different feelings towards them. The use of lighting adds some interesting shadows to the series as does placement of the lollipops, the models’ expressions, and the uber serious body language mixed with the tight proper attire.

After looking at the series, we decided to talk to Sabine about it and investigate the meaning behind it.

Phoblographer: What is the inspiration behind the series?

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Sabine: I always collect random thoughts wandering around in my mind. I don’t really know where this came from, I really like tropical prints lately, and with the trend of buttoning it up to the top they made me think of how mothers always neatly button up little boy’s shirts and the way boyscouts look.

Phoblographer: Why did you choose the lighting that you did and how do you feel that it delivers the look and feel that you want in the images?

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Sabine: I wanted to try a one light set-up for a change. I usually use two softboxes in my studio, but this time I only brought one. I’ve seen this set-up in portraits like this, I like the softness of the light but the fact that it keeps these mysterious shadows here and there.

Phoblographer: When you told the models about the series, how did you go about posing them and what did you tell them beforehand to deliver those faces?

Sabine: I usually start with saying nothing. See how the models go about filling it in, and then I find out very quickly if that is what I’m looking for or not. If not, I’ll correct some things. In this case, I wanted them to stand very straight, which is not what models usually do. They’re used to switching up their pose and to move dynamically. This time it was all about little changes in their expressions and eyes. It was challenging but fun.

Phoblographer: Is this an ongoing series or will this be the end of it?

Sabine: This is a finished series. I have some more images of girls with different candy, which may be brought out in singles, but they won’t be added to this series.

All the photos but one has something in the model’s pocket. Why does that single one not have it?

Sabine: It’s the end of the story. I’d say: “You tell me what it means!”, because I like people interpreting my photos to what it means to them. But for the sake of this interview, I’ll tell you what it means to me (but it can still be totally different for you). For me, this series tells about growing up and the confusion of losing your childhood. The last one expresses this melancholy of the understanding that he will have to become an adult and take care of his responsibilities as is expected of him.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.