Sofia Valiente received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Her first book, Miracle Village, was published during her tenure in the prestigious photography department of the residency program Fabrica in Treviso, Italy. Miracle Village, first exhibited at Daniel Blau gallery in London recounts the personal journeys of sex offenders living in seclusion within the purpose-built community on the outskirts of a rural town in an impoverished area of Palm Beach County, Florida. The project houses over 100 sex offenders. Florida’s stringent legislation requires offenders to live a minimum of 1,000 ft. from any place where children congregate, many municipalities extend this law to increase the distance to 2,500 ft. In practice this becomes extremely difficult to abide by, leaving many offenders struggling to find housing and re-establish their lives in society. The village, founded by a Christian ministry, seeks to help offenders that have no place to go. For over a year Valiente befriended, lived among and photographed the residents in Miracle Village where they shared their stories of estrangement, solitude and rehabilitation.
The undeniable artistic merits of the Miracle Village project lie not only in the exquisite photographic compositions, but in Valiente’s candid portrayal of the feared and ostracised. The photographs, which are both captivating and unsettling, are accompanied by equally striking stories in her critically-acclaimed book.
In February 2015 the project won the 1st prize in the category Stories/ Portraits, of the World Press Photo.