The sofa in question was, by Pantall’s own admission, a ragged and uncomfortable piece of furniture. However, worn out as it may have been, it soon became central to the lives of both him and his daughter. Isabel’s time spent curled there – watching, imagining, growing and, sometimes, recovering – was lovingly captured by Pantall and now, some 15 years later, will soon be published for the first time.
At just 84 pages, the aptly named Sofa Portraits is comparatively modest in size. However, its 36 images provide a touching – and typographical – record of Isabel’s childhood. Now studying art at university, the 21-year-old has contributed text and illustrations to the body of work which, Pantall says, she remains extremely fond of.
“I think we forget what goes on inside a kid’s mind. There’s a daydreaming world, a critical world, an escapist world and there’s the intensity of the emotions you have,” he says. “Isabel loves the images because they showcase these different states of being and, to a certain extent, she still has those states of being.”