talks to Susanna Galbraith

I took this image in my brother’s house in Comporta - a small Portuguese fishing village - on the 6th May 2020, which just so happens to be my brother’s birthday.

I left London at the very start of lockdown to be with my family and ended up staying in Portugal for 6 months. I began taking pictures randomly then as a means of passing time and staying creative. I took this one about a month in; I was still experimenting then.

I’d been using my first camera, which I’d gotten as a teen, for a few months when I took it: a Canon G9 in automatic mode with the flash on. I feel more free when I’m using it; it’s easier to whip out and shoot rather than having to lug around a bulky Canon Mark II and a heavy lens.

I took three books with me to Portugal, one of which was Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit. It just felt like the perfect time to start reading it, since it’s all about walking and we all had to stay put at home. I decided to pair disembodied quotes from it with my images. This image has "The point at which anger is conquered is marked with a stick" attached to it, a quote by Lucy Lippard which Solnit uses in Wanderlust.

I didn’t think too hard about which quote got paired with which image, but so far they seem to make sense. I guess the "anger" here would reference the fire and the smoke and the redness of the sausages, and the "stick" the sausages as well, or even the human body or the tongs being used by the hand, and then the word "conquer" has all sorts of connotations. This image definitely has a very "manly" feel to it. As a whole quite a few people have told me that the pictures in this series have quite a sexual undertone. Lots of close ups, bright colours, body parts. I’d say each image is its own story.

The project began instinctively, like most of my projects. It started out as an 'Instagram project'. I hadn’t updated my feed for about a year and figured that posting a daily picture from this series would help me get back into the swing of things and stay engaged with a project. I returned to the UK in September and haven’t looked at them since.

My cousin - who I’m very close to and with whom I lived in Portugal - is a psychoanalyst so her critical input and vision have been invaluable. I do like this image. And I do get quite visceral reactions to it from people. I’m still figuring out what it all means so this project's far from finished. I’ve still got hundreds of images to go through and would like to put together a tight edit in the near future.

I usually think and work in book form so I may turn it into a zine or something. I’ve also thought of merging it with another project I’ve been working on since last year so we’ll see... I never really make work with a specific audience in mind; I make it because I want to.

Fiona Filipidis is a documentary photographer working in Paris and London. Her MA submission to Graduate Photography Online 2018 was selected by Alicia Hart (Independent Photo Editor).

Fiona Filipidis in Graduate Photography Online 2018 ▸

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