Fiona Filipidis - To make a prairie

For the duration of March we were seeking work from photography graduates alongside Loupe Magazine to reward with a collection of prizes and interviews. A lot of time was spent looking through the submissions and decisions were finally made. Here we present you with our final runner-up!

Fiona Filipidis was born in Paris and later studied for a BA in Photography in France before moving to study for an MA at London College of Communication. We've interviewed Fiona here about the series To make a prairie.


To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

Emily Dickinson

Will revery alone really do if bees are few? As much as I love to daydream, I’m afraid the answer is a resounding, gut-wrenching ‘NO’. Bees are crucial to the continuation of human life. But our impact on the environment through the misuse of insecticides, added to the proliferation of pests and diseases and loss of habitat, is threatening the survival of this mighty insect. When bees have access to good nutrition, so do we – you can thank them for one in three bites of food you eat – and yet every batch of pollen has at least six pesticides in it.

From poetry to politics, religion to architecture, the honey bee has managed to waggle-dance itself into every nook and cranny of the human world. Our relationship with the bee is one that spans thousands of years, and I have attempted to synthesise it in one single book.

From the series  To make a prairie

From the series To make a prairie

I divided this book into 6 chapters, each one edited in a specific way: a piece of writing is preceded by a full-page image and followed by a selection of images in relation to the text. The full-page images are of the stormy skies that descended over London on 16th October 2017, when hurricane Ophelia made her way to our shores. All I could hear and read at the time was “It’s the end of the world!” and I couldn’t help but find a parallel with what could potentially happen if bees were to become extinct. The texts are a mix of personal life experiences and detailed knowledge about the honey bee and its history in relation to us.

The imagery is a mix of found artefacts and my own photographs. Mingling the past with the present is my way of showing our constant and ever-growing relationship with the honey bee. My hope is that there is something for everyone in this book; if a teenager were to pick it up and see a photo of Beyoncé, I would love for it to peak their curiosity and push them to do a little bit of digging.

This project is more relevant now than ever. Every day, news articles emerge with ever-growing alarming headlines about bees and insects in general. We humans hold the fate of the wee honey bee in our millions of hands. By some unimaginable, intangible natural power, we have been given the gift of life, and it is our duty to make sure all living entities that share our cosmos continue on the path they were meant to take.

From the series  To make a prairie

From the series To make a prairie

Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? What's your motto? I am a 28 year-old multicultural photographer who grew up in the leafy suburbs of Paris, France. My dad is half-French, half-Greek and my mum is half-English, half-Scottish. I have Portuguese relatives and grew up surrounded by friends from all over the globe, which I feel all greatly contributed to my openness and curiosity for the world. 

I studied for a BA in Photography in Paris before moving to the UK to pursue an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, from which I graduated this past January. 

I have never had to think about a motto before, but maybe “laughter is the best medicine”! I love a good chuckle. 

From the photobook  To make a prairie

From the photobook To make a prairie

Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? My most recent projects are all related to nature and the environment in one way or another. Prior to To make a prairie, I was working on an image/text concept book called El Dorado which deals with the notion of gold in its broadest of meanings, whether it be physical or purely metaphorical, and What do you want to be when you grow up? which portrays our desire to reconnect with nature through a humorous, albeit slightly strange, depiction of my fantasized mother/daughter relationship with Phoebe, my favourite houseplant.

I always try to add an element of humour or levity to my projects and my writing, as I have come to realise that it helps people react to and interact with my work on a different level. I believe that you don’t always have to show the negative aspects of any given situation in order to bring awareness to it. I find the idea of talking about important issues contrasted with an underlying light-hearted tone to be a very interesting one that I would love to push further.

I recently came across an article written by Tim Davis on photogeliophobia, or the fear of funny photography, in which he states that, “The history of photography’s overall overseriousness starts to feel like a first date that can’t laugh at the ketchup he’s spilled in his lap.” And the combination of spilt ketchup and the noise the bottle makes while doing so is more often than not quite amusing.

From the series  To make a prairie

From the series To make a prairie

What encouraged you to submit to the Loupe Magazine and Photograd call for work? Have you got any tips for photographers submitting work for similar opportunities? Getting your work out there is the tricky part upon graduating, as you want to use the momentum you’ve gathered throughout the year to propel you and keep pushing for your work to be seen. Photograd is the ideal platform to start, as you’re only a graduate once (or twice). I have been following the website for years now and have always been amazed by the quality of the photographic projects you choose to publish, and feel humbled to be in such great company. I am also excited whenever I come across new platforms such as Loupe Magazine, as I believe there can never be enough websites and magazines to showcase emerging talent. So the combination of both seemed perfect!

My main piece of advice would be to keep applying to calls and competitions, even if the constant rejections can cause you to lose hope (which I have lost on many occasions, but keeps returning again and again). I find being organised to also be very useful; I have monthly lists organised by closing dates on my desktop so that I know when I need to apply for calls, residencies, competitions, grants, and what to send.

From the photobook  To make a prairie

From the photobook To make a prairie

How did this series come to the surface? Why did you decide to make work around our relationship with bees? It was all very coincidental, really, as most projects usually are! I was chatting with one of my tutors from LCC, Morag Livingstone, about what I could work on next when she, quite bluntly, asked me, “What pisses you off and what brings you joy?”. I realised there and then that a natural theme underlined all of my answers, and she saw my eyes light up when I told her about hives being kept on rooftops in the middle of Paris. I had also, like many other people, received dozens of email petitions to “Save the Bees” but had never given them much thought. And I had been struck by a photograph that was doing the rounds on Facebook at the time, showing what the fruit and veg aisle of a supermarket would look like if bees were to become extinct. So I started my research and within a couple of days that was it, I was hooked, all I could think of were bees, bees, bees. In my book, I quote British beekeeper R. O. B. Manley who defines bee fever as “a form of insanity from which you never really recover”, and to my great delight I think I’ve caught the bug, too. 

From the photobook  To make a prairie

From the photobook To make a prairie

The outcome of To make a prairie is a photobook. Describe your book and particular layout of images. I divided To make a prairie into 6 chapters, each edited in a specific way: a piece of writing is preceded by a full-page image and followed by a selection of images in relation to the text. The full-page images are of the stormy skies that descended over London last October, when hurricane Ophelia made her way over here and people kept saying that it felt like the end of the world; I couldn’t help but find a parallel with what could potentially happen if bees were to become extinct. The texts are a mix of personal life experiences and detailed knowledge about the honey bee and its history in relation to us. And the pictures are a mix of found archival imagery and my own photographs. The image pairings are often comical and bounce off one another as I wanted to constantly excite the reader’s eye and not let it become accustomed to one type of image. My hope is that there is something for everyone in this book; if a teenager were to pick it up and see a photo of Beyoncé, I would love for it to pique their curiosity and push them to do a little bit of digging. As for the cover, the bee drawing was created by my cousin’s 5-year-old daughter, Caitlin. 

Was it important that you executed this work in the form of a photobook? Yes, I knew from the start that the final form of this project would be a book. I am an avid photobook reader, collector and admirer. I spend a good amount of time looking at sequencing, layouts, papers, binding techniques and feel genuine joy when I come across a book which excites both my eyes and my fingers! I had always wanted to make a book from start to finish, from the image making to the editing to the design of it, and saw this project as the perfect opportunity to do so. 

From the series  To make a prairie

From the series To make a prairie

What are your future plans? I am currently trying to publish, or self-publish, To make a prairie, as well as working on a zine about a trip I took to California in February. In about a month’s time I will be doing a 3-week artist residency in northern Italy with Ardesia Projects and Jest, a photography gallery in Turin, which I am very excited about. And I will forever be working on researching bees in order to fully live up to my “bee-lady” image!

Sophie Barbasch - Fault Line

For the duration of March we were seeking work from photography graduates alongside Loupe Magazine to reward with a collection of prizes and interviews. A lot of time was spent looking through the submissions and decisions were finally made. Here we present you with our second runner-up!

Sophie Barbasch is based in New York and studied for a MFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Art and Art History at Brown University. We've interviewed Sophie here about the series Fault Line.


Fault Line is a project I am doing in the small coastal town of Brooklin, Maine. The protagonist is my younger cousin Adam, who lives there. I also photograph my brother, father, and other cousins. I chose the title because a fault line alludes to where the earth splits in an earthquake (a metaphor for a divided family with a complicated history) and also alludes to fault, or blame (I wonder, how does a family support each other, even when things aren't perfect?) My goal is to show the weight we all carry and how we are both connected and isolated from each other.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? What's your motto? I’m a New York based photographer. I grew up here, and I also lived in Providence where I got my BA at Brown and my MFA at RISD. I don’t know if I have a motto per se, but I think it’s important to laugh as much as possible. In terms of work, I think a lot about how you just have to keep going, always, no matter what!  

Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? Regardless of the project I have a preoccupation with the dissolution of structure. In my work, there is usually tension between a desired/expected outcome and an actual/different outcome. I like images because they elude the structure and clarity of language—but even in my text-based projects, I emphasise words that have multiple connotations. I make collections of writing with pieces that undo, or undermine, the other component parts (i.e. there is a building up of meaning, or an argument being made, that is then undone). This undermining of expectation, or structure, is not always negative/nihilistic. It’s just my way of addressing life’s ambiguity.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

What encouraged you to submit to the Loupe Magazine and Photograd call for work? Have you got any tips for photographers submitting work for similar opportunities? I really like both Loupe and Photograd so when I saw the call for work I was immediately interested. In terms of tips, I don’t think I’m the right person to ask! I submit to a lot of things, and rejection is almost a daily occurrence. I guess the key is just persistence, as with most things.

How did this series come to the surface? What initially drew you to the coastal town of Brooklin? I have family there so it has always been important to me. I started the project for a few different reasons. I was finishing up grad school with a lot of questions and issues that I felt like I needed to address in my work, and this project seemed to be a good fit. I was getting to know my cousin better as both a person and a photo collaborator and wanted to work more with him. And I had been traveling and moving around a lot in the years prior, which left me wanting to return to a home base of sorts.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

Is it important you use your family as characters in your work? What were their thoughts on your ideas? For a while I was trying to address elements of my childhood in my work but the connection wasn’t direct enough. I decided to use my family members and to think of them as characters that inhabit this place and develop over time. It started with a few images that seemed to get at what I was feeling, and then I realised that my cousin Adam was a good protagonist for the project because he seemed to share my experience and outlook. I speak the most to him and my other cousins about the project. Although they are not photographers, they are all artistic (musicians, writers, performers) so it is intuitive to them. I usually have the initial idea, but they help me develop it by improvising in the moment and suggesting other things. They motivate me and collaborate with me.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

Where did you final visual influence for Fault LineJo Ann Callis, Andrea Modica, Viviane Sassen, Ingmar Bergman, Collier Schorr, Jo Ann Walters.

As family and relationships continue to evolve, do you think you can ever call this series complete? I don’t think it will ever be complete. I think the longer you work on a project, the harder it gets—the more complex things get. This mirrors reality and relationships. You have to examine more of yourself and show more of others. I think of this series in chapters. Even when one chapter ends, there is another beginning.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

What are your future plans? I’m currently working on a project about the construction of a railroad in Brazil. As for the future future—I’m not sure! Projects tend to lead into each other, but sometimes it’s hard to know what it is until it’s almost finished.

Lorenza Demata - It all started when some of us left the country

For the duration of March we were seeking work from photography graduates alongside Loupe Magazine to reward with a collection of prizes and interviews. A lot of time was spent looking through the submissions and decisions were finally made. We're really pleased to present here the first runners-up interview.

Lorenza Demata is a photographer and visual artist originally from Italy who studied for an MA in Photography at London College of Communication. We've interviewed Lorenza here about the series It all started when some of us left the country.


It is estimated that expatriates constitute approximately 40% of London population.
At the same time, almost 50% of the total consumption of food resources relies on the importation of fruit and vegetables from other countries.


This project is an investigation of the notion of identity in the contemporary migratory context.
The displacement of human resources is explored through a visual analogy with imported fruit and vegetables. By creating this parallel relation between people and food commodities, Lorenza aims to unveil the process of redefining individual identity that often takes place in the experience of expatriates.
The photographic series and the book ask the viewer to critically reflect on the role of the human workforce in the political context of global migration.

From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? My name is Lorenza (Lori) and I am a photographer and visual artist based in London. I come from Florence, Italy, where I first graduated in International Cooperation and Conflict Management. After my first BA, I studied Photography for three years at Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence, until September 2016. Then I moved to London to attend the MA in Photography at London College of Communication. I recently graduated and I am now working as a freelance photographer in London.

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? Because of my multidisciplinary background, the content of my works is somehow always linked to social and political issues and it investigates themes related to the ideas of identity and culture. In my latest works, I have been particularly interested in the processes that influence and change the concept of cultural identity in the contemporary globalised context.

I usually address these concepts through portrait and staged photography, by subverting and experimenting different approaches. As a result, I would say that my practice sits between documentary and conceptual photography.

From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

What encouraged you to submit to the Loupe Magazine and Photograd call for work? Have you got any tips for photographers submitting work for similar opportunities? I usually try to apply to as many open calls as I can. I think these kind of calls are a good opportunity to show work, as well as to get feedback and responses. It is useful to always challenge ourselves and to confront our work with others. Accepting feedback and criticism is not always easy. But taking into account constructive suggestions can make you understand how complete your work is and it can contribute to make positive improvements.

How did this series come to the surface? Why did you decide to investigate identity in the contemporary migratory context through the use of photography? When I started my MA in London I wanted to investigate a theme that could be somehow close to my personal experience. I started wondering to what extent cultural identity changes when we move from our country of origin to another. I have also been interested in the process of commodification of the foreign human workforce in general and in particular in London.  

From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

I think it is important to reflect on identity and cultural issues in this place and in this historical moment.

Almost half of the population of London is constituted by people from other countries. While gathering data for my theoretical research process, I also found out that a large amount - approximately 50% - of the food commodities we consume in the UK is imported from somewhere else. By visually connecting expatriates to imported vegetables and fruit, I want people to reflect on how much a country relies on the global importation and migration, as well as on the role of foreign people in this context. 

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

The outcome of It all started when some of us left the country is a photobook. Describe your book and explain why you executed your work in this way. The diptychs are usually installed in exhibitions as a series of booklets, which aim to recall the scale of a passport. 

The other part of the project It all started when some of us left the country - I is in the form of a book. In this section, I am investigating the concept of cultural adaptation by confronting a specific fruit with a personal story. As a result, the book mixes different visual inputs, such as screenshots, graphics, manipulated archival material and photographs.

Why have you cut out the faces in your portraits? The face is one of the main elements which defines the identity of a person. It is, I would say, indexical of the existence of the subject, and this is particularly evident in identity documents. 

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

I chose not to show the face to reflect on the concepts of displaced identity and of absence. The size of the white square also recalls the photos that are used for official documents.

I think my aim is to underline how it is challenging to define ourselves culturally and individually.

Tell us about the accompanying pieces of fruit in your images. How have you linked fruit and portraits together? For the still life photos I gathered data about the most imported fruit and vegetables. Every piece is paired with the portrait according to the colours. I did not want to link the food with the subject on the basis of the same nationality. This way I want to enhance the concept of displacement and of distance of commodities and people. Furthermore, I mean to underline how the movement of goods and human migrations are global, by going beyond national borders.

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

What are your future plans? At the moment, I am going on with this project and with the specific fruits and stories. In the future, I would like to investigate the social and cultural relationship between expatriates and locals. I also want to analyse some form of local cultural ‘resistance’ in the economic context, either in London or somewhere else.