Stefania Orfanidou was born in 1989. She lives and works in Athens, Greece, as an architect and a photographer. She studied contemporary photography at Stereosis Photography School in Thessaloniki. She has been published by various magazines and webzines. Recently she has been featured in Athens Photo Festival 2017.
Statement: As a child I spent hours reading books. They made me travel towards every possible direction, loosing sense of time and reality. Amongst them, photobooks had something fascinating. They were visualized projections of a real, yet unreachable for my mind, far-away world. As an adult, I realized that the perception of the world was highly subjective in many ways.
Photography captured my attention, as I saw in it finally a way of creating my own personal microcosm, a shelter where I could escape and reveal my thoughts and innermost feelings. Like a different kind of psychoanalysis, personal issues that were bothering me, became the main research element, the canvas of my creativity.
Thus, since 2014 photography became an indispensable part of me. In October 2015 I completed and self-published in limited copies the photographic project “Jaguar Sun”, a study over the personal perception of intimacy. Between 2015 and 2016 I documented the particular post-seismic situation in the city of L’Aquila in Italy. In 2017 I made a short study over the displacement and the state of exception of the old inhabitants of Berlin and self-published it in limited copies with the title “Unseen”. Furthermore, I completed “Cold Turkey”, a work over the state of addiction, absence and loneliness.
Project ‘Cold Turkey’: The unpleasant state that drug addicts experience when they suddenly stop taking a drug; a way of treating drug addicts that makes them experience this state. Source: Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.
The abrupt cessation of a substance dependence, creates a rupture in the organism; a psychological and physical one. Addiction reveals with the worst way its mask and brings you face to face with your innermost self. It provokes you to stand in front of the cliff and face the consequences. The unexpected depth scares you. The fall is inevitable. The pain is relentless. It is an arduous street, however, it is the shortest one in order to achieve quickly the detoxification.
The choice lies in your hands. The fight you have to give is purely personal. It is the loss in the loneliness of the system, in the labyrinth of the loneliness. Separation is the only way towards your real freedom, towards the relief of your psyche. If you don’t fall, you cannot re-stand on your feet. If you don’t deny the habit, you cannot overcome it. If you don’t leave, you cannot escape. This path is dangerous. The sense of lack and absence are leading elements. Withdrawal from reality is totally present. Sadness, nostalgia and the sense of something paradox happening, follow. The temptation of return, comes back in your mind in a repetitive, annoying mode. It can drive you crazy. The memory of the substance that used to be part of your everyday life causes tremendous trembling in your body. Only if you are courageous enough, you can endure and overcome these symptoms, without succumbing in the mysterious and unpredictable abyss of the senses and dependence. Only if you are left alone and experience the void, you can regain the control of your life. Only if you overcome your own limits and get lost in obscurity, you can emerge again in the light and breath; free.
Influences and favorites : Photography, books and cinema consist part of my everyday life. Regarding photography, the work of Alec Soth, Elina Brotherus, Anni Leppala, Nadav Kander and Paul Gaffney were some of the basic influences on finding my own personal way of expression. Some books have, also, played a significant role in the implementation of my projects, such as “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard, “The Labyrinth of Solitude” by Octavio Paz, “The Empire of Signs” and “A Lovers Discourse” by Roland Barthes. As for the cinema, I really appreciate the films directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Wim Wenders, Mikael Haneke and Wong Kar Wai, for the particular poetic way that each one perceives and depicts the world around him.