Body On Me: Artist Interview – Mafalda Silva
Mafalda is a Portuguese fashion and portrait photographer who now calls London her home. She captures fleeting, unhurried moments in a documentary style that feels very natural and honest. Her images rarely address a subject directly or capture a distinct event; instead they feel like an acknowledgment of a feeling or the summing up of a period of time. She creates an intimate atmosphere with her subjects, normally shooting in film and making use of natural light which brings a subtle, unforced grace to her work.
Can you tell us about your work and what you do?
I’m a photographer. I work mostly in fashion and portrait photography. That’s mostly what I do, fashion and portrait. A bit of music as well.
Your work is very intimate. How do you tackle the issue of vulnerability in front of the lens?
I try to create a relationship with the people I’m photographing which is obviously not always easy. But for me that’s very important that people feel at ease. A lot of my photos are of naked people, about intimate moments as well so a lot of them happen spontaneously, like I said, because my private life takes over my professional life and I take photos of so many private moments between me and my friends so that happens kind of in a spontaneous way. And when it comes more to fashion shoots, I try to create a relationship with the person that I’m photographing. I still try to photograph that in a natural and intimate way so I think when it’s something a bit more, let’s say, staged it’s very important for me to create a relationship with the person that I’m photographing and let them feel comfortable and at ease. I guess that’s the only way that you can really recreate true intimacy when someone is comfortable and at ease.
How much do mainstream attitudes towards body image affect your work?
I don’t think they do very much at all because I don’t think there’s one right body shape or only one body shape that has to be portrayed. We’re all human, we all have different shapes, different insecurities towards our bodies but that doesn’t mean our bodies are not beautiful in their own way and that they shouldn’t be portrayed so I don’t really relate to that in any way. I actually think it’s great that they created different body shapes finally after all this time.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I can draw inspiration from pretty much anything, especially my life, from my friends, from a book I read. Ideas can really come from anywhere really there isn’t just one source of inspiration or one thing that inspires me but a lot of my work is very intimate so obviously my personal life, the people that surround me and the things that are part of it are my main source of inspiration, I guess.