Since it’s my first submission to Analog.Cafe, I think it would be polite to introduce myself:
Olá, my name is Mariah Peixoto; I am 26 years old. I am from São Paulo, Brazil. Photography is a hobby and a passion of mine, rather than a source of income. My job, or at least the career path I am trying to follow, is university research in critical animal studies and critical animal pedagogy.
The year 2020 is an odd and sorrowful year for most. Though, thankfully, I haven’t lost as much as some, it’s been a strange time for me just the same.
In March 2020, I moved to Sweden for a research-based work internship at the University of Gothenburg. I landed just before Europe closed its borders following the COVID-19 pandemic onset.
As you might have heard, Sweden had a unique approach to controlling the spread of the virus. There were no lockdowns or rigid restrictions. Still, the city looked like a ghost town during the first two weeks following my arrival. All I could see were empty streets. All events were cancelled; I could not meet anyone, and the university was closed.
But luck was still on my side: I was sharing my apartment with an amazing human being. We had a lot in common, and we taught each other so much during our late night tea talks. Yet I wanted to explore more of the country, meet new people and at least try to understand a bit of the Swedish culture, which, for a Brazilian, was soooo different from anything I have ever encountered before!
There weren’t many options for meeting new people during the pandemic, aside from mobile apps, which I wasn’t very comfortable using in the first place. Long story short, after meeting many different people, some quite amazing and some not that amazing, I met a pretty interesting metalhead called Anders — that’s his portrait, below:
Anders lives in Falköping, in the countryside of Sweden. A town with a population of just 16,000, one hour from Göteborg by train. Compared to my hometown of São Paulo, where over 12.8 million people live in just the metropolitan area, it’s tiny. I wasn’t used to the countrysides at the time, and I was curious to explore more.
Anders took me on road trips to castles, Viking ruins, lakes, and churches with incredible architecture. I was mesmerized! Of course, my camera was with me all the time, and I shot more than 20 rolls during my time in Sweden.
I was supposed to stay in the country for just four months. However, the borders were still closed in July, and my flights were cancelled. I couldn’t get home, and my contract has expired. This wasn’t planned, and the university wasn’t going to pay me to stay in Sweden. A recipe for disaster.
Thankfully, Anders and I got along very well, and I ended up extending my stay in Falköping with him.
The photographs you see here were all taken during my last month in Sweden with Anders. Sweden has awful weather, particularly compared to the tropical paradise I am used to in Brazil, so most of the time, we were staying inside or just exploring the surroundings. It was the cloudiest and coldest summer I have ever seen.
In the end, I managed to return to Brazil, to my research job, where I didn’t need a visa to live. Anders and I plan to see each other next year, to continue our story at a sunny beach and make a few colourful photographs to remember it by.
For the moment, I can only daydream and pray for the vaccine. See you soon, I hope!