Setanta, 2019. Edition of 250 copies. Clothbound hardcover, hand-stitched, unpaged. Photographs by Léa Thijs. Text by Alain Thijs, Barbara Pierce. Design by Gemma Gerhard.
"Dismantling the walls of my house in order to examine the foundations of my family, I wanted to photograph my father who has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Being able to put a name to his condition and explain his patterns of behaviour after 20 years has enabled him to construct a sustainable environment around himself. Now under medication, I felt it was time for me to document my father in his home in South Africa, and revisit memories associated with his childhood in Brussels. 'Safe House', a title taken from The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz, is an open door to explore my relationship with him."
Lea Laetitia Thijs is a South African-Belgian Documentary Photographer based in Lisbon. Her work revolves around themes to do with mental health and the ethical challenges experienced in representing others. Furthermore, both her personal and professional work are primarily shot on a large format analogue camera. After a 3 year course in black and white analogue photography and a continuation of mastering her craft by participating in a variety of different photography courses and workshops across South Africa, Belgium and Paris, Lea obtained a BA in Photography at Middlesex University, London. In 2019, Lea published her first book called ‘Safe House’, exploring her father's Bipolar condition. She frequently does commissions for publications such as the ‘Financial Times’ amongst others and works on personal projects.