2022 – A collection of my Latest posts (no images)

People, you know the drill: This is the place you can find my Latest posts (sans images I’m afraid) for the year 2022, after they have served their time and they need to retire. Enjoy!

01 2021

Sometimes we try to be “elaborate” with our images, thinking that complexity is a sure fire way to importance. While this may very well be the case, it is not a prerequisite for an image that stands out. Sometimes, it is going back to basics that lends images that elusive stamp of “WOW”. Let’s see why.

Usually I shoot most of my images under what I have named “Pop and Abstract”. It is a theme that plays with colors, forms, shapes and patterns to create a result that has multiple meanings, depending on the viewer. Couple this with captions that tell half the story, or lead the viewer along a path that is hard to follow and complexity is there alright. Whether that leads invariable (or at least possibly) to great, or even good, images is a different ball game and it is up to you to decide.

This past month I traveled quite a bit. I went up North and even more North and then turned West and even ventured down South a bit. It seems that only the East escaped my traveling sights in January, but hey, new month, new ventures; who knows! The weather was intense and the scenery was likewise interesting: large mountains, lakes, snow, sunshine in the middle of the winter, all that made for interesting backdrops so basically I shot landscapes and cityscapes this month – some may say that there are the most basic of themes.

When nature provides the raw material in abundance, you can’t help but take notice and I did! What you have in front of you are images from my hometown, Thessaloniki, and Florina, as well as mountains, namely Kaimaktsalan and Helmos. Oh, and some lakes for good measure (Prespes).

Easy shots if you keep your eyes open and, most importantly, if you manage not to sneer at the fact that you are shooting “basic”. I think it was Oscar Wilde who famously said that shooting sunsets is so provincial. Now I like Oscar Wilde as much as the next person, but I disagree with this statement and its connotations; shooting what nature (or the city around you) gives you is great if you choose to embrace it and see the interest and beauty and artistic angle. And, believe me, there is enough of it to warrant a few clicks.

 

02 2022

Sometimes you go far. Sometimes you just walk around the neighbourhood. The search for images may take you anywhere, but distance is not at the core of the issue; your mindset and your photographic eye are!

This month it just so happened that I didn’t go out of town and I just went about my ordinary business day in day out. Of course I had my camera with me and a keen eye for new looks on old things.

I pass by the places depicted in this month’s images several times per month. Differect times of day, different wether, different light. All these factors essentially create opportunities for different images, different takes on the same old stuff that surrounds us.

I have seen this church so many times, but never at dust, never lit within against a deep blue sky.

I have seen this school, but never in such an ominous state weather-wise with a child running for cover (or so it seems).

I have seen this water puddle, mostly as a nuisance as I am trying to go around it either on foot or by car, but never as a mini-lake reflecting whatever light is left in the day.

I have seen the rain hit the windshield of my car, but never as the point of focus (as this is usually the traffic in front!).

I have seen this fence as a cripple, but never as a manifestation of inididuality, bordering on eccentricity.

I have seen this store-front with its colorful graffitti, but never as neutral-colored path lines leading out of a mess.

Well, you get the picture, both literally and metaphorically!

 

03 2022

Only half of this month’s images are in landscape orientation (my usually preferred mode) while the rest are either portrait or square. Weird… If I had the time (and tools) I would like to examine what triggers this deviation from the norm. This month had quite a bit of traveling; could it be that when out and about, I tend to experiment a bit more, seeing things in a different manner? Oh well, I guess we won’t be finding out any time soon…

I went to Paris and to some awesome places in Peloponnisos this past month, but you wouldn’t really know it by looking at the images. True, there are some that are identifiable Paris landmarks, but the vast majority of images could be shot anywhere. I don’t do travel photography (never have really), but then, what is it that I do anyway?

I was thinking about it long after I shot these, trying to make sense of what makes me shoot what I shoot. I came to the conclusion that places and travels and people and time periods put me in a specific mindset that leads me to a specific kind of image set. Not the same mindset, mind you: “A” specific mindset, one that is created by the unique circumstances that happen to coexist at a certain point in time.

So, I have my main themes (things that usually capture my eye and imagination), then there is a place along with everything else (people, weather, mood) and this combination leads me to some new territory. I go with the flow. I choose to trust all this and work with it, instead of against it. I am not on a paying job that essentially forces me to produce certain images. I do this for me and it is a dynamic process, changing me along the way, maturing me as an artist. So I go with it and this month’s images reassure me that I am right in this. They reflect the whole set of circumstances that I faced and this means that I was true to myself when making them. I really do hope you enjoy them!

 

04 2022

April was homecoming month for me. I went back to my hometown of Thessaloniki for a few days to celebrate Easter with my family. I go back every few months for a couple of days but I rarely have time to go out and make images.

The whole environment is of curse very familiar to me, near and dear to my heart, but this time around I guess I was in a different kind of mood; one of wandering about the city and going out of my way to visit places that I had not visited in years, like the Old Town (or Upper Town as it is called due to its vantage point location). The result was quite a few images, nine of which I am sharing with you here.

Again, a statement that holds true for me every time is that one can make very different images of the same subject depending on their mood at the time of shooting. The mood this time was nostalgic, hence the driving around town to see old familiar places that I used to visit as a kid and teenager. To my eyes, this mood is pretty evident in the images before you, but you will of course be the ultimate judge of that. Have I conveyed the feeling?

Just for the sake of completeness, one of the images is from Rotonda, one of the oldest monuments in this city of 23 centuries, which is used as a Christian church just once a year, on Good Friday. A couple of the images are from Thermaikos, the sea that is one of the main defining points of Salonica’s history through the ages. The rest are from the old town up in the hills (the Castles as we call them) and the breathtaking view from up there. I love this place. I hope it shows.

 

05 2022

Seven out of nine of May’s images have no life in them. By that I mean that there is no human or animal in them, which may or may not mean that there is no life in them… The other two feature a cat (as a prop) and children in motion, where you cannot really tell them apart. So what’s with the “lifeless” images?

First off, I am not sure that putting a human or animal in an image is the only way to breathe life into it. Of course, the presence of humans or animals is a sure[fire way of doing it, but is it the only one?

We tend to see images, not for what they are, but for what they connect to in our minds and that depends on our life experiences.

We may be looking at an image of a small pier in the water and two mountains in the distance, but what we are seeing is that memory of a solitary moment of loneliness that summer way back when.

We may be looking at an image of the sky in a fiery red and gloomy blue, but what we are seeing is man’s miniscule size against the enormity of even our small part of the universe.

We may be looking at an image of the corner point of a soccer field, but what we are seeing is that first soccer game with dad.

We may be looking at an image of the bend of a track, but what we are seeing is the memory of that one time when we gave it all we had for first place, whether we made it or not.

We may be looking at an image of the bench of a soccer team, but what we are seeing is the feeling of fear or that of being left out or called upon to save the day.

We may be looking at an image of an empty goal post, but what we are seeing is all those goals we set and met or missed or forgotten or reset further or closer.

We may be looking at an image of a sunset, but what we are seeing is the everyday miracle of life, with light signifying birth and darkness signifying death, albeit a short and reversible one.

Life is everywhere. Sometimes it is in your face, while others it is more sublime and you may have to look for it in order to realize it, or as U2 put it “a place that has to be believed to be seen”; just like real life itself.

 

06 2022

So you visit an island or a place in the city you live in. You have your camera with you and you are ready to make some images. Surely there are differentiating factors in that particular place that set it apart from other places you have been. Yet, you find yourself making images along the lines of those that you have made elsewhere.

I have themes, or actually triggers, that make me take a picture, again and again, Small differences, great similarities, even though pictures may be shot years and miles apart. In essence, for me at least, photography is more about bringing the common threads in what I shoot rather than differences.

This is why I am still inclined to make images of doors and walls and colorful patterns, regardless of where I am. This is also why I resort to “two dimensional” images shot aginst the sun, essentially “normalizing” places to shadows.

The funny thing is that I never tire of making these images even after all these years and I certainly hope you bever tire of looking at them!

 

07 2022

This past month was all about size. Small and large. Frankly, this was not my intention as I set out for my trips to the city of Kalamata and the island of Serifos; it just dawned on me days later as I was working on the images and tried to select which will make it to my website. Nevertheless, it did become apparent and who is to say that this very theme wasn’t there already when I was shooting, doing its magic in the subconscious?

Dichotomies like this one are a good tool, if not a (sometimes simplistic) way to view the world around us. Large and small, light and dark, good and evil, black and white… the list can go on and on, along the lines of the old joke: “there are two kinds of people in the world…”

Once, for one reason or another, the photographer is drawn to a certain dichotomy images keep popping up a lot easier in places that would otherwise hide them in plain sight. The photographer is not activey looking for them, but the mind-eye-hand combo is doing the work anyway.

For me, the vastness of the Aegean, the huge body of water with islands scattered all around, has always been fascinating. It may not be “big” in world terms, but -believe me- when you are standing at the top of a hill waiting for the sun to set in the water and all you see is this vast expanse of sky and water, all bahted in glorious light, it feels like this is the whole world.

And then, as you are moving into the the narrow streets of the old villages and everything is close to you and to everything else, you get a feeling for the beauty that had to fit in tight places.

People, parents and children especially, fall into this same dichotomy and my wife and son were no exception this month! Then, there are images where size is hidden or is seemingly confined, playing tricks to the eye!

Try to see these 17 images in terms of the big-small axis. They may make more sense this way! Either way, as always, I sincerely hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!

PS. A bit of indulgence on my part in that I couldn’t select one of the Light of Life images, so I decided to include both in this month’s set. They look alike, but in my mind, they are very different too.

 

08 2022

This was a month of vacation. I was lucky enough to spend it with all my loved ones in places I like very much and some that I had never been before. Needless to say, the mood was great and I was really looking forward to making as many great images as possible. As I have said before, I maintain that when mood is off-center, i.e. when one is either very happy and content or feeling bad and depressed, it is then they they can make the best images, because -I suppose- it is easier to bring out emotion in their images.

I am happy with what turned out, both in quantity and quality, especially since some of them are essentially a new look to a place that I have been every single summer since 2016; Simos Beach at Elafonisos.

This was essentially my first trip to the island of Crete (save for a weekend 12 years ago to the other side of the island) and I was eager to see what would inspire me and make me raise the camera to my eye. As expected, it was not the usual tourist stuff, like landscapes and landmark buildings and other sites, but rather little details that -at least in my mind- tell the story of the place as I “heard” it. This may be hard for the viewer to see in the absence of context, but I am not doing documentary photography, so I can live with it!

A friend of mine made an interesting observation today, after having seen this month’s images. He mentioned that my color images look like B&W in the sense that they do not have many colors in them, they are using only a small part of any color palette and they give the impression of shades of grey. I liked this comment. A lot. Even though in my Pop & Abstract theme of images color has a major role alongside patterns and forms, I am indeed drawn to simple color schemes that tell the story as concisely as possible. Can you see this in this month’s images?

Finally, if there is a common theme to most of these images, it is the sun and the sky of Greek summer. I love it, even when it is cloudy, even gloomy. It makes me feel great… oh, wait… I already said that in the beginning;)

Enjoy!

 

09 2022

How do you photograph a place in order to convey to the viewer its unique character and atmosphere? Ancient Olympia is such a place; brimming with history, known around the world and through the ages as the birthplace of the Olympics. It is a tall order, at least for me…

I made a few decisions along the way, as I was shooting, while some other decisions were made in post processing. First off, with the exception of one image in the series, there are no people at all, just the ruins in their natural habitat. I felt that people would be a distraction, a cacophony of color and style in an otherwise pristine environment. True, that may take the sloul out of the images, but the flipside to that is that it is indeed a place that belongs to ancient history and we are mere spectators, so it can definitely do without us (and so can the images!). Then I dedided to shoot with a mind to convert some images to black and white. If my dogma that color should be in the image only if it adds to the story stands true, it does so in this place more so than just about anywhere else. The story is there in all its ancient glory even without the off white color of the ruins against the dirt, the trees and the sky. However, I did shoot color images and in post I dialed the Vibrance a few notches down for a more muted, “metallic” look that I felt was better suited to the story I was about to tell. Only you, the viewer, will ultimately know if my decisions were correct. Were they?

How do you photograph cacti in order to show that there is beauty somewhere there among their thorns? I found three as I was strolling around Yalova (Messinia) and I am sharing two of them with you here.

When color is not your strongest suit, you have to find the next best thing and in their case, it was patterns. These plants are not your average flower, but still they can be beautiful if one knows how to look and what to look for. By focusing closely on the pattern and drawing even more attention to it by heavy vignetting in post processing, I believe that my goal was accomplished. Was it?

Finally shadows against the sky and a cool cat with steely eyes complete this month’s selection of images. I hope you like them:)

 

10 2022

I debated (with myself that is) quite a bit about what to do with this month’s crop of images. To begin with, this was a slow month on account of selling my camera and waiting for the new one to arrive. Therefore, there was just one session of shooting, but what a session that was! We went to the medieval castle of Methoni and walked around the grounds for hours, almost getting into the mood and atmosphere of the era. Initially I thought about turning this into a special project, but after a while I decided against it. The reason is that most of the images depict variations of the same two subjects: the castle in the water (Bourtzi) and the orthodox church. There are some images of other parts of the area, but the vast majority is these two, so I ditched the special project idea.

Instead I tried showing the obvious, once again: how many different ways there are to shoot something that captures your creative eye. Images of the Bourtzi share the core theme but what they convey in terms of emotion and even visual stimulus is different. The same goes for the church and the way light plays with the space.

I believe that the power of the medium is exactly this: present the same stimulus to a thousand people and chances are that you will end up with a thousand different perspectives or views or angles or, well, you get the idea! I tried to show this, but the question is: have I succeeded?