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Interview with photographer Charalampos Kydonakis

Swimmer, Plakias, Crete, 2011


F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?

Charalampos Kydonakis: I got my first camera in 1997 when I started to study architecture, it was a necessary tool for my work. Gradually I found in it a way of expressing myself easier than other kinds of medium I had tried before such as drawing with charcoal or playing music.

F-Stop: The Portfolio 2019 issue of F-Stop Magazine features your project “Back to Nowhere’,” can you tell us about this project? What led to this work?

CK: Back to Nowhere is a Minotaur inspired tale from my island, Crete, the only place I’ll never have the chance to see how it looks in the eyes of a stranger. ( images are made between 2009 – 2017). It is a parallel tale with ‘Warn’d in Vain’ ; an Argonautica inspired New York City story; a stranger’s questionmark inside the world’s most photographed city; made between the years 2014-2017 that I spent 7 months on the other side of the ocean.

These 2 stories were published as twin books through a crowdfunding campaign last year , they can be found here : https://www.dirtyharrry.com/p/books.html

Shirt, Preveli, Crete, 2016

F-Stop: Can you discuss your process for making these images, or your creative process more generally?

CK: I’ve realized when I’m not shooting for a long time I’m not feeling well (and vice versa)… Unfortunately I get bored easily that ‘s why I’m trying try to surprise myself whenever it’s possible. Most times it proves to be a difficult task, sometimes there are thoughts coming out of what is out there, that reveal to me something I hadn’t encountered before. These few moments are the ones that stayed in my memory and became my favorite images along the years. Every result is a matter of persistence and time spent, so there’s no other process than spending time on shooting & editing. Looking at others’ work & discussing with people I trust has helped me a lot too.

F-Stop: Does your background in architecture influence how you make photographs or the projects you create?

CK: I think not directly, at least regarding the subjects I’m mostly interested. But things like materiality, framing angles & lighting conditions are always on my mind since I first started through architecture.

F-Stop: What do you hope people experience or feel when they look at your photographs?

CK: If people who look at my images or my books would like to look at them again in the future it’s a hopeful sign.

F-Stop: How would you describe your work to someone viewing it for the first time?

CK: I call my photos “dirty photos”. A friend once told me to change it, but I didn’t.

Kite over fire, Ammoudara, Crete, 2015

F-Stop: Do you have a favorite image in this series? If so, which one and why is it the image that speaks to you most?

CK: I don’t know if i have a favorite single one , i ‘ll pick one randomly : it’ s an image of one of the most crowded beaches of Crete in the summer, i took it on a February day that i found 2 people burning reeds and palm tree leaves there. Together with some other similar images, this is an image expressing my anger against the way my island is advertised & sold behind a mentality of quick summer profit.

F-Stop: What photographers or other artists inspire you?
Directors : Sam Peckinpah, Akira Kurosawa & Luis Bunuel
Painters : Fransisco Goya , Max Ernst
Photographers : Weegee, Diane Arbus, Mark Cohen, Cristobal Hara


To see more of Charalampos Kydonakis’ work visit the current Portfolio 2019 issue or visit dirtyharrry.com


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