Tolis Chatzignatiou is a documentary photographer from Athens, Greece. He got interested in painting since childhood and he started photography in 2005. From 2010 he exclusively focuses on photography.
In his words about the calmness in his photographs “Photography is the silent testament and awareness that time and words restrain us into reality. Sometimes, the best way to obtain reality is to exceed it. The one thing that fascinates me the most, is the intense feeling of silent consuming ourselves, the deep stage in a featureless expression, just before the transformation changes everything.”
Thanks, Tolis for accepting our invite. Please read on…
Hi Tolis, thank you for joining us here today! First of all, Could you please introduce yourself?
Hi and thanks for the invitation. My name is Tolis Chatzignatiou and I was born in Athens, Greece, where I still live and work.
When did you start shooting and how did this love for photography happen?
I have been interested in it – along with painting- since childhood, but I became involved with photography in a more significant way in 2005, while I was working as a graphic designer. In the year 2010, I decided to exclusively focus on photography.
How did you describe your style of photography?
It is my belief that when an artist aims for a specific style, he restricts himself in so many possible ways. As a human, we are evolving, improving and shaping up through time. We stay in character, but at the same time, we become something different. Maybe into a mature version of ourselves. Those inner changes grow influence on my work.
There are silence and calmness in your photographs. Few words about that?
Photography is the silent testament and awareness that time and words restrain us into reality. Sometimes, the best way to obtain reality is to exceed it. The one thing that fascinates me the most, is the intense feeling of silent consuming ourselves, the deep stage in a featureless expression, just before the transformation changes everything.
Few words about your exhibitions and publications?
Apart from my personal projects, I am an active member of the «Common
Routes» team and the «Diadromes» School of Photography, organizing many photography seminars, workshops, and exhibitions in Athens and abroad.
What is that you have adhered and learned through photography over the years?
I find interesting the human reactions cause by our deep conscious or unconscious worries. The way we perceive ourselves in relation to the rest of the world influences our behaviors and our beliefs. Photography and art, in general, is a way to expose and face our human weakness.
What is a good photograph for you?
I don’t know what makes a “good” photograph, in the literal term of the word. For me, the feeling of being moved by a work of art, this transformative experience is what photography is constantly seeking.
What do you do to keep motivated, and not lose your passion for photography?
Traveling is my way of escaping everyday life, where the habit changes us. While being in travel, I get tuned with myself and the creative silence that comes with.
Any favorite photography books?
“Sculpting in Time” is a book by Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, that I reread over and over again. It’s a book not for photography, but a way to approach art.
What is your favorite motto?
“Reality is good, interesting is better”
Thanks again for providing 121 Clicks with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
As a final thought here are some words of Anders Petersen, which I find very inspiring…
“When you are older, people expect you to know how things are. But the truth is you don’t know at all. The more you know the less you know. When I was younger, I knew everything.”
My advice to younger photographers is not to be a photographer but to be a human. It is about you: your emotions, experiences, and knowledge. The camera is just a tool. So find a language with your own distinct smell. It is important to be weak enough to feel and innocent enough to enter the confusion.
You can find Tolis Chatzignatiou on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Tolis Chatzignatiou. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.