One cannot simply resist these photographs, an ordinance out of the extraordinary. Typical artistic approach to the enduring street photography by this greek photographer Stavros Stamatiou. Every Pictures spells the words of silence while there also exists a constant chirp of buzzing, some unknown lives and numerous hindrances. These photographs reflect the vision of Stavros and his valuable recovery towards solitude, silence, loneliness or a muted melancholy.
Feel for yourself as you slowly watch through this section of pictures where you can touch both the banks of street and art genre. To be frank and needless to say this, try not to segregate these photographs to fall inside any category, just a simple gaze would do the needful.
Few words about Stavros Stamatiou?
I am an amateur photographer, currently living in Perea- a suburb of Thessaloniki, Greece. Though I am in love with photography since i was young, I feel as a newbie: still learning things, still seeing the world with the eyes of a child.
How did Photography happen to you in first place?
I started taking pictures in order to “keep” moments, as most people do, but at the same time I connected photography with art. I was mostly attracted by b/w photography, so eventually I bought the equipment and I set my own darkroom. Some years ago, after my analog camera was stolen, I thought it was time to make the transition from film to digital. That was a turning point to me, along with the fact that by that time the internet gave me the opportunity to study the work of many great photographers.
Your take on Contemporary Street Photography?
I don’t consider myself a street photographer. I do street, but it is only one of the aspects that I am interested in. I love street photography because it keeps me alert, because I deeply enjoy observing people’s reactions, especially attracted to the surrealism of everyday life, and because out there “the unpredictable occurs” – to use the words of J. Meyerowitz. My influences come mostly from “classic street” photographers, yet I also find myself attracted to contemporary street photographers that I admire. Old and new meddle into my photography I suppose.
How do you approach people in the street?
When I am in the street , I try to be invisible- not to everybody, but to the people that I am interested in. I do not mind if they understand my presence afterwards, as long as I have taken the photo. The people’s reactions are so different if they sense a camera pointing in their direction- it spoils everything. I need a piece of their truth in order to make mine.
There is a typical blend of art and street in your pictures. How do you go about it?
Whatever I shoot is filtered through my aesthetics which has been developed through my involvement with visual arts, such as painting and movies. I have been studying art history and I guess that this always finds a way to get into my photographs. On the other hand, the “street” mentality is present in most of my pictures. A landscape or a cityscape are so fluid and ephemeral that I feel they can only be approached in the terms of street photography. A cloud can be transfigured or moved away within a minute, a graffiti on the wall or an armchair in a field might not be there the following day. This is the reason that keeps me wandering in the same places, hoping that a new scenery will be revealed in front of me, waiting to be captured. And when it happens, it makes me feel great!
When out there with your camera, what do you often look for or what is that something which makes you press the shutter?
The bizarre, the surreal, the hidden, the poetry of everyday life … When I am out there, I just keep my mind open and my eyes sharpened. I like to wander with no purpose, without a plan. “All things are photographable” said G. Winogrand, and this is a motto that suits me. We often speak about the hours of the day that are mostly preferable for taking pictures. I believe that every subject has it’s own “perfect” time, it may be early morning, noon, or even night- with or without flash. When I find an interesting theme that needs a different light handling, I return again and again, until I get the best of it.
What is a good photograph and what does it take to produce one?
A “good photograph” can be the one that has an interesting theme and it is taken and composed in a way that its theme is properly served. A great photo on the other hand, is the one that manages to be imprinted into people’s mind.
Life itself is an inspiration. The light –and the way it treats everything around me- is an inspiration. I am a pure/straight photographer. I choose among the materials that reality provides me those ones that can be used to create my own reality, my photographic world. After all photography is a lie, the photographer’s lie, and it can only speak about him.
After the Pentax K10d I bought a Pentax K30d, with a 18-55 mm lens. A reliable machine and suitable for the kind of photography I do.
Your future goals and ambitions?
I am thinking of publishing some of my photos in conjunction with a solo exhibition.
Any final thoughts or words of advice for our young aspirants in this field?
Talent is great, studying is useful, practicing is everything… ”
Click on the image for better and enlarged view.
You can find Stavros Stamatiou on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Stavros Stamatiou. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.