Monday, March 19, 2007

From Europe to another Europe

It has been a long journey by all means. The landscape passes by my window but for ends on it remains the same, or familiar at least. Some road signs and billboards remind me of a change not integral but of a different language and a different country. I am not in Greece. Confused in the beginning as I try to read the signs, but excited to be for the first time to these parts of the world with all their historical significance that it has become almost mythical for the last decades.
Skopje for some, F.Y.R.O.M. for others and Macedonia for the rest of the world.

We move from place to place in reconaissance, or in other words to find out about the people and the country. To put the pazzle together. From the ethnic Greeks, to the ethnic Albanians, the Roma, and the indigenous? peoples that comprise the country, we move in a frenzy. There is so much there and there is always so little time. I find it difficult to comprehend all the political differences between them and my country, I am not aware or interested in such things as national identity.

In fact I feel unconfortable. Like there is a force that keeps me or prohibit me to be able to call it one name or the other. There is a preconceived idea from our part, and it is true from theirs too. But this is not the point. and as I have mentioned and I will again, borders interest me in a deeper way. Not the flag, not so much the geography, but the culture and the force that is inbetween.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

In the dungeon and other thoughts...

I am spending hours in front of the screen editing and hours in the dark where like a mad man I am trying to master the negative and give the photograph a life of its own, the way I have perceived it. It is time consuming but unlike the digital it has a sensual way of feeling the material. You have learned how it responds, what it takes to make it your own. It still fascinates me. Struggling with time. I wish the day was 48 hours and we lived two lives but then I know that I have to do with what we have.

Work, and for what I am speaking about, dreams. Hard to compromise, and hard to fit them in one pocket. In the morning running to deliver and do "lifestyle" sort of reportage, and in the nights living in another world. I am torn... But there is a goal, a target. I should not be complaining. But then complaining about the right sort of things makes our world moving and better?
I am never satisfied and always want more of life myself and everything.

Back to the rainy road again. Its getting colder here, I hope it snows. I want to go back north.... Delivering pics, work and meeting with loving friends in the eve before I close myself again to the lovely dungeons as I like to call it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"You will fall in love again. Love is a recurring thing, mate" he old him as he was about to turn his back to him. "No, Love comes only once and it won't happen to me again." He left with tears in his eyes, while her body lay on the naked dark wooden floorboard of the living room.
There is a river that flows underneath our skin with myriads of ofshoots, a mystic river that carries away our senses and feelings in dark corners of our body, and defines our selfs. I don't think there is anything you can do to avoid the stream of life. We are being taught how to die but we do not know how to live. To make the most of it.
Darkness and light the two oposite poles in which life vibrates.
I remember from somewhere "Our bodies that interwine with each other is the world. Not the one made by maps".

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Return from the ashes

I am back to the dungeon and to the light table trying to decide on the photographs that tell the story.
I have been photographing all week the lives of the people of Ptolemaida, the Coal people as I like to call them,
as their lives are interwined with the mines that surround them. Ptolemaida is a huge area with mines and Power stations that produce almost 60% of the electricity in Greece. It is a haevilly polluted area, and when it is sunny or windy my God you don't want to be around.
Your eyes hurt and tears are coming out. Your lungs feel heavy and you hear the wistle on your chest as the air tries to get down your lungs. Mud, and dust are everywhere and the black dust of the mines covers everything for kilometers away.
But that there is something I love about the area and its people. On one it's the mines with their monumental size that you feel so small and looking at the open cast mines you can feel the wounds on the Earth. It hurts you as if it is your own body that somedy has attack you and scrathed your skin and down more to the bone. And on the other it is a space that i would rather be on my own there. It is almost surreal to think that for miles away there is no unscathed earth and your eye can rest heavilly on the depth of the earth.
I drive for days on through a desolate landscape meeting people that despite their condition they have remained human to the bone. I am wondering what is it that makes them stay and live and grow their children in such a god forsaken place?
I am trying to find out for all the aesthetics and I am all in for it, but I still cannot comprehend how necessity has brought these people to endure this.
I will go back. It is not enough.

View the gallery

Thursday, February 1, 2007

John G. Morris

Hangover in early morning Plaka, on assignment to photograph The very much Mr. Morris. My head is about to burst. I wait in lounge during the interview and wonder how I am going to bring myself to photograph this historical figure in photography. He has been around and has rubbed shoulders with most of the finest photographers of our time. He knows his stuff. My knees are about to give up, and my hands are shaking. Too much coffee to keep me going and the stress! I hate these moments of insecurity. I listen to him telling stories about Magnum, and Life and I am trying to see him through. I observe. But as always I dont know what I want. Hopefully I think to myself the opportune picture will present itself. He is kind and agrees to walk with me to find the picture. I am grateful.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A dark day

Waking up in a strange mood, as if I have been sleepwalking all night and images cut through my vision of past things or dreams? Lost in thoughts puffing at the morning's cigarette, and sipping my coffee with the sun creeping in from my half closed window. There s life out there, it crosses my mind but whats for me? It is one of those moments in the day that I do not feel anything but a loss. To express it in words or even in pictures how is it possible?
When I photograph I feel alive and its like a drag. I want more, I need more. To get away, to break free from complacencies that stupify my being. To learn and explore and play like there is no adulthood in me. Like when I hold the camera and everything is transformed.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A walk by the bridge

I am in Istanbul with the actor Takis Chrisikakos, I used to watch films of him and felt obliged to take some pictures of him. It was my own assignment; I could do what ever I wanted to. I always like to spend time with my subjects, getting to know them and understand them or even built an image that I have in my mind of them, and how I perceive them. I want to go deeper, to scratch the surface. I am not interested in the stylish glamorous portraits that most magazines require. He was happy to do it. I was surprised as most of the people working in the arts are very conscious of their image and how they will portrayed in the media. We walked and I looked for the light. I asked him to act for me, and pretend I was not there.....

The Greeks

We visit a greek's school lunch time. The children run happy in the big old room that functions as a dinning room, playing and teasing each other in their school uniforms. They travel me decades past in the 50's when life was different, simpler, maybe. There is a nostalgia in the air, maybe for my childhood.

Grey Wolves

Young members of the Turkish Nationalist Party "Grey Wolves"

In the night I visit the notorious Grey Wolves organisation in Istanbul. I find them suspiciously open and inviting. Nevertheless, happy to enter in their domain, I drink many teas and listen to their doctrine at length, until my moment arrives. With very little at hand I am rying to capture the atmosphere. Kemal is looking at you from every corner in every room. I feel like getting out of there. The rooms too small and the ceiling too low. Always felt a fascination for symbols and decorum, maybe because I dislike them in my life. This time time felt scared

Instanbul should learn from me

Ara Guler, Photographer, Istanbul

A great guy, too old but much too witty. And a great photographer too. Talked for hours and listened to his stories and saw his work. Inspiring time in Istabul. Makes you go out and capture the city with your camera. Long live Ara.