Today, it is my pleasure to introduce to you Sotiris Tsakanikas, a destination, fine art photographer from Greece. I have had the please to feature Sotiris’s work on two of my website themes and am always in awe of the work he produces, which leads to our topic of conversation, fine art photography. It’s a pretty broad topic but maybe we can start broad and dive a little deeper after a few questions.
First off, thank you Sotiris for letting me interview you, and thank you for sharing your insight to the readers about a topic and word widely used in our industry. With that said, let’s start the interview!
“Find your voice and take the words it speaks very seriously. No one else is you and that is your key.”
In your opinion, what does ‘Fine Art Photography’ mean to you?
Definition-wise Fine Art Photography is a rather elusive term. Form, artistic composition, light, and point of view are variables that certainly matter in the emotion, the idea or the message an artist wishes to convey. To me, it is about having a creative vision that channels all these elements in a specific mien.
It’s interesting that you mentioned ‘having a creative vision’. Do you feel that fine art photography is first and foremost about the photographer capturing what the photographer sees and not documenting what the camera sees?
I do. If it wasn’t for the individual approach we’d only have one school of photography. Funny thing is, we don’t move into a specific school, we are born that way. We should follow what we were born to see.
Would you consider yourself a fine art photographer?
I consider myself a Greek fine art photographer, the operative word here being my origin as we always carry our history (and that of our country) in the images we create.
Do you feel that ‘fine art’ is more of a look or do you feel it’s more of a feeling in your photos?
To some, it is the first, to others the latter. Personally, I believe it is a hybrid of both, we only have to find our own “specific school” to work with stability, effectiveness, and comfort.
Do you shoot film? How did you start?
I was raised in a time where the dark room held as much thrill as the big screen. So it’s a yes! But I also shoot digital. I learned photography shooting film, so I never really gave it up. Old habits die hard. Occasionally they become more than just habits, they become part of who the photographer really is. I’m very fond of my prime lenses and digital equipment but my fascination for analog burns bright.
What is one or two things that you would say helped you become the photographer that you are today?
I’m a Greek so do allow me 3 (it is our number) :
One, that I never ran to win the race, rather to reach the finish line.
Two, the understanding that personal and family life seem to define and constantly stir up my work.
Three that I’m made of a particular paste which always comes out in my work. To find what that “paste” meant exactly I just had to take the journey, one I still don’t hesitate taking.
What is one thing that you would encourage aspiring fine art photographers to help them find success?
Find your voice and take the words it speaks very seriously. No one else is you and that is your key.
What has been inspiring you lately?
I risk sounding like an old guy but I’d have to say integrity and credence. Amazing how motivating is their combination. Over here we have one word for it: we call it “leventià”.
What have you been listening to lately?
I love Greek music and my favourite composer is Giannis Markopoulos.
Favorite place to shoot?
I’m definitely not a National Geographic photographer and I’m not biased, each destination carries its own unique imprint of charm for me but I do love milky natural light.
Favorite place to just be?
Is heart a place?
Anything else you would like to say or leave the readers with?
Embrace the “very” but rather avoid the very modest.