Interviews with worldwide photographers www.moments-collective.
How did you get started in photography, and what drew you to street photography
First of all, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my work and unveil my thoughts about photography. I’m involved in photography for the last 10 years. For me it was a revelation, not only regarding the Art of Photography but about myself. I began to make photographs in order to decode the strange world that we are living and of course that of myself. I was seeking for something real, a truly important moment in an ordinary minute, so nothing interests me more than street photography, even if it is getting many legal restrictions nowadays. It became a challenge; it’s the art of observation, as the famous photographer Elliot Smith Said, because it’s not what you see but what you make others see and feel about the life around you.
Can you tell us about your experience as an Official Fujifilm X-Photographer? How
did you become involved with Fujifilm, and what kind of opportunities has it
provided for you?
I’m an official Fujifilm x-photographer since 2016. I made my first photo project, called “Hidden Reflections”, in Copenhagen Denmark using the Fujifilm XT1. It contains images after the rain with reflections on the water at the streets. Some of these pictures won at Fujifilm’s 5th Anniversary competition, then I started to show more and more of my work with my Fujifilm cameras and I became official Fujifilm Photographer. It’s a beautiful experience and honor to be part of this big family of Fujifilm x-photographers around the world. We all know Fujifilm, is one of the biggest and oldest camera brands. I have been able to show my work worldwide through Fujifilm’s website and in Greece I have given many talks as also made solo exhibitions with the support of Fujifilm Hellas which is very important.
What do you think sets Fujifilm cameras apart from other camera brands, and how
does this influence your photography?
Through my camera I started exploring the world. It’s very important to love your camera and the camera to be suited to your needs in order to be creative. My camera inspired me and that’s very important. But there are many other reasons that I choose Fujifilm’s cameras. One of them is the retro style cameras combined with a small body. All the dials above the body of the camera and the customized buttons made me be faster, something very important to my workflow at the streets. Also, the small and sharp fast lenses led my experience to another level. I think once you touch a Fujifilm Camera of the X-series you fall in love with them and you can’t go back.
Can you walk us through your process when you go out to shoot on the streets?
How do you choose your subjects and compose your shots?
The process could be simple like putting my shoes on, taking an empty sd card and few batteries alongside with my camera and go out, but it’s something more, maybe an inner preparation. For example, it is about the decision you take before you go out the streets and shoot. It’s about how you feel, what you want to investigate. Then, I select the place that I want to visit and start taking shoots. The subjects that I’m choosing while I’m making street photography are a reflection of myself and my thoughts. I care about the people and their lives so I’m trying to feel them first and then I raise my camera on them, by composing and shooting. The composition is happening within some milliseconds, it depends on the story I want to tell and create to the viewers’ eyes in combination with the things around me.
Your recent exhibition, "A Place Among Them," featured a series of street
photographs. Can you tell us about the themes and concepts that inspired this
collection, and how you went about curating the final selection of images?
“A Place Among Them” is a photographic project which I completed during the last 8 years, in 8 countries, using 8 different Fujifilm Cameras. Through the photographic image, I explore human conditions that are often contradictory, such us solitude and loneliness, which we all may have experienced at some point in life and every individual is able to decode them in their own way. I started as an unseen observer wandering around many cities in these
countries: Denmark, Greece, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Spain and Portugal. I was walking countless hours, discovering new places and people of different cultures through street photography.
By focusing on small events of daily living, I aimed at revealing the human aspects within the trivial yet valuable escapes of life, as I experience them around me and as they might go unnoticed by others. This project includes images we see for just an instant but are eventually captured and reflected on our life’s “wall” affecting our psyche in the
Alexander Voutsas was the curator and George Koutsouvelis did the photo-editing. The huge support of Alexander and George for the last 3 years made me achieve this great final result, it was a combination of experience and work. “A Place Among Them” is also my first photobook, which I realized with the sponsorship of Fujifilm Hellas last December in a edition of 500 copies.
In addition to your photography, you also lead street photography workshops
called "Spontaneous Shooters." Can you tell us about your approach to teaching
and what participants can expect to gain from these workshops?
For me photography is all about action and practice. I’m running small-groups street photography workshops around the city with my team “Spontaneous shooters” in order to give participants’ the inspiration while they discover new skills in street photography. Whether you are a beginner looking for step-by-step instruction or an experienced photographer looking to expand your abilities, you can take your skills to new level and gain confidence in photographing everything around you, something very important in this kind of photography.
You also collaborated with TAF to organize art therapy workshops alongside your
exhibition. What inspired this collaboration, and how do you see photography and
art therapy intersecting?
Photography and visual art are connected on a profound level. Τhe person involved in arts brings to the surface and makes visible his personal artistic perspective. The way I interact with photography through my projects, has perspective. I invited the visitors of my excibition into a conversation with the image and the aim of imagining and engaging with it’s environment, the feeling of the moment. The visual art and visual therapy workshops in the context of my exhibition were precisely this purpose, For the participants to get the maximum experience by visiting the exhibition. The participants elaborated through photography and visual art the place of art within themselves and explored the limits of their personal creation. The coordinators of the workshops, Mrs Katerina Nasia Ramantani and Mrs Anastasia Voutsa organize art psychotherapy workshops in their private space as well as in collaboration with important structures and agencies that promote mental health.
Can you tell us about a particularly memorable or challenging experience you've
had while shooting on the streets?
Every photo walk is an experience for me. As I already mentioned above, it’s an inner talk with myself. Even if I don’t find something special to photograph, I enjoy the process. But if I have to mention one thing, it will be the people in Havana, Cuba. The way they live and their personality left me a strong impression. There were many times when I was standing in the middle of the road gazing the city with many cars passing by around me. Sometimes I was in danger, but I didn’t care, I felt like lost in a paradise.
How has your photography evolved over time, and where do you see it going in
I think Photography is a journey to yourself. It never ends. Every person changes through time, the same happens to your photography and that’s very interesting. I continue learning every time I pick up my camera. The places I go, the people I meet, the experiences that I gain by walking many kilometers per day. It’s not a secret, it’s practice and the need to express myself, a spiritual elevation. I have no plans about the future, I keep dreaming, keep walking and photographing. I’m free to myself.
What advice would you give to aspiring street photographers, and what resources
or communities would you recommend they explore to develop their craft?
Practice, practice, practice. A small camera and a good pair of shoes.
There are many interesting communities around the internet that someone can get inspiration, such us the following hubs at the Instagram: @dreaminstreets, @bnw_demand and many more.
Fujifilm x-Photographer Profile:
All photos belongs to @Andreas Kamoutsis
Interview with moments collective director
Saeed Al Sharbati @2023