Tell me, Kostis, how did you get into photography, and street photography specifically?
When I was young I had a small camera, and I took lots of snapshots. Later on, I met Stratos Kalafatis and through him I learned photography. I decided to go to photography school (ESP) and was welcomed with a scholarship. I was always excited about the liberating feeling of walking like a flaneur in a city, doing nothing useful in particular, nothing except taking photos, copying real life, regenerating the sleeping beauty and power of the city. As soon as you close your door you start seeing the life, the life of others. This is what I like.
Where do you live and what do you enjoy most about shooting the streets there?
I live in the second biggest city of Greece, Thessaloniki. I enjoy the fact that I love to hate this city. It’s my hometown so I get emotionally involved while taking pictures. It is in this city’s past that I grew up and this city is changing, like me.
You’ve said that your street photography is a way for you to create your own universe where you can exist comfortably. What do you mean by that?
Street photography is kind of the life of others but with you in the director’s seat. It is like a movie in which you collect the frames, putting things together and putting things apart. Street photography has a lot of options and the frames are endless. You have the oportunity to create a story, to make a poem with your camera. Everything is out there.
Are there any photographers or artists you admire that influence your work?
I love Daido Moriyama, Joel Sternfeld, Jacob Aue Sobol, Williiam Enggleston, Alec Soth, Walker Evans, Andreas Gursky, Wim Wenders, Antoine D’Agata, Fred Herzog, Nan Goldin and many, many more.
What do you hope people see in your photographs?
I hope that people enjoy the photographs and I hope that they see that everything is magical.
What has been your biggest challenge with street photography and how have you overcome it?
Like everyone else, I had trouble picking up the camera with people facing me. But then I thought, “I am not doing anything wrong and I respect them. I’m just trying to create a good image.” So, I decided that this is ok and then I made a leap of faith.
What is your most memorable moment or photo from street photography?
I think the moment when you return home after a long day shooting is the sweetest feeling. That strong feeling that you did your best, or at least you tried. After one of those days, I sleep like a baby.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a street photographer?
Shoot, don’t think. Think afterwards.
Editor’s Note: See more of Kostis’ work on his website. If you would like to be featured in a Street Photography Magazine interview, join our Flickr group (Street Photography Magazine), where we regularly choose photographers’ work to be published in the magazine.