Thanks for talking with us Betty! Tell me, how did you get started with photography? And how did you discover street photography?
I’ve always been interested in photography growing up, from when I used to always borrow my brother’s camera in grade school. I became really interested in photography when a good friend of mine from Britain – who is a great black and white photographer – introduced me to the medium. That autumn we went on a photo shoot to Dartmoor in southern Devon, England. That was it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the beginning of what would become an obsession. I’ve hardly put down my camera since.
I’ve always been inspired and energized by the world around me. And I feel the urge to take up the responsibility to document and preserve what time steals but photographs can save. For me, street photography is a great means to document urban life, tangible and intangible elements of a city, individuals or crowds in the street, and tell the stories of random people behind the shapes and patterns of a particular place and moment in time. To me, street photography is a difficult photographic genre. A lot of thought needs to be put into what to include or not in the frame in a split second.
On your website you describe street photography as “ultimately liberating”. Why do you feel that way?
Street photography is literally my creative outlet. In my mind, I was going to be a professional movie director, but I’ve realized now that visual art is that creative outlet for me. Walking the streets, it gets me to my calm place. Street photography makes me feel more peaceful. It also has helped me to see the world through more appreciative eyes and to step outside of my comfort zone. The relaxation of going out shooting pictures of the street life; it gives me an escape from tiring life issues in general. Thus it’s liberating.
I read your biggest influences are Daido Moriyama and films. How do these sources of inspiration affect your work?
Moriyama’s high contrast work and film noir always inspired me. I unconsciously bring these influences into my photography to create a style which is emotively dramatic, mysterious and insightful.
It makes me happy when my pictures have the ability to convey stories, intrigue and leave people imagining what is going on behind the photograph.
Where do you live and what do you love about your city? What aspects of your city do you try to capture in your street photography?
I’m currently residing in Athens, Greece. Where to start? I’ll try to be as objective as possible. Athens has many qualities like beauty, recreational opportunities, and social openness. It’s a vivid metropolis in Europe. The famous bright blue sky of Attica – even in January – bright sunshine, crystal-clear waters just a 30 minute drive away from the center of the city. Accessibility to magnificent little islands – just 40 minutes from the Port of Piraeus. A mixture of people, history, culture, architecture, and food. Most of all, being able to live and walk beside the Acropolis and the historical center of the city.
I try to capture the essence of the city through its people. Hidden patterns, instants, human emotion, interesting characters I encounter while exploring the streets. Oftentimes, I try to avoid busy urban spaces. My areas of focus include human rights, inequality, immigration.
When I looked at this feature I loved your color work. Very vibrant and an interesting (though subtle) shift in style. What moved you to start doing color images and how has this affected your street photography?
While I love the black and white approach in street photography – particularly in fine art photography – I feel that color works so differently than black and white does. Color is everywhere. It forces you to look differently. Most importantly you can use a spectrum of colors to bring an image to life.
To me, many of your images have a dream-like quality. When I look at them, they give me that nostalgic, mysterious and sometimes confused feeling you have in dreams. Is this effect intentional?
Oh, your interpretation is spot on! I’ve always loved the dream-like quality in photographs. It makes me happy when my work reflects that nostalgic, mysterious look. But it’s definitely unintentional. I just express myself and emotions through my art.
What’s your favorite image you’ve taken and why?
I find it very difficult to pick an all time favorite image. Let me echo Imogen Cunningham’s saying: “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow”.
What’s your most memorable moment in street photography?
The day I shot a photo of a beggar boy and an old man. I was walking the streets looking for inspiration when a boy beggar approached me and asked me for money. I gave him some food instead. Suddenly, an old man who was standing there exclaimed in a funny way. “Say thanks to the lady!” Couldn’t help but chuckle. That photo titled “Say Thanks to the Lady!” has been awarded in Street, People category of the One Shot Street Competition IPA – International Photography Awards 2019.
Do you have any upcoming projects and/or future goals you’d like to share with our readers?
My future goals? Photography goals are very important. Here are some of my goals I set myself this year:
- To travel more.
- To upgrade my gear.
- To meet like-minded people through photo walks.
- To write a photography book about my experience and the lessons I learned along the way for beginners.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on street photography with us Betty. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.