One of the best things of blogging is the opportunity of meeting great artist and, like this time, really talking to them. Konstantinos Vasilakis is a great landscape photographer that uses light in an incredible way. His photos are just like dreams because they have a very surreal look. It´s a work that has a peaceful and calm feeling. Check out his DeviantArt and his site.I hope you enjoy his works and the interview 🙂
That´s my last post before carnaval, a brazilian one week holiday. So I´ll only post again two weeks from now, because I´ll travel tomorrow 🙂
Thanks for the opportunity of talking to you. So, first tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, how old are you?
My name is Konstantinos Vasilakis but most people on the net know me as Kozy Wozy. It ´s a nickname that stuck with me since my student years. I´m 31 years old, born and raised in Athens Greece. I have a graduate degree in Civil Engineering along with two postgraduate degrees in that field. I work in the construction business and try to balance my time between work and landscape photography which is my favorite passion.
What made you become a photographer and how did you start your career?
I was always interested in that little box called “a camera”! My first encounter with one was when I was young and I demolished my grandfather’s ZENIT just to see what was inside and how it worked. Needles to tell you that he wasn’t very pleased with this. Throughout the years I was experimenting a lot with a NIKON FE, a very simple 35mm SLR camera that suited my needs perfectly. It was then when I really learned about concepts like aperture, exposure, depth of field and so on. Unfortunately my financial condition as a teen and later on as a student didn’t allow me to experiment a lot since back at the film days. It was rather expensive to buy and develop coloured film. Besides the difficulties the ability to capture a moment in time forever has never left my side since the beginning and was the driving force to continue to learn and improve. Come the digital era things became much easier. My learning curve was much steeper since I was able to view the results on the LCD of my camera. Then they all came down like an avalanche more or less. The more I learned the better I became, the better I became the more I wanted to learn. It is a never ending process and I still consider myself a novice photographer instead of an accomplished one. As far as my career is concerned I don’t categorize myself as a professional photographer and I am not sure I want to be either. Photography is a passion, it isn’t my main source of income and I don’t want it to be either. I don’t want it to become a money making process but stick to the art making process. Of course the occasional sale of my works is a wonderful feeling not for the money it puts in the register but for the appreciation that people express for my work.
Why do you like so much landscapes ?
I blame my country for that. Being born in a megalopolis restricted my nature experiences to when we were visiting my grandparents at the north western part of Greece in Epirus. It´s a mountainous region full of scenic places and beauty. The freedom I always felt there was imprinted deep in my mind and as I grew up first chance I’d get I made the trip up north to enjoy the countryside and the fresh air. Epirus was my first playground but like I said Greece is a wonderful place and combines loads of things in a small package. High mountains, immense coastlines, rivers valleys gorges, islands you name it. City life never interested me, my mind was always out there in the fields, walking and exploring alone, in tune with the elements. The more I familiarized myself with a place the more I wanted to take it with me back home into my concrete jungle called Athens and photography was the only art I knew how to use to achieve that. For me landscapes are a window to my dreams and I guess this is why I love them so much.
Can you describe your working process?
The first thing I do when I arrive at a shooting location is to get to know the place and try to learn its secrets. I will not take the camera out of my backpack unless I feel comfortable in the environment I am in. After I find my point of interest the second thing I do is try to understand how the light interacts with the scene and which time complements it more in order to take the photograph. Third and last thing I do is some more walking around the scene trying to find my main composition but also for some alternatives. The reason I do this, especially when I am at a place I am not familiar with, is because most of the time our first approach is wrong, our second and third too. Some of my personal favorite photographs came from taking a shot with a composition I thought it worked well on first sight, examining what doesn’t fit or feel right and work my way around to a composition that is more satisfactory to the feeling I wanted to create. I always know what I want to achieve beforehand and I will not set up my camera before I visualize the photograph first in my mind. The results though are always surprising sometimes a good surprise sometimes a not so good one. The camera depending on the lens can “outsmart” the human eye, it has a different view on things and the
results are if not surprising surely fascinating.
Which camera adjustments do you use the most?
I always set my camera to manual control. It provides me the flexibility I need to be as creative as I want. In general the governing factor for my photographs is the aperture value for controlling depth of field but I may occasionally switch to shutter priority if I want to capture a fast moving subject like a bird. My preferred metering mode is “Matrix” and I always keep the ISO values to their lowest setting to minimize noise levels. In the majority of cases I use Auto-focus because I trust my camera but there are times where I make some manual focus fine tuning. My best friend is my tripod; I never leave home without it.
How often do you take photos?
Not as often as I would want to. Unfortunately my work keeps me in Athens for long periods of time so I try to make the most out of the holidays or the occasional long weekend. When I do get the chance though I am as focused as I can be, moving all the time at odd hours for two or three weeks non stop trying to make the best out of the limited time I have.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are simple. I want to keep enjoying what I am doing for as long as I keep on doing it. If some sort of recognition comes in that process it will be welcomed but I don’t strive for it. I just wish I have enough time and sufficient money to see all the wonderful places that exist in this world. Greece is just the beginning of my “trip”
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