Interview with 2017 International Series winner Haris Panagiotakopoulos
Based in Heraklion (Greece), Haris Panagiotakopoulos is a Greek photographer, winner of the international series prize of the BSPF 2017. He has been a finalist in other well-known international street photography festivals such as Eastreet, Miami Street Photography Festival, Fotoura Street Photography and Photometria. He is currently working on two new projects: a ‘sci-fi’ series and a series about faith and religion.
A long trip to the USA pushed you to follow photo courses and learn more about the technique of photography. How would you define your methodology?
I am an instinct photographer, with no methodology and no plans: just shoot, shoot and shoot. I shoot mainly in the place I live, generally on the island of Crete. I have also visited Turkey several times, but even if I love the country I can’t say that I am very happy with the pictures I brought back.
What does Greece offer you as a photographer?
In general, I believe that street photography can be done anywhere and a good photo does not depend on the place nor the time. Of course, Greece offers me a great light (or a terrible sun depending what you look for) and, in my opinion, is a very surrealistic country.
How do you work with series such as “You Always Walk Alone,” winner of the International Series Prize BSPF '17?
From my perspective, a photography series is a body of work in which every single photography is related to the rest. There are many ways in which they can be related and the more ways, the stronger the series is. My series are born from my pictures and not the opposite. When I notice that I have in my computer a body of work with common meanings, common atmosphere, etc. then sometimes I decide to work on it a little bit more looking for a new series.
Could you please tell us the story behind the winning series?
This series of photos titled “You Always Walk Alone” was created “accidentally”. By observing on my pc my images I found that in some of them there were common elements, common meanings and a common atmosphere. I realized that from since 2010 when I was involved with photography, I was trying either to avoid crowded places, or more often I was trying to isolate the human element in them, highlighting loneliness of each of us even when we are between hundreds of other people. I had a lot of photographic difficulties in this “project” and countless failures, but the few times I made it, the pictures touched me.
Which experiences did you gain by participating at the BSPF '17?
Winning BSPF was a great surprise and recognition for me, and the cash prize was also important as I was able to upgrade my equipment.