by Editor Yvette Depaepe
For Chris Kaddas, photography is a silent and permanent companion. Through his images he depicts nature's magic. He considers it as a living being that breathes and changes continuously. He shows not only what the eye sees but the quintessence and living soul of the landscapes themselves (or how he perceives them). Let us accompany him to his favourite places and learn more about this amazing photographer through this interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I was born and raised in Athens, Hellas. I studied conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art. Since my childhood Ι loved outdoor activities and mountains in particular such as trekking, mountaineering and snowboarding. But at the same time, I also enjoyed a lot painting and making my own music. In 2008, I finally was introduced to photography and started my self-taught course.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
I spent some of my childhood years and almost all of my summer and school holidays in my father's village located at the foothills of the imposing Vardousia mountain range. I had the chance to observe closely and repeatedly the transformation of the sceneries according to weather seasons. My love for nature was leading me often to wander around seeking places where I could walk, relax and quietly observe. That's the reason why too many pictures and emotions have been stored in my mind, waiting to be released in some way. I felt that the right time was coming to express them through photography in 2008.
When I began to be seriously involved with photography, I often used it as an excuse to be outdoors close to nature. Later on, I met my future wife who shares the same passion for landscape photography (I'm too lucky!! :). She encourages and supports me and I always ask her opinion about the final result of my works.
What first attracted you to photography?
When I saw landscape photographs, I was deeply impressed by the way one can depict so accurately yet with such a personal and creative way an existing scenery. For a loner as I was, photography was ideal to become my silent and permanent companion with who I could share the sweet loneliness of the mountains.
Through my images, I could depict nature's magic, the soul of places but it also was an opportunity to explore even more all the aspects of the mountains.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
As long as I remember, I expressed myself in different ways without words such as music, painting and handicraft arts. In my mind, I identify memories, experiences and people by a smell or by music. I experience nature as a living being that breathes and changes. When I'm surrounded by it, I try to low down my inner voice so that I can hear the secret note that everything whispers . Through my images I try to depict not what my eyes see, but the quintessence, the living soul of the landscape itself (or how I perceive it).
Why are you so drawn by landscape photography?
Since the very beginning, landscape photography caught my absolute interest because it combines all the things that I I love the most: nature, travelling, the different weather conditions or light light that continuously transform the sceneries and revealing many different aspects.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
I strongly believe that both are necessary elements in landscape photography. The ideal conditions are not enough to result in a really good shot. Inspiration and technical perfection are both needed in order to render the utmost result. Yet if I had to choose between an image with a wonderful mood which awakes emotions but with technical shortages and one with technical excellency but poor mood, I would definitely choose the first one.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer? Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
My most needed tool before visiting a place is a good map which I consulted in order to know which locations I'll visit. I'm always aware of weather forecasts and my purpose is to be there early enough to explore and detect the right location to be able to take the picture that I want.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
My gear is still poor yet I hope to update it soon. I use a Nikon D300 body with Tokina 11/16 lens F2,8, a Manfrotto 055xprob tripod, a Manfrotto 488RC2 ballhead, an Aputura remote control and a LowPro backbag.
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Photoshop cc and some plug-ins such as Nik Software and the Luminosity masks from Tony Kuyper.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I start by opening the raw file in camera raw and do some minor corrections to the settings such as contrast, highlights, shadows and white balance if needed.
Then, I open my file in Photoshop CC, and create a layer covered with grey (50%), then I turn the layer from normal to soft light and with a brush I brighten, darken or highlight particular spots in my image. I also use luminosity masks for some parts of the image. Finally I save my files in tiff format.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
My favourite contemporary photographers are Alexandre Deschaumes and Marc Adamus.
The first one for the feeling and the tension created in his work and the second for his technical excellency on all levels. Both of them have influenced me and have broaden my horizons in terms of how free, creative and imaginative I could perceive a landscape.
I also want to make a special mention to the Greek photographer, Konstantinos Vasilakis to thank him because through his photographs and with his valuable help I was introduced to the magic world of photography.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
This photograph from Alexandre Deschaumes makes me stand still each time I look at it. So awe-inspiring and Alexandre managed to transfer me into the landscape and into its unique atmosphere. This image inspired me so much by provoking so many intense feelings.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
Photography became an indispensable part of my life. It's my favourite way to escape and to enjoy. I don't make a living from it. The only thing that really interests me is to improve myself, and to increase my skills. However, I do have specific goals like travelling to interesting destinations for me such as Patagonia and Canada.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
This photograph still evokes intense feelings to me. I travelled many miles to reach this place and after spending a night alone on the mountain, I was strongly disappointed when I waked up because a thick fog was covering everything. The sun standing high above the mist and I nearly lost all my hope when suddenly - and just for a few minutes – it emerged in front of me offering this magnificent view . I managed to take only a few shots before it disappeared again.