Vangelis Makris quotes: “Every experience no matter how little or how big affects each person's perspective and preferences in music or pictures. It is the same for any kind of artistic occupation including photography.” He likes experimenting with different types of photography but also using graphic techniques. The majority of his images are abstract, still life and sometimes mood. Let's discover more about this skilful photographer and interesting personality.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I was born and raised in Amfissa, a small town in Central Greece. I have lived and worked in my town ever since then, with the exception of my time for studies in mathematics and my military service (obligatory in Greece). I am a maths teacher and in my spare time I like to do sports , listen to music and of course create pictures through photography and graphic design.
How have your history and life experiences affected your photography?
From the moment we are born our environment affects the development of our personality and our way of thinking. Every experience no matter how little or how big affects each person's perspective and preferences in music or pictures. It is the same for any kind of artistic occupation including photography. Every artist's style is developed through his personal experience. It is hard to tell why somebody might prefer landscape photography or portrait or abstract photography. The sure thing is that each person's personality is the reason for his preferences. I love simplicity and that's why I prefer a minimal style. I assume my profession affects my style as well since I love creating photos with intense geometrical patterns and shapes.
What first attracted you to photography?
Even though I always loved looking at beautiful pictures, I never thought before of creating them myself. There were so many times that I remember myself admiring beautiful photographs in magazines mainly of landscapes and wild life. There is an interesting part of my story of how the photography itself started. Sometimes my students at school would show me some of their photographs that they were uploading on Facebook. That's when I discovered a student's page with a series of different photographs that were something more than just snapshots. They were different with more attention to detail, better light and better composition than the others. That pleasantly surprised me. That's when I thought how wonderful it would be if I could create pictures like them myself. So, I decided that it was worth the try.
Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
I think that the most important experience that affected me in focusing more on abstract photography was that I was already familiar with these images through the 1x platform. Before that the whole idea of abstract photography was something unknown to me. If somebody would mention photography to me my first thoughts would have been of wild life, street and landscape or portraits.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I like experimenting with different types of photography but also with the creation of an image using graphic techniques. The majority of my images are abstract, still life and sometimes mood. For each one of these categories one could notice that I like more the minimal images and the creation of intense geometrical shapes. Another characteristic in my Mood images is the surreal Sci-Fi effects. If I had to describe my images with a few words I would say: minimal, abstract and surreal Sci-Fi versions.
Why are you so drawn by Abstract Photography?
When we refer to abstract images, we mean that these images don't convey realistic depictions of the world. Most of the times they focus on lines, colours and shapes composing unusual pictures and sometimes unreal looking ones. That’s the main reason why I prefer abstract images. You can pick any everyday object, photograph part of it and the result could be an image that looks extraordinary, not real. Another practical reason is that we could create abstract images even indoors. We don't need any particular equipment or to travel to create those images.
What is more important to you, the mood, /story behind your images or the technical perfection?
Referring to my personal preferences I would say that the story behind each image is on the bottom of my list. When I want to create let’s say a strictly abstract image the story behind it is not important at all. What concerns me more is the technique and the light. I really love light. There have been so many times that I have spent so much time in editing trying to achieve the best possible light in the result.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Sometimes I don't prepare anything but usually I make a schedule especially with indoors photography. The preparation mainly involves the position of the object, the light or the camera settings. I love to experiment. When I am outdoors I love to go back after a few days to the same spot in order to try different compositions and light conditions of the same subjects. There are a few times that there is no preparation at all. I might see something, take the picture and then I love the result. You always need a bit of luck as well.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
In many of my images there is digital editing and graphic design so I don't need as much equipment. I have a Nikon D3100 with the following lenses :
1) AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
2) Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD
3) Raynox DCR – 250 ( Macro converter ) plus a simple back pack and a tripod.
What software do you use to process your images?
I really like Linux O.S. So as a result I use programmes that work better with Linux. Some of these programmes are Gimp 2.8, Rawtherapee that I use for editing raw files and recently I started using Blender which is for the creation of 3D graphics.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Abstract Photography and how do you get started?
I could give a lot of advice to an abstract-images beginner and photographer in general. Some of it has to do with the composition, the light, the camera settings etc. My advice might sound a bit strange but in my opinion it helps: “ look at as many images as possible daily from other artists like photographers or painters and experiment as much as you can until the result satisfies you”. Observation and study of other artists images gives you a lot of benefits. It can help you understand the composition, the light, the rules and when we can break the rules. Somebody might have different ideas and you can try to make them fit into your personal style of photography. On the other hand practising and experimenting as a result makes you familiar with your equipment and how it works under different conditions.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
There are a lot of photographers and C.G. Artists that present wonderful images. You can find in a glance dozens of jaw dropping images. So, I cannot really refer to 5 or 10 people without forgetting somebody important. If I had to choose , I would choose one from the past and that would be Ansel Adams. It might sound strange as Adam's subjects are completely different than abstract photography, nevertheless his crystal clear images with intense sharpness is something magical. My point of view regarding abstract photography is affected by Adam's sharp images. I don't reject blur techniques in abstract photography. A lot of wonderful images have been created using these techniques. I simply prefer an abstract image with more clarity to it.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a big deal and why?
First impressions count more as they say so I would refer to two separate images that impressed me a lot. When I became a member of 1x I started looking at a lot of different images of different photographers of different subjects. That was my first contact with abstract images. I still remember the first two images that attracted my attention.
These specific images were a source of inspiration for me and more. They really got me into learning more and investigating the specific style of photography and gave me the curiosity to look at more abstract and architectural images. I spent a lot of time looking at images by Gil along with other works of abstract photography by other photographers, so time after time I have started discovering the dynamics and magic behind this style.
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?
At the time being I am still into observation / investigation mode. Even though the majority of my images are abstract, my personal portfolio contains a lot of different photography styles. I would love to do more wild life photography in the future and nature photography in general. I see a lot of wonderful images from photographers and I have to admit I envy some of them :)
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
In a previous question of who is my favourite photographer I mentioned Ansel Adams and that sounded a bit strange before I explained myself. So it might sound strange again but my favourite image is not an abstract one. To start learning about photography I had to learn a lot about editing as well. I used to spend long hours each day to learn digital processing and editing. At the same time I was trying to create digital images using some basic digital painting techniques.
That was the time that the above image was created using a lot of experimentation. While it is not perfect, what makes it different to me is that - unlike most pictures of this kind, which are created from composite parts of other photos - this one is largely the result of painting. The mountains, the fog, the grass, the clouds ....all of them are painted by hand and they are not parts of different photos. When I started sharing this image online I have noticed a very positive response to it and also from magazine editors. Obviously I was very happy about it and ready to create more. For that reason this image has a special place in my heart. :)
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the honour that you gave me to say a few words about my work on photography and to share with you some of my thoughts and dreams. It is a pleasure to be a 1x member along with a lot of talented photographers and artists in general. 1x was and still is one of the main sources of inspiration and study since I started photography. Good wishes to all of you :)