First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this. Could you begin by telling us a little about who you are and how you got started with landscape photography?
Thank you for the opportunity to present my work. It is an honor to be featured on CaptureLandscapes among so many talented photographers.
My name is Stavros Charisopoulos, I am 42 years old and I live in Athens, Greece. My background is in jewelry design and gemology, and I run a family jewelry shop.
I first came in touch with photography during my high school years, back in the 90’s, and after graduation I took a two-years seminar in Fine Art Photography. Back then, I was shooting mainly urban and street photography in black and white film, but in 2010 after joining a workshop in Meteora, Greece it became evident to me that landscape photography was to become my passion. From that point on I started getting deep into digital photography, buying books, studying Photoshop, printing my first images and organizing
In 2013, already greatly affected by the Greek financial recession, I took the risk to fulfill my dream of travelling to Iceland and having the overwhelming experience of aerial photography. This risk paid off, as in December of the same year I was invited to have my first solo exhibition at the Goulandris Natural History Museum. Since then, I have developed a second career as an architectural and landscape photographer.
You’ve mentioned that you’ve primarily been photographing long exposures. What is it about this technique that appeals to you?
It’s a technique I enjoy because it slows down the photographic process and helps emphasize on composition. It is a creative option that can generate a minimal and at the same time surreal
How did you get into Black & White photography and what are the reasons you choose to apply this to most of your portfolio?
I began shooting with black and white film, so it comes as a natural process. Black and White photography grants me control in many aspects concerning the different elements of light, adding drama as well as underlining emotion, tonality, shapes, without the distraction of color.
In the photo editing process black and white also feels more liberating, allowing space for more adjustments. It has helped me to develop my own personal style and to lead my photos in an aesthetic direction to reflect the sense of tranquility and time halt felt during the photo shoot.
As someone who’s received several international photography awards; do you think it’s important for photographers to enter their images to various competitions? If so, what are some good practices they should consider to increase the likelihood of being awarded?
I believe competitions is a great way to get exposed and to grab the attention of the public at a larger scale. Going through your portfolio and trying to select images is also a process that helps you re-evaluate your work and realize where you stand.
When joining a competition one must read carefully the judging criteria, understand the theme of the contest and the category description. To increase the likelihood of being awarded, one should exhibit originality and innovation, follow your instinct and be authentic.
You’ve also held several exhibitions. What is some advice you’d give to someone who’s interested in exhibiting their work?
My advise to those who consider exhibiting for the first time is to begin with a group event. When organizing an exhibition there are multiple parameters to be considered, and a group exhibition can simplify the process.
The selection of the venue, the choice of framing, the scale of printing, the cost and pricing, the event promotion and marketing are only a few of the parameters to be considered. The main parameter though is understanding and developing your exhibition’s concept and making the selection of your portfolio, as this will define your identity.
Greece isn’t well-known for its landscapes but by the looks of your images it’s got a lot of incredible (and diverse) scenery. Can you take us through some of your process in discovering these lesser known areas?
Greece has the largest coastline in Europe offering great opportunities
A starting point in discovering these areas is Google Earth using the terrain view and Flickr, as well as taking advice from local landscape photographers and forest officials.
Once on location, I spend part of the day when the light is not ideal, exploring potential locations either on foot or by car, to come across photogenic places. I always have researched and considered alternative options, to make the best of the time available.
Unlike many other photographers these days you don’t have a strong presence on Social Media. What are your views on social media’s impact on landscape photography?
Most probably I am not very skilled in social media management! Social Media is an important channel for exposure, facilitating photographers that would otherwise not have the chance to become known.
It is also a great way to discover and interact with talented photographers worldwide, getting feedback on your images and exchanging ideas. At the same time, Social media can put a lot of pressure on photographers to produce a great number of images, many times at the expense of quality, to keep up with the fast pace they are consumed.
The dilemma between winning likes and followers by adopting a specific aesthetic rewarded on social media, and following your own authentic style is present.
Following up on the previous question, what advice do you have to those who think that social media is the only way to succeed as a landscape photographer today?
No one can ignore the strategic role of social media as the easiest and fastest way of promoting your work. At the same time I believe that exhibiting your work in galleries and other selected venues can still help you succeed as a landscape photographer, as you are addressing a more targeted audience. There is a sustainable impact on people encountering a large print.
What is one piece of equipment you never leave behind?
On my first encounter with Scottish weather it became clear to me that the most important piece of equipment to never leave behind is the microfiber cleaning cloth; especially in combination of use with ND Filter in the front element of the lens.
What are your top 3 tips to someone who’s just getting started with landscape photography?
- Revisit a location nearby where you live, because through repetition and practice you become a better photographer. Observing the light and how weather conditions can affect your subject is a good source of information.
- Use a prime telephoto lens to improve your photographic skills. The absence of zoom forces you to move around and find interesting perspectives. Introducing limitations can lead you to search for more simplified, minimal compositions and unlock your creativity.
- Print your favorite photographs. All technical issues will be amplified and you will start noticing details that maybe you haven’t paid attention to, such as sharpening, saturation, color balance etc. It is a great way to identify your mistakes and improve your editing skills.