Evangelia Lazou (Text in greek).
Etymologically, the word photography is complex and comes from the Greek words φως (phōs), “light” and γραφή (graphé), “drawing”. In simple words, it means to “draw with light”. I’ve been following for a long time the photographic work of Evangelia Lazou and I could say that she adheres literally and practically to the full etymological meaning of the word “photography”. And this is for a very basic reason. Her photography is specific. Each of her photos is specific. Specific to what she wants to say but also to the way she wants to support it.And, of course, it is no accident that the phrase that expresses her in her work is that of the American photographer Garry Winogrand “every photo is a battle between form and content.” And one is for sure. Someone who is a fightercan only conquer things through his work. Just because it is what he has lovedto do and therefore his success is simply his reward.
Evangelia, first of all I would like to thank you warmly for accepting our invitation to talk to us about your work through the special section that we created here at claps.gr, the subject of which is photography. And of course, since this isthe first time we host you, we would like you to give us a small “resume” about when and how your own activities regarding this creative expression started.
I was born and raised in Athens. I have been fascinated by photography since I remember myself. I graduated from MODUL University of Vienna, Austria and I come from a different professional background. Although I already had a career in the Hospitality Industry, I realized that photography can be more than a passion and a dream, and why not, it can become my future profession..! So, after working for several years as a photographer assistant for the beginning and gaining experience, I decided to study photography at the Focus School of TakisZerdevas in Athens.
There is a trivial phrase in sales stating that a good seller must be able to sell everything. My question is just as trivial and goes: Can a good photographer eventually photograph any kind of subject that he or she encounters in the same capacity and interest, or do all photographers intimately exclude a subject of photography for specific reasons?
I don’t think that a good photographer can photograph any kind of subject that he encounters with the same interest precisely because all photographers are inwardly “attracted” by the type of photography that will make them feel something. Photography is a form of self-expression, and success is to provokean emotional reaction.
Nevertheless, I can see that photos of artists of the music and theatrical scene, and not only, are prevailing in your photographic material. What is it that attracts you so much into this particular photography theme?
I like the passion on their faces. The way they are exposed to the audience... they strip their soul and don’t care, they are not afraid. I feel really attracted by what is happening between the artist and the audience. I find it magical..! I don’t want to lose anything from what is happening at that time..! And I will tell you something confidential… If I was not what I am, I would love to be a musician...! (She is laughing)
Are you jealous in a good sense? And if so, of whom photographers of all you have watched are you envious of their work and what do you think is what characterizes their photographic work?
It would be a lie to say that I have not felt “jealous” for any photo I have seen. I like many portrait photographers like Li Jeffries, Jimmy Nelson, LisaChristine, Steve McCarry, Rehang… I especially love Li Jeffries' collection of black and white portraits of homeless people because he manages to give asparkle of hope to the eyes of every one being photographed. I like that, it is optimistic..!
Should one's photographic work reflect at the same time his personality or character so that his “identity” will be visible over time through his photographs?
Clearly, someone’s photographic work expresses his personality and character. It is what makes him recognizable. It's important to see the photos of a photographer without having to check who they belong to. For me this recognition is success for a photographer.
Almost all photographers admit that you can always learn through the art of photography. For you, are there any “unknown waters” about a part of photography where you would like to swim?
Of course there are such parts of photography that are unknown to me. I still learn... and I will always learn..! To be honest, I prefer the “amateur” photographer that the “professional” photographer. The amateur is the lover of art, he is the one who loves and is passionate for what he does..! The professional is someone who feels more or less compromised... Yes, I would like to make an underwater photo shoot at some point because I am enchanted by the sea kingdom. The idea came into my mind when I saw the first underwater photo by the French Louis Boutan in 1893..! Indeed, it is rumored that the model was so excited that was holding a billboard upside down! (She is laughing)
As during an interview there is one who asks and another who answers, so during a photo shoot, there is the photographer and another being photographed. Talk to us a little about the key features that establish a partnership between the photographer and his model.
I love portraits and I firmly believe that in this kind of photography the photographer “falls in love” with the person who he photographs. So I too “fall in love”. I want to know everything about whom I have before me, through his gaze, his expression, the attitude of his body..! I want to see through my lens what he feels. I want to see what is happening on the inside and not to stay out of the picture. Success is every time my model trusts me and relaxes inthis unique and personal experience both for themselves and myself..!
I always wondered: how and with what criteria do you distinguish a good photo?
Personally for me a good photograph is one that gives you a feeling. It is the photograph that causes an emotional reaction, asks questions and causes you to beconcerned about the world around us. Simply. Just as simple art is.
I choose color. I choose black and white. What are your own criteria?
Henri Cartier Bresson has created the language of photographic art through black and white, and so we inevitably connect black and white photography with an artistic expression. And on the other there are color pictures that really are masterpieces. I can’t say yes to black and white and no to color. It depends..! Surely I’m enchanted by the charm of black and white, but that does not mean I’m not attracted by the color on a photo.
What does photography mean to you and tell us whether over the years something has changed for you regarding the subjects you're photographing and what ultimately concerns you.For me, photography is a passion, a journey, a unique way of expression and I realize that over the years I change, I become more mature. There are old photographs that I see now and some seem indifferent or very bad and others that make me think: well done! How did I do that..! (Haha) Clearly, there are changes, for example, I love the daylight when working more than before and I search for it and I use it now in the best possible way. I would like to say something last. There are rules and guidelines for a successful photo shoot and an impressive result and I often see that a photo shoot is unsuccessful. It’s not successful just because we follow these instructions and we stop “feeling”. A photographer must first see with the eyes of his soul. See the beauty of simplicity. Because every simple photo is always an opportunity to learn something new! Thank you very much!