Creative envy

Charalampos Kydonakis



Charalampos Kydonakis

Words by Eleni Papaioannou

Dirty Harrry, as he is known online, is a Cretan photographer that has recently been hailed as one of the greatest contemporary street photographers out there. He is an architect that uses his camera to capture spaces where time, gravity and reason are often intensely absent, creating haunting, unearthly images that, at the same time, are scarily familiar. In the September article “Meet the Genius Street Photographer You’ve Never Heard Of”, Time magazine says about him: “He uses his camera and flash like a hammer and chisel to crack open time and space. He shows you what was there, and then he shows you a bit more than what was there.”

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Favorite work of art?
My favorite artwork is probably a western movie, Sam Peckinpah’s “Wild Bunch”.

Favorite image-photographer?
Arthur Fellig (Weegee) had said “My name is Weegee. I’m the world’s greatest photographer.”

I don’t think he was lying.

Do you follow a ritual, when you work?
I ‘m trying to have my eyes open when I’m walking with a camera.

Which do you consider the most overrated form of art?
I don’t know if it’s fair enough to compare different forms of artwork. Time is probably the only factor that can show if something can endure.

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Favorite subject?
I shoot everything; I don’t have a favorite subject. I think there are no easy & difficult or good & bad subjects, a simple challenge seems able to hide behind anything.

Who has been your teacher, metaphorically speaking?
I ‘m self-taught; most of what I’ve seen regarding photography comes from the Internet. This last year I spent time with Gus Powell in NYC and Pavlos Fysakis in Crete and discussion with both has helped me a lot. Last summer Pavlos organized a photographic event in my town, Rethymnon, the Medphoto Festival ; among others Oliver Chanarin and Antoine D’Agata were invited. Half an hour of discussion on my photos with A.D’ Agata after the festival was enough to make me even more confused, in the positive way.

What would you love to have photographed?
I don’t know exactly, if I knew maybe I would have photographed it.

What is your relationship with time? How does one capture a moment?
When I first started to shoot in the streets, I think I was only chasing moments. Gradually I started to be interested on characters, light, landscapes, animals and other things too, which are not much related to time. So I’ m not sure that I’m hunting moments any more. If someone wants to catch a moment all he has to do is be quick. The most important thing is what’s inside a captured moment, I’ve shot thousands of moments that don’t have anything in them. Always the precious moments are few.

In the street, what draws your attention?
It depends on how I feel each time. When I have more energy I usually shoot people or animals. When I’ m in a calmer mood I prefer shooting a landscape or something abstract.

Biggest surprise caused you got from one of your images?
In this image below it was the first time I made a double exposure with my camera and my flash. I don’t know if it was the biggest surprise I ‘ve felt, but anyway I kept on experimenting with multiple exposures after it.


Greatest lost when snapping a moment?
Losing possible images happens all the time. Sometimes I wasn’t quick enough, other times the battery got off etc. Right after I lose a moment I ‘m temporarily feeling disappointed that I didn’t get it. But next day I don’t remember anything about what was the thing I lost, since I thought I almost had it but never got it.

Do you carry your camera everywhere you go? When do you leave it behind?
Yes I always have it with me. Usually I don’t bring it in the bathroom, kitchen, or bed. Maybe that’s not always true. Sometimes I have it with me there too.

What is the relationship between photography and architecture?
Studying architecture helped me a lot to understand the use of wide-angle lenses, light and perspective.

What is your relationship with clothes, fashion and the aesthetics of the self?
I don’t have a clear image about this in my mind. I hate the selfie sticks and i ‘m not a fan of Helmut Newton’s photography if that helps.

Can a photographer make a living, today, without doing commercial work?
It’s difficult for most people to make a living today, no matter what they do.

What are the icons that you trust?
My favorite pictures, still or moving ones are made by :
· Sam Peckinpah
· Akira Kurosawa
· Luis Bunuel
· Weegee
· Diane Arbus
· August Sander
· Martin Parr