OBSERVE is a new international photography collective focused primarily on the practice of candid street photography. I have sent questionnaires to all 14 of the members, and will feature their responses and images on the blog for the next upcoming weeks.
Antonis Damolis: I was born in Crete, Greece, in 1980. I’m an orthodontist and I discovered photography in 2010 when I bought my first DSLR. I started shooting in the street because it was an accessible place. I’m amazed by the way my camera sees the world.
1. What does street photography mean for you on a personal level?
Not just “Street photography”, but photography in general is one of the best things that have happened to me.
2. What do you want your viewers to take from your photographs?
Nothing in particular. I want them to be able to create their own stories and feelings. Now, if they coincide with my very own, then I’m doubly happy.
3. Why do you photograph?
Because I can.
4. What are some other types of photography (outside of street photography) which interest you?
As I said before, I’m interested in photography in general. I will photograph anything that attracts me. I’m interested in everything, from portraits, to landscapes, to abstract images, etc. The only thing that matters to me is for the images to have soul.
5. What excites you most about being a part of a collective? And what do you hope to contribute to the collective?
It’s funny and interesting because I find myself in a group where there are many different thoughts and usually we have to debate and debate in order to agree (or not) on something. Being part of a group is a bit hard for me as I’m an only child :)
6. Tell us the story of one of your favorite street photographs
This is a photo currently not in my Observe gallery, as it is very recent. I’m very fond of it because while running in the sea to get close to the swimmer I almost fell and I was lucky to keep my camera out of the water.
7. Who were some of your photographic heroes when you started off?
Henri Cartier-Bresson was the first photographer i had heard of. After that in order of “appearance” I came to admire the works of the following: Eugene Smith, Diane Arbus, Weegee, Martin Parr, Trent Parke, Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld.
8. How did you discover “street photography”?
I didn’t. I guess I started shooting in the street because it was easy and accessible.
9. Can you share one of your favorite photos (from another member of the collective) and share why you love it?
Yes, I love this image by Ilya Shtutsa. For my tastes it has an almost existential feeling. The girls rushing (to where?) The statue (as in history? legacy? art?) avoiding all the rush, the stairs (leading to where?). It’s a photo full of questions and no answers.
10. If you started street photography all over again, how would you do it differently?
I wouldn’t. I consider all the different phases with the experimentation, the likes and the dislikes, to be very valuable. I wouldn’t want to have missed them.
11. What is one question nobody has ever asked you about your work–that you wished they asked you?
Hmmm… no idea.
12. What are some visions you have for the collective?
Also I have no idea. We’ll see. I repeat I’m new to participating in a group of photographers.
13. Do you feel it is valid if a street photographer participates in making a photo, not just observing the event?
14. How do you think your photos reflect who you are as a person?