WORK ON PORTRAITS
interview
by
Artemis Behrakis
  29 September 2005

Artemis, who is currently to be found in Paris so very often, is back to Athens for a few days. "Thank God you have some time for me or else we should go netmeeting" i told her on the phone. A couple of hours later, she comes to my apartment ready for a long drink and some talking..

Artemis: How's everything changed in here!
Ion: I told you, i've had it completely revamped.
Artemis: I have always known you are a very capable photographer. One should
only see the work you've done for Roger Tilley's cds to understand that. I've also
had a small taste of your "Surnaissance" project, how very exciting these photos
looked...by the way, what happened to it?
Ion: "Surnaissance 2004  1.The Portraits", has been a very ambitious concept, where each image was much more than just a simple photo. It was a painting. Unfortunately, in order to accomplish those images a great number of models, costumes, symbols was required. I soon found myself unable to finish the project. Therefore, i had to postpone it.
Artemis: And instead of that, you come up with your "Work on Portraits". A complete
series of photos, right out of the blue.
Ion: Yes...my "Work on Portraits" is a much more simplified approach compared to
"Surnaissance".
Artemis: Simplified?
Ion: Yes. Thematically. Of course a lot of the material i had at my disposal plus the image manipulation techniques i had developed for "Surnaissance", have made their mark on this new project.



Artemis: Well, i must confess i am not a photography expert but your approach to portraits appears rather unique
to me. They are photos of course, but they also look like paintings. And there is this 3dimensional quality to them..
Ion: That's what Roger thinks! I have created more than 20 portraits and i'm still skeptical on the final selection.
When i'm in doubt, Roger helps me a lot.
Artemis: How many photos are you going to have?
Ion: I really don't know. 14-16 i think is a good number. I'll have to talk with the gallerist about that.
Artemis: Would you like to tell us what it is that you do with your photos? You have showed me a picture, before and
after your "treatment" and frankly the difference is huge!
Ion: My "treatment" as you call it, is a sequence of interventions i do on computer over the initial image. I can't go into
details now, nor would you understand. All you need to know is that it's a very subtle and time consuming process.
More like painting!
Artemis: What's the key to a good photograph? What makes it a work of art? How can one tell?
Ion: Hmm... now that's a simple question with a very complicated answer. (laughs)
Ok. Let's keep it simple. I would say: "Communication"
Artemis: Communication?
Ion: Yes. What applies to photography is no different to what applies to any other art. The keyword is "communication".
Suppose you experience an artistic creation. A painting, food, music, whatever. Does it make you think, reflect..does
it evoke any feelings? Does it "talk" to you? If so, it's a true work of art!
I'll never forget the first time i saw Vangelis on tv. He was invited on the national channel to perform his newly created
"Chariots of fire". It was the early 80's and i was just a young boy. I could hardly understand anything of what was going on around me, much less anything on music. And yet, when i listened to that piece i remained still and thoughtful. I felt like i knew it. I was completely ignorant and yet there was...
Artemis: "Communication"..
Ion: Exactly!
Artemis: Ion, as far as i know, you are considered a new "entrant" to the photographic world of this country.
Ion: You are correct.
Artemis: How do you think this world will react to your artistic contribution, your "Work on Portraits"?
Ion: All i can tell you Artemis is what the guy at the lab where i go for my prints, has told me.
Artemis: What?
Ion: He said that it's the first time he sees photos like these and that one after the other everyone who's working there, has become my fan! (laughs)
Artemis: What are your gallery plans. Where and when are you going to exhibit your new work?
Ion: Visitors of my website will be free to check my "Work on Portraits" soon. As for galleries, you know they often plan many months ahead. I'll let you know as soon as i have something definite.
Artemis: Ok! And what's next?..
Ion: Just a small break. Playing some music, singing some songs. Any preferences?
Artemis: Oh, would you sing "La fin des vacances", for me?
Ion: Avec plaisir, Artemis!
Artemis: Merci!
Ion: Merci et bon voyage!

"Work on Portraits" exhibition at EOS gallery in Athens, 38A XEYDEN st., Victoria sq. from 23/1-11/2 2006.

enter "Work on Portraits" gallery
enter Ion's regular website