Maria Tomara interviews ION for "Eleftheria" of Messinia.
Newspaper available in Messinia, Lakonia, Arkadia and on the web.

Interview by Maria Tomara.

Art and Digital Photography
what it is to the Laconian and Kalamatian ION

"A short while ago in October I discovered through a chance surf on the internet that in the "art.space.aleph" in Athens there was a photographic exhibition, and that the artist, ION, was born in Sparta. Consequently, I published any information I found about it to all Lakonia. A few days ago, ION sent a signed catalogue in my office, thanking me for my interest. I took the opportunity provided by this communication to ask him for an interview since I found his photographs inspiring! My interest grew when he told me that not only was he born in Sparta, but he grew up in Kalamata and that his parents still live there! The rest is in the interview which follows.

- How did you begin working on photography?
- I am glad you ask me "how" since it would be very difficult for me to tell you "when". I believe that it came from my need to express myself. I began with black and white photography (which still fascinates me) and moved on to digital colour photography which happens to be the cause of this interview.
- What is photography to you besides the capturing of a specific moment?

- The mainstream use of photography, as we understand it, is to have an amazing and ridiculously easy means of immortalising moments in time. And, just think. For all that the moving picture (video) has existed for so many years, it hasn't managed to replace photography, just as photography has not replaced painting. However, with regard to your question, photography for me is the most fertile, available means of expressing myself. Each portrait
I create is no more than a different facet of my character. A tiny piece of my phsyche.

- What do you reply to those who say that digital photography is no art?
- They would have to prove to me why it is not.
- That your photographs resemble paintings you must have heard many times, I imagine. Is that your aim?
- Yes and no. My aim is to create images which communicate. And, since my specialisation is in portraits, I also aim to show aspects of the character of the models. The idea that my art resembles painting is probably a chance thing, happening effortlessly and giving my work an element of surprise.
- How do you choose your models and how do you set them in the photograph with respect to their surroundings? That is to say, do you match each to a particular scene, or, when a face inspires you, do you simply photograph it in any old background?
- I would say that the faces choose me, in the sense that when I see someone who inspires me, I can't explain why. Sometimes I construct the background on the computer from parts of photographs which I have taken somewhere in Europe, and wait for the right face to fit. Other times I start with the face and then construct the rest around it. The actual shooting always takes place in natural light, since I avoid using a studio, so usually the finished picture isn't ready until after tens of hours of work. It's a very delicate game balancing colour, light, form, ideas. Furthermore, it's very lonely work!
- Has Kalamata, where you grew up, inspired you artistically?
- Doesn't it show?

ION has studied both b/w photography and medicine. Photography is not his only talent though, because he also writes music and speaks several languages, including sign language. To see his photographs and to find details about his art go to: www.ionportraits.gr