Feb 19, 2018
Ioanna is a young Greek journalist and photographer who enjoys medium format photography since it gives her the possibility to calmly observe at the time that relaxes her. Using a straightforward approach and full of subtle details, Ioanna's images are poetic narratives that not only convey the evident, but also the stories behind them. In her series "Dungeness" Ioanna portrays a particular and semi-abandoned community at the south English coast, bringing back images that are nostalgic and apocalyptic at the same time.
Following we present a nice interview that we had with her:
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
IS - Thanks for having me. I am Ioanna, born in 1989 in Athens, Greece where I studied journalism. I moved abroad to do a Master of Arts in European Urban Cultures (Belgium, Netherlands, UK, Estonia) and later on completed photography studies in Brussels where I live now. Currently I am a freelance contributor to "Barcroft Media" and I produce my personal photography projects in Greece and abroad. In the past, I worked for non-governmental organisations on human rights and culture in Belgium and Georgia.
am - How did you start in photography?
IS - My MA required a lot of travelling and field work. When I was in Manchester, I got introduced to the concept of urban exploration while looking into architecture and regeneration of cultural clusters. I liked research, I liked photography. So when I was back in Belgium I started mapping abandoned locations, finding ways to reach and enter them and finally photograph them. Naturally, this hobby made me start working on different personal photo projects around the world. Later on, when I was in Georgia working with internally displaced people from the war, in the framework of my job back then, I realized that photography was my way of understanding the world around me so when I got back in Belgium I applied for studying it. Since then I have worked on different projects and exhibited some of my work around Europe.
am - What inspires your work?
IS - My work is inspired by the past mainly. I tend to look back and re-imagine the worlds we used to live in and what has remained out of them today. I am interested in looking into society and values from the perspective of tradition and their connection to the contemporary society we belong to. I am interested in the individual struggle of the becoming. I am usually inspired by what I cannot understand or what is really different to what I have already known or seen. I need to be curious to dive into an idea and start making sense out of it.
am - What is “Dungeness” about?
IS -The English Channel, where Europe meets the United Kingdom through the sea, is where the only desert of Great Britain, right on the southern coast of Kent, is located. The so called ‘’Dangerous Nose of England’’ with its bewildering remoteness and electrifying atmosphere is home to a few fishermen, an unknown number of residents, a variety of scattered cottages, wooden fishing boats, power stations and several lighthouses. I passed by Dungeness on my way to Hastings and I had to stop and explore it for hours that first time. I travelled back there a series of times in the effort to document what looked to me like abandoned at first. But the longer you would stay, people would slowly show up and stand by the wind fishing or walking their dogs. Some of them are part of my portraits.
am - How would you describe your visual language?
IS - Most of my personal projects are shot in analog medium format. I find that medium format helps me develop a straightforward approach. I always look straight into my subjects, be it humans or places. I like focusing on the unnoticeable details and develop plots out of them. Creating an ambiance of subtle details is a big part of how I develop my visual language. Moreover, the ideas I work on usually remind of another, sometimes forgotten era, where film photography happens to originally come from as well. Using this photographic process, I focus on a slow-paced approach to life and the observation of it which relaxes me in some way.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
IS - Robert Adams, Alec Soth, Larry Sultan, Sophie Calle, Jason Molina, Nayyirah Waheed.
am - What are your main interests as an artist?
IS - Memory, territory, personal values. I like getting inspiration from mythology, geography and history for setting the framework of my projects. I am interested in the relationship between my photography practice and ideas relating to aesthetically “mapping” the historical and contemporary context of relations with global and social systems of power.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
IS - "Kes" by Ken Loach, "Lorna’s Silenc"e by Dardenne Brothers, "Stories We Tell" by Sarah Polley.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
IS -" Das Land" by Manfred Willmann, "Offcut, The Edge" by Zhao Qian.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.