I am Stylianos and I grew up in different parts of Greece. My parents used to move a lot, so I had to adapt to new environments and make new friends very often. When I was little, Greece was a place that children could still just leave the house in the morning and come back at night. So I grew up learning the ability to spontaneously run around and explore my surroundings freely. There was no limit, and when there was, I was determined to break it. I started taking photographs when I was 15 years old, right after I got sick with cancer and I couldn’t run around anymore. Being in a hospital for a long time is boring for a teenager, therefore my focus shifted to the creative process. At the age of eighteen I became a professional football referee, and now I realise how helpful that was in my photography. I had to read the scene, project the immediate future and take decisions instantly. At the same time, I started working for an organisation called Barretstown. It’s a camp for children with cancer founded by Paul Newman. There, I started to meet people from around the world and got really excited about exploring different cultures and getting to know our planet. Meanwhile around the age of 20, I saw a picture by Garry Winogrand and I instantly knew that I wanted somehow to take pictures like that.
I started photographing at home, but soon knew that I wanted something different. I started with Ireland, and small trips around Europe. The excitement of being out there capturing real life was growing, so I kept going, covering a huge part of south, central and north America. And then south-east Asia, Japan, north India and a few countries in Africa. I was alone and was not organising anything and my need for communication and shelter would drive me to the most bizarre places. It was exciting to start walking in the morning not knowing where you gonna end up at night.
I started in 2009 and for the first 5 years I almost didn’t go home at all. It has been 11 years now with most months of the year away from home. A hell of a ride.
It’s always people, everyday life. The most absurd things happen outside. I found that experience is the best way to understand something deeply. For me, getting into trouble and trying to find yourself in places and situations you wouldn’t normally go is key. Of course it’s all about the moment. I photograph in invisible mode but I also get involved a lot, my experiences connect hugely to my photographs. From 2009 to 2018 I was working on two projects, “In touch” and “Out of touch”. These two projects resulted to my first book called “Duality”. Duality is a snapshot of humanity for the last ten years and it examines connection and disconnection, in our societies and within our environment. It’s an ode to joy but also to sadness and there is always a little of one inside the other.
The adventure. The camera gave me a reason and a pass but most importantly it gave me a point of view to look at reality. Capturing life is living life for me. I just let myself go. The fear of the unknown became excitement, and a rare finding of a bizarre moment unfolding in front of my eyes. It is so uplifting and exciting, they have become an addiction. My photographs are a reflection of myself. I try to understand what am I and how I relate to others by taking photographs. It’s my school, my meditation, my stress relief and the way I make my living now. It was always fascinating to me, to stop the flow of time and make a part of my experience almost iconic using photography. It is also my motivation to get off the couch and get involved, meet new people and places. Photography gave me a perspective to fall in love with life.