Born to photography in 1961 by 'Photo Edwards of Limassol', one of the first photographers of Cyprus dating back to 1930, I started shooting with my fathers 'out of date' Leica III at the age of 7. Being the youngest of four brothers and belonging to one of the busiest studios in town, it was not long before I was fully involved in the business and started shooting weddings professionally from the age of 16.
But having a natural affinity for science and technology and frustrated by the inconsistency of film and chemical processing it was not long before a laptop took the place of a camera.
In 1997 I bought my first digital camera, a 1.3 MP Olympus, which may not sound much by today's standards, but it did produce excellent images, without scratch marks, without dust spots, every single time. What soon became evident was the simple fact, that for the first time a photographer was in complete control over the final result and all done on a desktop.
Today, technology is challenging our abilities as photographers to create, as it is rare to be limited by what our tools are capable of. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity. Often in the past we found comfort by the limitations of whatever equipment was available to us, but today we have the choice to push our own boundaries, limited only by imagination and dedication.
It has also blurred the line between still and moving images since almost all cameras are capable of both, to some degree or other, adding yet another dimension to anyone with a camera.
But just because your equipment allows you to shoot just about anything does not mean that you should. In fact, with millions of images taken every day it is becoming more and more important to be more selective and know what and why you are taking a shot.
I suppose there is a little DNA involved in my preference for travel and destination photography, since my father made a living by touring the sights of Cyprus every spring with a box camera and glass negatives on that back of a donkey, on foot, for several months and selling them as post cards. Admittedly, I never faired well on donkeys, even broke a tooth falling off one, but the adventure for travel and desire to capture the spirit of places is most certainly there.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but if a collection of words are not saying something it becomes noise. Point in case, go to anywhere on Google maps, pick a location and try to look at the photos, there is simply too much, unedited material all over the place, to some degree it is expected that sites like Google maps, Picasa, Youtube, where anyone can post anything will be a bit of a mess, but what about national tourist organizations, municipality guides to cities, travel sites, while much better than the latter, there is always a bias towards selling something.
To my mind there is a desperate need for "Portraits of Places". One of the very first uses of cameras was to take portraits of people, but a destination, a town, a village, a country, poses huge challenges to portray fully. Only now, has technology made the tools for such a challenge available and practical enough to undertake such challenges.
I find the concept of creating a Visual Portrait of a Country, free from commercial, political or other influences, not only exiting, but one of the best means of getting to know a place, in an era where screens of all sizes dominate our visual surroundings.
After several years of research, trail and error, the first results which I feel have managed to capture and present the portrait of a destination come from the island of Corfu in Greece, where I currently reside. Although far from complete, I am confident that the character of this beautiful island can be felt as you travel through these images.
To the best of my knowledge, "Visual Portraits" which goes beyond the literal depiction of places and tries to capture and present the character, is a rather new concept, one which deserved to be tried on numerous other subjects. After all, with all the new tools and means that technology is providing us, almost on daily basis, it seems odd to be doing what my father was doing almost 100 years ago, only digitally. Just as technology is providing creative people with new tools, creative minds should be coming up with new means of expression.