Marianna Santikou is a beautiful, young and talented photographer from Athens, Greece. She’s absorbed into self-portraits and occasionally takes pictures of her friends as well. Her black and white photos are suggestive of mystery, haunting, sadness, and loneliness, but her color photos mostly exhibit her playful side with calm poise and sporty fun. She also did some conceptual work which is impressive but self-portraiture is her forte. We found her features in some good webzines and contacted her for a detailed interview. Here we have her telling about her life and photography:
Hi! I am 19 year old. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Athens, Greece. I finished High School last year and I’m going to start my studies in Tourism in October. Right now I’m focusing on photography and I’m trying to shoot as much as possible! I’m interested in every type of creating but I am mostly fascinated by the fashion world as of the last year.
I started taking photos in 2009, mostly of nature, still life and basically whatever I set my eyes on. Soon after my work consisted mostly of self-portraits, first off because I had no one to model for me, but also because it became my form of self-therapy and expression. I started taking photography seriously in 2012 and my photos became more conceptual over time. I used to take one photo every day for my 365 project which I quit due to personal reasons. The amount of photos I now produce per month varies; I could go weeks without taking photos but when inspiration strikes I can’t take my camera off my hands!
As a kid and until my early teenage years I used to draw a lot. I always loved expressing myself, and that is the main purpose of photography to me. Many of my photos that might look like simple portraits to others have a very special meaning to me. It is a way of venting without using words.
My key areas of photography are portraits, fine art and fashion. I also do a lot of street and still life photography, which is why I always carry my camera with me. My biggest achievements would be having my work showcased in 2 galleries and getting published in a few magazines. I use a Canon 600D and I own 2 lenses, the standard 18-55mm and a 50mm f/1.8 (which I use all the time). Editing plays a huge role in my workflow, I always take a few minutes to correct the lighting and colours, and in more conceptual shots editing could take hours. I completely support photo manipulation because it is a form of art by itself.
When shooting these kind of photos you have to be at the right mindset and sometimes you have to let your emotions take over. I get most of my ideas in dreams or right before I fall asleep, and when that happens I usually have to get up and write them down in order not to forget them. Many times the spontaneous shoots are the best ones though!
I think it is wonderful that many young people seem to be interested in photography lately, and especially in conceptual and fine art! These genres of photography are based mostly on the idea behind each photo, and in that case of course there is a lot of repetition of concepts. I believe every photographer has to go through that stage, until they are able to find their own style, which is what I’m trying to do as well. I consider someone successful when they no longer need to seek for inspiration in other artists.
The area where I live has an industrial look, a lot of construction sites and dried out fields that work as great locations for photos. One of my personal favourite places to shoot at is my rooftop, where I have taken most of my self-portraits. Photography has taught me that there is beauty everywhere, even in places that are considered ugly. Actually, those places usually make the best locations!
My ambition regarding photography is to make it my full-time career in the future. There is nothing I would rather do. I get inspiration from all types of art, from music to paintings and of course other photographers’ work. Some of my favourite photographers are Tim Walker, Steven Meisel, JUCO, Bruce Weber, Steven Klein and Alex Stoddard. A lot of times in the past it has been very difficult to keep myself motivated and keep myself from quitting, something I would have done if it weren’t for the enormous support of my family and friends, which I’m forever grateful for.
Never stop doing the things you love because there will come a time when those are the only things that keep you going.