Charalampos Kydonakis aka ‘Dirty Harry’ is a street photographer from Greece. His spontaneous captures using camera flash in crowded streets and places create very intriguing images that compel you to have a closure look into each corner and layer of the frame. Living in a small town Rethymnon of Crete, Greece, work of Charalampos is very distinctive and ranks him with the best photographers of our times engaged in creating exceptional images and visual narratives. Persons clicked by him look amazingly haunting, petrified, bizarre and funny with a lot of subtle humor in his work. We’re showcasing some of his B&W and color images selected by himself. Charalampos gives very pithy and terse replies to some of our questions and we’re sure he’s fun to be with. Here he goes:
Hello Charalampos. Please tell us something about yourself and your name ‘Dirty Harry’:
Hi , I’m Charalampos Kydonakis from Rethymnon of Crete. I’m an architect and I like to travel, shoot photos and play Cretan music with an instrument called bulgari (a long-necked lute). As with my name, ‘Dirty’ comes from my photos and ‘Harrry’ cοmes from a shortcut of my name Χαράλαμπος.
Tell us when you started photography and how often you shoot:
I started shooting when I was studying architecture in Thessaloniki since 1997, but got involved more intensively after 2008. I always have my camera with me and whenever I find something that itches my eye I go there and take one or more photos.
How many images I shoot? Maybe I could answer more easily how many images I don’t delete in a week or month. This number is small and starts from zero.
I read it somewhere you said you’re trying to understand some things about yourself and the world around you through photography but you haven’t ended up to a conclusion. Could you please explain it a bit?
If I could explain it, the statement wouldn’t be the above, it would refer to the content of conclusion .
What do you like shooting most and how did you find your genre?
I have no inner guidelines about what to shoot. I can get bored easily by everything and I hate categorization. Labels are for those who need or sell them.
Tell us about your camera/lenses and settings you mostly use. Do you also shoot with film?
I use a Canon 60D with a 20mm lens and a 5d MkII with a 28mm or 35mm or a plastic pinhole 35mm lens. I set everything manually and my preferred button is the ‘Delete’ one .
I started with film more than 15 years ago, but since I started to work there’s no time and no money for buying and scanning film.
How do you treat your image files? Tell us about the software you use:
I change the RAW settings in Lightroom and handle particular luminance with masks in Photoshop. I also make some animated gifs.
You make a lot use of flash in your photography in crowded places. How do you do it? What’s your method of shooting?
It’s easy. Everyone can do it. All that has to be done is to go close and press the shutter button. There’s no other method. It’s as simple as it gets.
It seems you take photos of strangers on sudden impulses. What else do you like to shoot? Got a theme in mind?
Most of my photos are those of strangers but I also shoot a lot photos of my friends, my family and everything else around me.
I work on some themes I’ve already started and while shooting and editing my stuff other themes come in my mind. Realizing things on which I want to focus the next time I’ll go shooting. Editing is a never ending process.
What have been your biggest achievements?
I can’t do anything to change this goddamn world of war and misery so I can’t say I have any important achievements.
Apart from 5 prints I’ve sold, I’ve no clients. My prints are free for my real friends. They’re not for people I don’t know.
What do you think about work of other photographers and future of street photography? Where do you find yourself among a million photographers?
I try to look as much as I can at other people’s work and I put whatever seems inspiring to me in my blog. I don’t care about the work of contemporary photographers and similarly I can’t tell about the future of street photography… this label sucks. My photos are in my website. That’s the place where I find myself.
We’ve seen a lot many talented photographers from Greece. Is there any reason behind photography being very popular over there?
Greece has some good photographers. As it’s with any other country, photography is popular everywhere, not only here. I feel that my country is in a deep economic and humanistic crisis and maybe photography is a way for people to dream something hopeful to escape out of their everyday struggle.
What are the places where you want to go for photography at least once in your life?
I’d like to travel to all places. If that’s not possible, then I want to go to every corner of Crete and discover it.
What are your future plans and ambitions?
I ‘d like to never stop travelling. A new trip is my upcoming ambition every time.
Tell us about your sources of inspiration, your favorite photographers / books / quotation / website etc:
Sam Peckinpah is my God. Other photographers I like are Diane Arbus , Weegee , August Sander, Garry Winogrand, and Martin Parr. I like films of Akira Kurosawa , Luis Bunuel and Nikos Kazantzakis is my favorite author. On Internet I like to visit LPV magazine , Blake Andrews’ blog , Lenscratch , American Suburb X , Urbanautica etc:
There are a few quote I like in particular… “despair is the only unforgivable sin, and it is always reaching for us” by Sam Peckinpah and “there’s no solution to the problem, cause there’s no problem” by Marcel Duchamp.
Would you like to give some advice to aspiring/budding photographers, your fans, and readers of the post.
There are times when I disagree even with myself so I can’t give any advice to anyone else.
Possibly my only advice is that everyone should ignore everyone’s advices.
Charalampos Kydonakis links: Website | Facebook | Flickr | Twitter
Note: All images used with permission. Please do not copy or distribute without the approval of the photographer.