The young-blooded analogue photographer, Dimitri Karakostas, has been taking photographs of the skateboarding subculture since he was a teen. In this interview with him, you’ll find out who he dreams of taking a portrait of, why he prefers analogue over digital, and many more…
Featured Photographer: Dimitri Karakostas
Location: Ontario, Canada
Website: To Be Honest I Expected More
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m a 24 year old photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. I’ve been shooting skateboarding on film for a decade and I don’t intend on stopping anytime soon… even though my work has taken an 180 from that lately. I run Blood of the Young Zine which is an independent publishing house focused on working with emerging analogue photographers and write for Beautiful/Decay and generally stay as busy as possible.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
My first camera was a Polaroid One-Step 600. I shot a lot of polaroids when I started out which I regret now because I wound up giving so many of them away. Just shooting adventures and passing them around the next day at school — just for bragging rights, like “I was here and I did this.”
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
As a broad answer, I would say that i’m a hunter as opposed to a gatherer. I go searching to find the things I want to photograph as opposed to posing and setting up situations.
It’s all democratic documentary work. Graffiti, as a collector of text and embracing anything I’m not supposed to do. Mistakes, and learning how to make them do what you want (light-leaks, chemical damage, etc)… And the wife, because we work together 90% of the time and… well, she’s easy to photograph because she’s a babe!
Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
I couldn’t choose a favorite — there’s just too many variables! One of my favorites of the past few weeks is this photo of my homie Blake Strickland getting this front board during the Christmas break. We were just passing by this rail and he said “Yo, wanna grab a quick photo?” and got it second try. He nailed three or four tricks on this rail in ten minutes, it was just too much. This photo was taken inside of a mailtruck that just happened to be open, which turned out to work great.
What is the soundtrack for your series of photographs?
Probably Comadre, Loma Prieta, Dead to Me… Something fast and ideally with the possibility of singalongs or group vocals. That feeling is what I want to photograph.
We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to? Who or what influences your photographic style?
Patrick O'Dell was the first guy that made me think “Oh, so this is how I should shoot!” His skate stuff lined my walls for many years. Scott Pommier. too! Lots of unorthodox skate photos, lots of simple stuff shot simply amazing. Him being Canadian always got me psyched as well.
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who would it be, which camera would you use, and why?
Haha, Morrissey in the ’80s with any point and shoot without flash. No, wait! Kerouac and Neal Cassady on a beach with a Polaroid Reporter!
What other film cameras have you tried shooting with?
I have used a lot of plastic cameras, but my favorite is the Vivitar Wide and Slim. I shoot with mine a lot in the summer because the lens is so impossibly contrasty… looks great in sunshine. I keep mine in my camerabag all the time. I also have a pinhole Holga that I haven’t pulled out in a while… I would be psyched on a polaroid back for a Holga; I’ve never shot on one and they look great.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
It always comes down to tangibility. Digital photographs aren’t real and I don’t understand why people think otherwise. You can’t hold a JPG in your hands. Having a physical back-up is the most important thing in the world… it’s why I simply do not do digital. Plus, dropping off a bunch of rolls of film is a feeling no digital photo can match.
A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
Shoot a lot of film. Shoot a lot of different things until you find out what you like and how you like them to look. Take photos of whatever you want and do it a lot.
Aside from your To Be Honest I Expected More, do you have other creative online/offline projects? If none, what other creative pursuits do you wish you could explore?
Right now, Sonia and I are working on a book of work titled “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Starting in January, we’ve been collecting work and formulating plans… we’ll be traveling around the EU working on this, and we’re looking for collaborators and help along the way! The is the temporary website, and hopefully more info will be up in the next few weeks! We’ve been working pretty much nonstop on new work, and I’m pretty psyched!