Athens-based film photographer Erasmia Chouliara seeks a different kind of perspective in scenes from daily life. The photographer has a natural talent to shroud even the plainest of things with mystery and intrigue. Portraits are mostly faceless, the scenery all abstracted and grittier through the use of black and white film.
How are you lately as a photographer living in a world with the corona pandemic?
It is quite difficult here in Greece, there is a lot of oppression during the quarantine and too many restrictions, there are many violent episodes and so much cruelty from the government for so long. I was depressed and not in the mood to shoot so I hardly shoot just a roll in a period of two months. I tried to be creative too but I was so confused, I had many ideas and appetite but it was not working. Things now are looser so I am more optimistic.
When and how did you get into film photography?
Let’s say that four years ago, a friend gave me a compact camera with an expired roll and told me to try it for fun and told me they think I was gonna like it.
Can you tell us how you started with black and white photography?
I started with expired color film for fun (zen200) but it was not working so I quitted, and then after some months I tried black and white and it worked because there was simplicity, a nostalgic feeling, and highlighting of the tones of the image that were adding a calmness which was easier to communicate.
You shoot a lot of personal, everyday 'scenes' yet the photographs turn out enigmatic at first glance. May you walk us through your personal style/aesthetic with your photography?
When I shoot a photo I am hoping that I will manage to reveal a different angle of how we are seeing things, we are used to seeing and making no impression. We can make simple things interesting. Nature, light, shapes, and body expressions, like postures and gestures, are those inspiring elements that catch my attention.
One thing I noticed is how you photograph a lot of hands, and how the face is often hidden, cropped, or obscured. Is there a meaning behind these?
I was also questioning myself about that. The face usually is a very expressive part of ourselves, when we look at a face we lose a lot of information from anything else that surrounds it. I feel that our body and especially our hands are more honest and apocalyptic about our true feelings and intentions.
I also avoid shooting faces because of a more personal reason. I usually know my models very well and I don’t feel very comfortable looking at them frozen in the photos facing me. Anyhow, I am not interested in shooting portraits yet!
Where do you get inspiration from?
From music, movies, photos, and everyday life.
Lastly, what's next for Erasmia?
I want to try medium and large-format and different ways of printing and who knows.
Thanks for chatting with us, Erasmia! Visit their Instagram for more of their work!