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#2 LUKAS VASILIKOS, Athens Street Photographer

Dog pissing


Leica Liker is honored to have Lukas Vasilikos, Athens Street Photographer, as the Second Inspirational Guest!

You can tell when a street photographer lives, breathes and dreams his images. And Lukas Vasilikos is surely the personification. His passion once was to be a decathalon athlete, but when he decided to give it up, he needed to fill it with a new one. After taking a photography seminar where he was exposed to the masters he knew he had found his new passion.

When I first saw Lukas’ street photographs, I was struck by the sense of theatrics within each frame. People placed on a stage and frozen at that moment in time. They also possess a somewhat intellectual quality, much like a chess player strategically moving chess pieces on a board. Above all they appear surreal and dream-like.

To balance his photography palette, Lukas works on personal projects where he stages each shot with friends or family. He shoots these primarily in black and white, evoking tremendous emotion. It’s his way to explore themes like fear and fear of loss through death.


“Loss is like having nightmares. You can’t control them. So I try to confront it by photographing my wife, friends and family, the way I see them. I direct and control my personal shots whereas my street photographs require luck to play a role.”

What makes Lukas’ street and personal photographs stand out is the fact he delves into his own psyche, whether he thinks about it consciously or sub-consciously. It is the essence of his personal style. You can see the surrealistic, melancholic thread that runs through all of Lukas’ photos, even if they appear at first somewhat distant. It somehow drives and shapes his photographic eye. I find myself always drawn to them with great empathy.

Here is my interview with LUKAS VASILIKOS:

Nick Name: I have no nick name.
Currently living in: A suburb of Athens, Greece.
Motto: I don’t have one.
Profession/Job: I’m a Policeman. But I keep my job completely separate from my private and creative life. It provides me steady income so that I can pursue my interests.

Street Photographer since: I started in 2007 after a trip to Barcelona, Spain.
Websites: www.lukasvasilikos.com and www.flickr.com/photos/vasilikos/
Organizations or Group: http://www.street-photographers.com and http://www.streephers.com

Favorite Street Camera & Lens: I use a Canon 5D Mark II with 35mm f/2 lens
Back-up Street Camera & Lens: Panasonic Lx3. But I rarely use it.
Favorite photography gadget: I have a plastic Diana lens for my Canon.
Favorite street food: Just coffee :-).
Do you listen to music while shooting? Never. I want to be focussed on my “theater”.
Favorite music when editing Photos: Mostly Jazz.
Favorite photo software: I start with Lightroom 3 and then CS5.

3 Favorite Master Photographers: I like Garry Winogrand, Diana Arbus and Andre Kertez. Of course I like many photographers but I prefer these 3.
3 Favorite Contemporary Photographers: Martin Parr, Michael Ackerman (Agence VU), Anders Petersen.
Which 3 photographers’ prints do you own? I don’t have any prints.

Color or Black and White? Both. It depends on the project. I prefer color for street photography these days.
Shoot Film or Digital? Digital. Because I don’t have time and money to waste :-). But the truth is, I bought myself a Mamiya 6×4.5 to try out film.
Is there a special time of the day you like to shoot or is any time good? I generally don’t have a problem with the time of day. I will shoot any time of day if that’s the only opportunity I have. However, in Athens, our sun is so strong that during the day the harsh light is not so conducive to shooting. Images come out over blown. But I like the light after 4 o’clock in the afternoon when the light has a sheen. Everything glows. Faces look beautiful, everything looks great.

Why did you choose Street Photography and not another form of photography or stamp collecting? Street photography makes me feel free. All my senses are on alert and I like the “hunt”: to find and catch the right moment. I also take photos in the night, but that’s a whole different project I’m working on. It’s more personal. I can explore emotions like death, loss…
What motivates you to photograph the streets? I like to catch the moment that will never come back and make my personal world through my camera.

Is Street Photography an obsession? Yes, I think about it all the time except for my family. I’ve been shooting the streets for five years. If I continue like this, I think my head will explode. :-)
Are you a lone shooter or do you like shooting with friends or a group? I am definitely a loner when it comes to street photography. I want to concentrate and be open to all aspects of life. When I am with friends or a group, I want to socialize with them. So I can’t get any photography done.
Favorite street photography city: Every city has different things to shoot. I like Istanbul. but I also like Paris. Two large cities which are so different from each other.
Athens is the city that I live in but it’s very difficult to do street photography here. There are motorbikes and cars everywhere. :-)

What inspires your photography? Other photographers and cinema. I’ve already listed some photographers but in cinema I love Andrei Tarkovsky’s work.

What do you look for in a good photograph? Firstly, I look at the lines-composition and the surface/texture of each photo. Then I try to think what the photographer wanted to say or convey through the photo. What the “meaning” is per se, etc..

How do you go about shooting a street photograph? For street work, I do it in two parts. First I find a background to wait for something to happen that is in itself surreal or strange. I then wait for the right elements from people, things, animals, whatever, to walk into my frame. I know when I find a good background, I just have to be patient. Because the good shot happens most of the time.

For example, when I was walking one day, I saw a woman with a dog and waited for them to pass. That in itself was not enough for a photograph. But very often if you keep looking, another element will come along and connect to your first element or to a new element. In this case, the woman with the red purse walked into the frame in the same area as the red fire hydrant and the dog.

The other way I shoot the streets is to simply walk. I take a lot of photos and each time I try to add something to the frame. For instance, one day I was just walking, composing as I went. Then I came upon this couple in the ferry and the woman outside just happen to be in the shot.

Best 3 tips for shooting the streets:
1) Stay alert all the time. The good photo will suddenly appear before your eyes just for a split moment. You have to be ready to push the button without thinking.
2) When you shoot, don’t think. If you think you’ll miss your point of focus. There’s plenty of time after shooting, at home or wherever, to think about your mistakes and to delete those photos :-).
3) Drink coffee before shooting. You’ll be alert and have more confidence :-).
Best single advice on how to improve your work: Shoot every single day. Don’t be lazy. After 6 months you’ll see the difference.
Best single advice on how to edit your work: I use burn and dodge to improve my photos. This is my advice :-).
Best single advice for someone who wants to get into street photography: Think of a project. Then go out to shoot it. It will make you more focussed. For instance, if you choose shadows as one of your projects. Then just focus on shadows. After a couple of times out shooting you’ll see things that you missed before because you’re watching everything around you.

What’s the best moment in your street photography career? My work was exhibited in the Athens Photo Festival. They chose me from 1200 photographers.
What’s the worst moment in your street photography career? Until now, I haven’t experienced any of those moments.
What projects are you working on? On the street, I continue to try to catch surreal moments of everyday life. But you can see my on-going project “Red”, in which I add the color ‘red’ in my photos as part of the composition. You can see it here http://www.flickr.com/photos/vasilikos/sets/72157623503294932/
Another project is the “Brightest spot” that I worked on for 3 years. You can see it here http://www.flickr.com/photos/vasilikos/sets/72157603880835703/
Where do you want to be in 5 years with regard to street photography? First of all I want to have fun when I take photos. And when I’m ready, I want to publish a book that will collect all of my best photos from the streets.

Leica Liker thanks Lukas for sharing his thoughts and experience with us. We will definitely revisit him again to see his progress.
You can check out Lukas’ gear in Liker Bags’n Gear here.

126 Comments Post a comment
  1. Proprio un bellissimo lavoro!

    April 22, 2012
  2. Thanks for the interview.
    A wonderful street photographer!

    April 22, 2012
    • Thanks Valery and Massimo for reading. I hope you’ll come back. I have other interviews coming up. :-)

      April 22, 2012
    • Your photos really are surreal, captivating, and truly artistic! Well done! And amazing tips, too!

      May 3, 2012
    • The shots are great!

      May 3, 2012
  3. Awesome blog..like it very much

    May 2, 2012
  4. nice pictures

    May 3, 2012
  5. It’s difficult to differentiate which ones are staged and which are candid street. I prefer black and white for the same fact as written in the post. To capture the emotion at it’s best. Being a street photographer, i find these images really fascinating and makes me realize that there’s so much more to street photography than what meets the eye.

    May 3, 2012
    • agree!

      May 3, 2012
    • None were staged. That’s what’s amazing about them. To get these moments, takes a keen eye, and being in tune with humanity. Thanks for stopping by. Check out more inspiring interviews/photos under “Inspiration”.

      May 3, 2012
  6. amazing photos!

    May 3, 2012
  7. we love athens…

    May 3, 2012
  8. Janet #

    The shot with the couple on the ferry gave me chills.

    May 3, 2012
  9. get rid of single life, have it a try!

    May 3, 2012
  10. Todd Materazzi Photography #

    And hope your journey continues!

    May 3, 2012
  11. 420stylezz #

    lucaaaaaaaaaa

    May 3, 2012
  12. wow!

    This is not photography , this is ART!

    el

    May 3, 2012
  13. An amazing Greek photographer, whom someday I’ll meet from close!
    His street photographs are simply fantastic.

    May 3, 2012
  14. hallo

    May 3, 2012
  15. These are just beautiful with an incredible sense of foreboding. I’m so glad this post was FP’d as seeing these have really inspired me today :)

    May 3, 2012
  16. Lukas’ street photographs was amazing.This is beautiful photography with incredible sense.
    Thanks for sharing.

    May 3, 2012
  17. The dog peeing was funny. Good interview and thanks for sharing your photography.

    May 3, 2012
  18. Love your work.

    May 3, 2012
  19. “Foberh douleia, Luka.”

    He really captures the mood of many Greeks living in Athens during these uncertain, dark times.

    May 3, 2012
  20. A lot of good pictures! I like how he captures people in unlikely ways with the camera, a method I don’t see very often–extremely artistic!

    May 3, 2012
  21. Really really beautiful photography thank you for sharing.

    May 3, 2012
  22. Wow very original photos – it’s a different class of photography which makes it all the more interesting.

    Katie

    http://katieraspberry.wordpress.com/

    May 3, 2012
  23. Beautiful black and whites!

    May 3, 2012
  24. As a person who lives in Athens i cant believe how dirty those steps in Sydagma square are i mean seriously pff

    May 3, 2012
  25. hahahaha!!! the first picture is ridiculously hilarious!! lol.. I love it… :-)

    May 3, 2012
  26. Fabulous pictures.

    May 3, 2012
  27. Tom G #

    This work is mind-blowing. Just beautiful.

    May 3, 2012
  28. such beautiful and intense photographs! great post, I’ll be sure to check out more in the future!

    May 3, 2012
  29. Thanks so much for the interview! It was great to go beyond the wonderful photos and to take a look at the man behind the lens himself for a change. I was especially struck when he encouraged us to “shoot everyday” (maybe I’ll try that out sometime? Haha!). Thanks again, congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    May 3, 2012
    • Thanks for the compliments. Hope you’ll come back again. Meanwhile, check out more interviews to learn more about the people behind the photos under “Inspiration”.

      May 3, 2012
  30. Blackmatter Mediaship #

    Reblogged this on Black Matter Mediaship and commented:
    Interesting Selection Here

    May 3, 2012
  31. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing, what an amazing photographer.

    May 3, 2012
  32. I like the way you capture the object’s expressions.

    May 3, 2012
  33. Thanks for letting me discover this wonderful photographer – ab fab pictures!

    May 3, 2012
  34. Elle #

    splendid series!

    May 3, 2012
  35. Yassus!

    Having an enormous love of Athens and Greece in general, with a huge part of my heart forever lodged there, I cannot describe just how much your post here has stirred my emotions and my only wish there was more!! I have had the pleasure of seeing my beautiful Greece through another’s eyes and in ways that I haven’t seen it myself. I am fondly remembering the time I spent there and the wonderful nature of the Grecians, particularly the Athenians. I love Hellas! Efkharisto !!

    Amanda :o)

    May 3, 2012
  36. This looks like a fun hobby, I’d actually never heard of Street Photography before. And wow — thanks for all the exceptional insight and commentary!

    May 3, 2012
    • Street Photography is very creative isnt it?

      May 3, 2012
      • I think it is extremely creative. You have to put together so many elements. Check out Mario Cuic and John Goldsmith’s interviews under “Inspiration”. There’s a lot of humor and creativity.

        May 3, 2012
  37. great photographs!

    May 3, 2012
  38. How fortunate for you that you were able to schedule such an epic interview. These shots are an exciting to view. His work truly is an inspiration. I’m hearing, in his advice, some really good points (eg. be alert, keep ready, use capable equipment and software…) coupled with…. you just have to be that good! :-)

    May 3, 2012
    • Thanks for the compliments. You can check out Mario Cuic and John Goldsmith’s epic interviews under “Inspiration”.

      May 3, 2012
  39. Great photos. The man on the ferry seems to be enjoying the view while his wife sleeps! ;-)

    May 3, 2012
  40. Wow! the pictures are a work of art, and truly inspirational for any photographer. Street photography is all about catching the moment and with a bit of luck getting the right picture. His photos show some hilarious instances that are only available in that short time frame. I try to use his moto of always being alert when taking pictures in my own street project, with a twist http://www.acairominute.wordpress.com

    May 3, 2012
    • HI Cairo backpacker- Thanks for the compliments. YOu should check out interviews with Mario Cuic and John Goldsmith under “Inspiration”. There’s more humor there. I love your photos too.

      May 3, 2012
  41. nice post!
    τέλειες φώτο!!

    May 3, 2012
  42. Very interesting pictures and I particularly appreciated the Q&A and great, practical photo advice given since I’m about to take an intro SLR course.

    May 3, 2012
    • Thanks for visiting. You can learn more from Mario Cuic and John Goldsmith’s interviews a well as future interviews under “Inspiration”.

      May 3, 2012
  43. Constance V. Walden #

    Interesting photographs. Thanks for sharing them. Connie

    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    May 3, 2012
  44. great photos

    May 3, 2012
  45. hahaha, that dog pissing on the couch is craaayy :) Thanks for the sunny pix!

    May 3, 2012
    • If you like sunny pix- Check out Mario Cuic and John Goldsmith interviews under “Inspiration”. YOu’ll find more humor.

      May 3, 2012
  46. Thanks a lot for the comments :-)

    May 3, 2012
  47. Wow this blog has a lot of hits, good job on the photography skills!

    May 3, 2012
    • Thanks for the compliments. Hope you keep coming back.

      May 3, 2012
  48. These absolutely fabulous people shots. I love the use of reflective glass in your artwork. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing

    May 3, 2012
  49. Alyssa #

    Great shots and cool effects! :)

    —————
    colorado springs divorce lawyers

    May 3, 2012
  50. A. S. Ellis #

    Inspiring photography! I am so pleased to have been introduced to you via Freshly Pressed!

    May 3, 2012
    • Thanks Freshly Pressed! Check out “Inspiration” for other cool photographers.

      May 3, 2012
  51. original. keep it up

    May 3, 2012
  52. These are great! i am inspired! I want to get into street photography myself…but i am waiting to get my new dslr

    May 3, 2012
    • Great! While you’re waiting, check out Mario Cuic and John Goldsmith’s interviews in “Inspiration”. And come back in the future to learn more!

      May 3, 2012
  53. Thanks for posting this!

    I love the shot of the couple in the car. The way the light shines on the ringed hand at the steering wheel…. Love it.

    ~Mike

    May 4, 2012
  54. wow great pic’s like it very much…

    May 4, 2012
  55. thank you all :-)

    http://www.lukasvasilikos.com

    May 4, 2012
  56. hey ! superb photography ,really appreciative…..

    May 4, 2012
  57. Joe Labriola #

    Wow, beautiful compilation. Well done.

    May 4, 2012
    • Thanks for the compliment. Please check out more under “Inspiration”

      May 4, 2012
  58. Very very good, like it a lot!

    May 4, 2012
  59. Reblogged this on YoNoFui and commented:
    Leica Liker
    Photography inspiration for this friday!

    May 4, 2012
    • Thanks for passing the love on! Check out Mario Cuic and John Goldsmith’s interviews under “Inspiration”.

      May 4, 2012
  60. Thanks for sharing these awesome photos!

    May 4, 2012
    • Thanks for the compliments. Check out more under “Inspiration”.

      May 4, 2012
  61. You are a modern day Stieglitz!

    May 4, 2012
  62. Amazing photos, would be awesome in frames

    May 4, 2012
  63. some really strong photos here, i like it very much :)

    May 4, 2012
  64. Inspiring photos and great tips, I recently purchased a professional camera, and look forward to experimenting with it. Thanx!

    May 4, 2012
  65. Excellent work. Passion shows. Thanks for sharing

    May 4, 2012
  66. Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I know the photos aren’t yours but thank you for introducing this wonderful photographer! Thank you!!! :D

    May 5, 2012
    • Hey Jpanda- Glad you liked it. You should check out the other fab photographers Mario Cuic & John Goldsmith and more in the future under “Inspiration”.

      May 5, 2012
      • I sure will. Thanks for the recommendation :)

        May 5, 2012
  67. Nice photos!

    May 5, 2012
  68. Great photos…

    May 5, 2012
  69. great great pics

    May 5, 2012
  70. Rai #

    I like how personal these are. Also YEAH FRESH PRESSED!!!!

    May 5, 2012
    • Yeas! Freshly Pressed! You should check out the other photographer interviews under “Inspiration”.

      May 6, 2012
  71. That was a wonderful interview, the photos are awesome :)

    May 6, 2012
    • Thanks for compliment. Check out the other interviews under “Inspiration”.

      May 6, 2012
  72. Chitij Karki #

    AWESOME PHOTOS! Just love the way that you have managed to capture the vivacity of Athens as a whole. The greatest achievement of an Artist is to create a window into the lives of the ordinary people.

    May 6, 2012
  73. Very inspiring – I’ll be out on the street tomorrow (in a good way!)

    May 6, 2012
    • Check out the other interviews for more inspiration- under “Inspiration” :-)

      May 6, 2012
  74. Really creative, original shots. Amazing work.

    May 6, 2012
  75. Hello, Your blog is great. Simple design and very useful, keep update your blog, I will frequently visit your blog.

    Anyway, visit my blog too http://www.blogohealth.com, may be there are articles that could be useful for you, do not forget to leave your comment, oke ^_^ …

    I am very happy if you put my blog in the blogroll on your blog. I will also put your blog on my blogroll. Let me know if you are also interested.

    Regards,
    Adam Kurniawan Mrg

    May 6, 2012
  76. Great, amazing, beautiful… ;)

    May 6, 2012
  77. Browsing through many wordpress sites and I came across your header.. Leica Liker. I love and use Leica in my photos. So, IM SOLD here. :)

    May 7, 2012
  78. Reblogged this on RoseS3's Pics.

    May 7, 2012
  79. beautiful photography! <3

    http://wattwewear.wordpress.com/

    May 7, 2012
  80. amazing

    May 7, 2012
  81. thanks for the comments and your compliments :-)

    May 7, 2012
  82. fouter #

    Great eye, your photographs are really intriguing

    May 8, 2012
  83. Hi- someone wrote a comment about getting an M-9 and asked a question. But it landed in in my spam filter and I inadvertently deleted it without fully realizing what I did. Can you please re-comment? Many thanks! Leica Liker

    May 8, 2012
  84. Great I like ^^

    May 15, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Lukas Vasilikos – Street Photography Tips « TIMELESS MEMORY
  2. Lukas Vasilikos: Street Photographer | Embroideries
  3. # 7 CHARALAMPOS KYDONAKIS, Rethymnon Street Photographer | Leica Liker
  4. Interview in Leica liker | Lukas Vasilikos

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