Film maker Achilleas Gatsopoulos has been using revolog films for some years now, this year his Streak photograph is the November picture of the revolog calendar. In this interview he talks about how he came to work with analog material and he speaks about new projects.
Where are you from, how old are you?
I come from Athens, Greece but have been living abroad since 21 years (10 all around UK, 11 in Berlin). I will start my last year of 30s in December, so I can still say 38 til then.
Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself how your love for photography started out?
I have always been very visual, starting from drawing – which I still consider my main skill somehow – and moving to design, graphics and film-making among others. I always knew there would be a point I would get into photography but I just let it come naturally instead of rushing it. I have been probably doing it for 8-9 years or so, not longer. I think that it was a direct and more practical way to get a better understand of lighting, framing as well as more traditional technical ideas ( relationship of aperture, ISO, shutter) to help me in my filming.
Do you professionally work as a photographer?
I am already working as many different things within the visual medium so I somehow tried to keep photography more personal. I see it more as having fun and trying out things. I think the few times I accepted to do it professionally were when photography was combined with music (e.g. artist portraits).
Why do you like to take analog pictures? Do you shoot digital as well?
My film-making is digital and I also come from a digital background when it comes to post-production, compositing, editing, motion graphics etc. I started with digital photography. However, after a bit (I guess when I felt I got the technical side of things) I got really bored of it. I don’t like the fact that you know exactly what you’re getting neither do I like the fact that I was always tempted to spend hours perfecting the digital shots. With analogue photography I found my match so to speak. I love how you are far more selective in what you shoot as well as how in effect you are doing your best to just allow the medium to work its magic. No need for retouching, everything is more organic, atmospheric and cinematic. Happy accidents welcome! I love experimentation (double exposures, film soups etc) and that’s the main reason I started anyway. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I came across Revolog films!
Is there a certain background story behind the picture that is featured in November of our 2019 calendar? If so, would you like to share it with us?
This was shot on a small ferry between Mykonos and Delos, in Greece. I am going to an island called Naxos every summer with my family. Delos is an uninhabited island between Naxos and Mykonos. It used to be a major religious site and port in ancient times. It is currently an amazing archaeological site, really worth visiting. Unfortunately the day trip also included some hours in Mykonos (which I personally hate due to its vibe – the place is beautiful). I went to meet a friend who was at a beach therebut everything was so busy and generally impossible to get around. In the end I had to run like hell to not miss the ferry, like a movie. I think this photo is 1 minute after I managed to hop on, still catching my breath.
Do you have a favorite subject to photograph? If so, why?
I think as it may be obvious from my instagram feed I tend to focus on two things: travel photography (mostly landscape/architecture) as well as people (mostly female models). I think that the approach on the latter is often stylised and with creative concepts rather than every day snaps or simple portraits. I must admit I currently feel less inclined to shoot because everyone is using colour lights nowadays. I love that look and have been lighting this way since 2008 or so. So I am currently coming up with other experiments to try.
What’s your favorite analog camera?
I happened to use a Pentax K1000 from a friend once and I was really jealous. I got an MX but somehow the light meter is temperamental so I haven’t used it much yet.I would say the cameras I use most are an old Praktica and the Lomo LC-A ( I am still amazed every time I use this). I do like some other ones too, like for example I reallyenjoy shooting with Lomography Colorsplash’s bulb mode. For travel, I had a Leica C3 in Mexico and I really liked it. Sadly it stopped working couple of weeks after I got back.I looked online to find some alternative and ended up in a Rollei Prego90. I really like the practicality and results (especially the “wide” letterboxed mode) but I hate the soft shutter button.
Do you have a favorite revolog film?
I think the one I have used most is Kolor, which I love. But I must admit, when Kosmos came out it may have become my favourite now.I love the otherworldly look and finesse of it. I first tried it in the pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico and the result was just breathtaking for me.I am shooting something on the Tesla though soon, and I am really looking forward to this too.
Do you have any future projects you’d like to talk about?
I guess in terms of analogue projects, yes there is something I started with my friend Tenia Dimakopoulou. It’s a joint project called LERA @lera.berlin We are shooting some band/artists photos for now but we are setting up a workflow for some simple analogue Super 8 videos.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Too bad we don’t make Super8 revolog films!
Follow Achilleas on his instagram account: @lomohypnagogia