Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis
For more than 20 years Dionisis Koutsis serves the art of photography as a passionate professional photographer. His love for photography drove him to create inspirational courses in order to share the beauty of the art. He worked in the Greek TV with all the celebrities and does photoshoots around the world as he creates and produces eccentric concepts in the fashion industry. He has been awarded for his talent, ethic and attitude as a photographer many times. Now, he’s a member of the most important photography competition in Greece. Recently, his inspiration is housed in his studio branded “Black Studio Art”. It is a fully equipped studio open to all of his friends who want to share their passion for photography. This place with a minimal industrial glimpse is devoted to the lovers of art.
When was the first time you remember yourself taking photos professionally?
My first professional photo shoot was a disaster. It was a speech at a convention and I only took art photos. They liked them a lot but they wanted basic commercial ones. I realised that commercial photos are also necessary.
What is the right composition in a photograph?
The correct composition is everything in photography – it’s what it makes a good photographer stands out. It’s very important how you place the subject in the frame and what you leave out of the frame. If you don’t have a good “aesthetic” then you don’t have a good composition.
Where do you get your inspiration from for a nice photograph?
Inspiration has to do with studies, education and experience. When they explain to me the concept of a photoshoot, I create images in my mind. Usually, the first ones are the “correct” ones. I believe that when you let reasoning comes in, then things go wrong. I believe that emotions should carry you away.
What kind of gear do you use?
I use mirrorless cameras – I think that they are much better, smaller and lighter and very stylish. On the other hand, I like shooting portraits with an old ’80s Polaroid.
Which is your favorite lens? And why?
My favourite lens is the 135MM, for its very nice mise-en-scene frame. Recently, I’ve also been shooting portraits with wide lens.
Among all the photographic gadgets you use which one wouldn’t have bought?
I only like buying the essential.
When you go in on one of your travels, which equipment do you take with you?
I try to travel as light as possible. Two cameras and the necessary lens, a small tripod and compact lighting.
What are the settings you love to use in outdoors and indoors photographs?
When I’m shooting outdoors with natural light I use aperture priority – I don’t want to worry about changes in natural light, I want to focus on the concept. In the studio, I only use manual settings.
Taking a photo is a need of self-motivation or money earning?
It started as an inner need to express myself – at that time, I had had another job. When I decided to devote completely to photography, I decided that I would do it also as a profession. That’s why I try to find interest even in concepts that don’t seem to be interesting at first glance.
Do you prefer landscape or portrait photographs?
I prefer portrait!! Ideally, people that I admire. It’s a magical procedure, I try to capture their personality, their soul, with one click.
What would be the ideal photograph for you?
I’m not sure…I think luck has played its part – I have only three pictures like that for the time being.
Is it easy for a photographer to create a concept and implement it once the people who participate in may have a different opinion?
Well, this is the constant battle of photographers with clients who don’t understand the photographer’s “vision”. Usually people think inside the box- they want to spend some money and be certain about the outcome, so they want to reproduce what they’ve seen before. The photographer’s job is to produce new, “fresh” ideas.
What are some of the celebrities you have photographed?
I’m very lucky to have shot portraits of Sakis Rouvas, Eleni Foureira, Helena Paparizou, Spyros Fokas and lots more of famous Greeks. With all due respect, the best portrait is Zachos Chatzifotiou, the ultimate Greek bon viveur and my childhood idol.
There are different types of photography genre, which one is your favorite one?
I like a lot the studio photoshoots but many times, I feel the need to go out on the street and start photographing.
Still photography or motion picture?
I can’t choose – I’d have to say both.
What are some of the projects you’re working on?
I’m always “pushing” myself towards something more creative – I’m never satisfied. My near future plan is to photograph some well-known fashion models.
Any future plans?
I also want to work again in Dubai – I really enjoyed the cooperation with Moda Dynastie so far, and I believe it’ll happen again soon.