Myrmidones_photo-book

Let There Be Light

Interview By Alexia Amvrazi | July 21st, 2022 about MYRMIΔΟNES to Greece-is.com

Myrmidones_photo-book

In an ode to his native island of Aegina, the photographer talks to Greece Is about its people, its light, and the experiences that shaped his book.

It took 20 years and over 2000 photos for Dimitris Vlaikos to decide it was time to place the soul of his work into the body of a beautiful hard-cover coffee table book that could grace homes around the world.

Titled “Myrmidones” after the name given to the inhabitants of his native Aegina (the introduction aptly explains the various possibilities of where the name originates), the book is composed of images depicting an extraordinary blend of local characters, landscapes and everyday details. The book is mostly anthropocentric, because Vlaikos has honed the art of capturing his subjects’ personal essence without guidance, a talent that has gained him a great reputation as a portrait artist and numerous assignments to photograph well known personalities.

 

Leafing through the book was a deeply touching experience. The way in which the photographer has captured the essence of his subjects – human or not – makes it an ode of sorts to his home island, rich in emotion, but characterized by stark realism.

Vlaikos spends half of the year in Aegina, chiefly during the summer months, and the rest of his time travels to and fro between various work projects. By creating this book, it seems as if he has established an unbreakable bond with the Saronic island’s people, land and elements, regardless of where he finds himself.

It’s apparent by looking at your book that you harbor a great love for your island.

There are amazing people living there, and it is multifaceted in a way that I’ve rarely witnessed elsewhere. Also, what I love about Aegina is that you can be sitting at a café where there’s a minister drinking coffee and at the table next to him, a fisherman – and the waiter will treat each of them with the same courtesy – or the same rudeness! Some people have described the island as ataxic. You feel and see that.

I think that has a lot to do with the fact that most of the island is flat – so all houses are on the same level, and everyone has the same access and right to light. It’s the same with the sea. There aren’t some beaches that are more exclusive than others, anyone can go to any beach, or rock, and swim. Overall, Aegina seems to bring out a life force in people, and if you’re the kind of person that wants to evolve, it offers you that possibility.”

How did the book project evolve?

 

The Myrmidones reached a very high level of civilization in antiquity thanks to the elements of their land – the rock, the light, the sea, the raw materials, their drive to create. And until today, these elements remain essentially the same. So the book was my way of juxtaposing the Myrmidones of the past with those of today.

I also wanted to create a book that is like an art object, a beautiful memento to have in one’s house. I put a lot of care into every aspect – including the use of only black ink, which is very rare. I collaborated with a very good friend, the graphic artist Dimitris Makaratzis, who created the cover, as well as Despina Giannouli, who wrote the texts (in Greek and English) and is my wife and writes and directs theatre plays. My professor Vasilis Artikos, whose exhibition “In drum and dance at the rock-cut churches of Lalibela” is currently on show the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens, provided much advice and support, as well as other close friends.

How does the light of Aegina and influence your work?

 

In my research, I centered on the various elements of light. [In the book, Despoina Giannouli writes: “Thanks to the geomorphology of the island, almost all of its inhabitants can savor the light from sunrise to sunset. The paspara, the white stone and the fine-grained soil reflect the sun’s rays intensifying the colors of nature.”]

 

It’s not by chance that Nikos Kazantzakis lived there for 20-30 years, or Giannis Moralis, for most of his life, or Christos Kapralos, or the poet Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, and they all produced their work there – it wasn’t their place for holidays but for creative work. And today the island is home to over 100 artists, so this land, and especially its light has something special that has drawn so many creators from antiquity until the present day. Light is my tool, it’s what made me want to evolve my art.

Apart from light, what do you feel are the other strong elements that inspired this work?

I think the energy of the land plays a significant role, but that’s not something that I can define with words. In the book’s introduction to the origin of the name Myrmidones, one of the ways they’re defined is that they were “the people of the “myriad vibrations,” as Aegina was considered to be a region of strong and sacred energy vibrations, a place fertile for spiritual development.

 

How did you put the book together?

An important part of this book is the rhythm one follows as one turns the pages. I wanted it to create in the viewer a musical rhythm, a transition from image to image through a story of sorts, like a journey.

Hand of a farmer, Mesagros. © Dimitris Vlaikos / "Myrmidones" book cover. © Dimitris Vlaikos

What will become of the rest of the photos you’ve taken?

They will remain in my archives, and maybe I’ll use them in future. I have a space in my studio/gallery space in Aegina where, upon appointment, one can come and see exhibits.

MYRMIDONES_dimitris_vlaikos_photo

Central distribution of “Myrmidones” is at “Lixnari Aegina” Bookstore. E-mail: lixnari@otenet.gr. Tel: +30 22970 26424. Shipments are made throughout Greece and abroad.


Nikos_Stampolidis_Acropolis_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece

Nikos Stampolidis

Portrait photography for Nikos Stampolidis Director-General of the Acropolis Museum. The Acropolis Museum is included in the best museums in the world, while during its twelve-year operation has created new data in the country’s museum landscape. The selection of Prof. Nikos Stampolidis creates new perspectives and offers additional dynamics to a Museum that has attracted important international distinctions and (has gained) the preference of visitors from Greece and abroad. Nikos Stampolidis, an archaeologist with award-winning work, in addition to being a scholar with excellent training, is a man with a modern understanding of both archaeology and the connection between culture and society. It has the knowledge, the mood, and the vision so that the Acropolis Museum can dynamically continue its highly successful work, as well as expand and multiply its activities “.

Nikos_Stampolidis_Acropolis_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece

Nikos_Stampolidis_Acropolis_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece

Nikos_Stampolidis_Acropolis_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece


Ioannis_angelakis__by_portrait_advertising_headshot_photographer_athens_greece

Ioannis Angelakis

"I was born in Thessaloniki in 1988 but grew up in Athens. I'm a composer of contemporary experimental music, working, that is, with classical acoustic instruments and exploring idiosyncratic aspects of their physicality. I seek to discover sounds that are not fully controllable by the performers; that are inherently unstable and constantly moving; that entail a particular logic in the way that they unfold; that presup- pose a particular body-instrument relationship, and that call fora new mode of listening, disentangled from classical
forms and traditional parameters and intended for the kind of pleasure that arises from the revelation of sound's internal structures. structures.
Greekness" is expressed in my music through the violent use of instruments, the bluntness of the human voices, and the constant strife between two contradictory elements: disparate musical materials that remain indeterminate and anarchic, and a determinate structure that violently imposes form on the formless and shape on the shapeless. I think that all Greek tragedies thematize the violence stemming from this conflict: a man striving, without order, to shape his course within a condition that is predetermined by the gods. However, violence and bluntness in my work are not just sonic events that point to the Greek identity of my music. They also demarcate violence and barbarism as political concepts. I want my work to be revealing, not because of its bold themes but because the violence in the sound may give prominence to our fragility and vulnerability."

The portrait photography of the composer Ioannis Angelakis took place in his studio in Athens for Electra Hotels Magazine.

Text by Natasha Blatsioy.

Ioannis_angelakis__by_portrait_advertising_headshot_photographer_athens_greece

Ioannis_angelakis__by_portrait_advertising_headshot_photographer_athens_greece

 

Ioannis_angelakis__by_portrait_advertising_headshot_photographer_athens_greece

 


skate_by_portrait_advertising_headshot_photographer_athens_greece

Athens Rollerskating

With a look at parks and sports venues, one will notice that next to the bikes and skateboards there are also skates. "K" magazine met in OAKA the team of City Skaters of Athens, to learn the secrets behind the new hobby that conquered the open spaces and streets of Greece during the pandemic.In what categories are skates divided? What are the capabilities of each type and how much does a good pair of rollers cost? Is it the sense of freedom it offers to the members of City Skaters of Athens and motivated them to engage in this hobby in their spare time? How did the pandemic become the perfect timing to "slip" on the streets and in the parks? What kind of routes are there for beginners and advanced? What are the reactions of the drivers who meet them on the avenues of Athens? Are there other groups that deal with different types of rollerskating in Greece? And finally, is it an easy hobby for someone who has no experience and is curious to do it? The published roller skaters portraits photographs follows.
Text by Pantelis Tsombanis

 


Periklis_Koskinas_chef_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece_advertising_commercial_headshot_Dimitris_Vlaikos

Periklis Koskinas

Periklis Koskinas from the age of 19 he travels non-stop "plowing" the continents in search of new experiences, different cultures in England, France, Scotland, Spain, America, Canada, Venezuela, Athens.
Through the prism of the seasonality and locality of the ingredients, the quality, the rules and the limits set by the Greek cuisine, it shaped its techniques, philosophy and course in the world of cooking.
Subtraction and moderation determine his food.
Tireless traveler and uncompromising cook. Philosophical theoretical knowledge and knowledge of the social sciences are considered essential tools for him in his profession. The images of his wanderings, the memory and the man mark his food and not the recipes. For him, cooking is the art of everyday life, it is what is left on the table, after a Sunday meal. In 2014, he opened the restaurant Cookoovaya, in the Hilton area, as a co-owner with 5 other top chefs. Cokoovaya in its fifth year, is still among the top restaurants in the country and full every day.
I had the pleasure of working with him many times and being part of his projects. His headshots portraits follows.

 

Periklis_Koskinas_chef_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece_advertising_commercial_headshot_Dimitris_Vlaikos

Periklis_Koskinas

Periklis_Koskinas

 


Giorgos_marinos_by_portrait_advertising_headshot_photographer_athens_greece-1

George Marinos

George Marinos is a poet, songwriter and storyteller. He was born and raised in Athens. From a very early age, as a troubadour, he was kneaded in Plaka's bars. He emigrated in the early 1960s with a suitcase of dreams to travel all over Europe. For a long time he stayed in France and Switzerland, to end up in 1965 in Denmark where he started a family and many books. There he worked as a clown educator, for several years, where he also created the "suitcase theater". Many of his books have been translated into Danish and Swedish for children, and have been published successfully in these countries. He has also composed many of his songs, which were released in the Greek discography. To date, he has written 36 short and poetic books as well as theater for children, while his poems are contained in the textbooks of the first and second grade of primary schools. Extremely talented, he has become known as a pedagogue, novelist, poet, composer, while at the same time he worked as a clown in many countries, such as: Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Catalonia, etc. In this last capacity he has also appeared in children's shows on Greek television. In recent years he has been living permanently in Aegina.

 

Giorgos_marinos_by_portrait_advertising_headshot_photographer_athens_greece-1


Leoni_Thanasoula_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece_headshot_Dimitris_Vlaikos

Leoni Thanasoula

Do you have a great story to tell? Did you or your ancestors live a full life that you want to share? Are you looking for your roots? Leoni Thanasoula and her Precious Tree helps you keep and transfer your experiences as a legacy of wisdom and love to future generations.

 


Dr.Athanasios_Dimopoulos_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece_advertising_commercial_headshot_Dimitris_Vlaikos-7

Dr. Athanasios Dimopoulos

Dr. Athanasios Dimopoulos is the Rector at the University of Athens. Professor of Hematology-Oncology,
Director of the Therapeutic Clinic of the National Medical School and
Kapodistrian University of Athens. Headshot for Greece is Health of Kathimerini News.

Dr.Athanasios_Dimopoulos_by_portrait_photographer_athens_greece_advertising_commercial_headshot_Dimitris_Vlaikos-7


Headshot photography for the coach of Panathinaikos FC Laszlo Boloni

Laszlo Boloni

Headshot photography for the coach of Panathinaikos FC Laszlo Boloni


Panathinaikos_FC_christmass2020_campaign_by_Dimitris_Vlaikos

Panathinaikos FC Christmass 2020 campaign

In this advertising photography campaign for the Panathinaikos FC. the goal was to give the message of hope to the followers. "The Panathinaikos Football Club family, send us a present. The light of collectivity we need, the light of Christmass."

Photography: Dimitris Vlaikos
Set Design: Rosa Karac
Video: Thanasis Patistas
Asist A: Antonis Kavouris
Asist B: Panagiotis Andriopoulos

In this advertising photography campaign for the Panathinaikos FC. the goal was to give the message of the light of collectivity, the light of Christmass."
In this advertising photography campaign for the Panathinaikos FC. the goal was to give the message of the light of collectivity, the light of Christmass."
In this advertising photography campaign for the Panathinaikos FC. the goal was to give the message of the light of collectivity, the light of Christmass."
In this advertising photography campaign for the Panathinaikos FC. the goal was to give the message of the light of collectivity, the light of Christmass."
In this advertising photography campaign for the Panathinaikos FC. the goal was to give the message of the light of collectivity, the light of Christmass."