November 11, 2022
IN CONVERSATION WITH MARILENA FILAITI
Photography by Marilena Filaiti
Interview by Karen Ghostlaw Pomarico
Marilena Filaiti is living proof of the importance that photography can make in your life. It was an enlightening experience for Marilena, giving her more understanding of herself and the world she exists in.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Marilena's father worked for the United Nations and was appointed to work in Africa where he lived with his wife for eleven years and where Marilena was born. They returned to Greece when Marilena was four years old, and her mother was pregnant with her brother, who was born in Athens. Both of their parents had a cosmopolitan upbringing. Marilena’s father, a descendant from the Egyptian Greeks and her mother from Istanbul, with a lineage of Greek descent, felt it important to pass their culture and heritage to their children.
Marilena fell in love with the man she then married at a very young age and they soon started their family, a value important to Marilena, a legacy from her Mother. Caring and parenting three children created a demanding life that challenged Marilena, taking on many different jobs along the way to help make a good home for her family. Marilena ultimately took a job that gave her exposure and a chance to learn about marketing utilizing specialized multimedia tools that related to photography. These tools and their applications gave Marilena the inspiration to take up and explore the “Art of Photography”. Fascinated by Photography, she bought her first camera and started experimenting with her new tool, it wasn't long before she entered her first photography contest and was hooked.
She decided to penetrate the world of photography and learn as much as she could. Her first teacher, Tolis Chatzignatiou, inspired her first steps and for three years he supported Marilena's development as a photographer. Tolis Chatzignatiou taught Marilena the Principles of Photography and how to clearly choose for herself what she wishes to include in her frame. She made many educational trips with the photographic group "Routes" , even getting close to her father's birthplace, an experience powerful for Marilena.
Marilena was thirsty to learn more and more about Photography, to go deeper and deeper, to be able to create meaningful photographs of her own. Marilena wanted to expand her knowledge and understanding of photography and immersed herself in photography workshops led by Lukas Vasilikos in October 2021. He has been an excellent teacher and mentor to Marilena, guiding her in her search within herself to find what she wants to express, while exposing her to new ideologies, working with his direction to create powerful sensational images that have much meaning. This motivating and influential experience gave birth to Marilena's first solo project, AWAKENING INSTINCTS, through which Marilena shares her insightful presentation of her project and her photography. We wish her much inspiration in her quest to create powerful intimate images that speak from the heart.
"For the first time I saw my work complete. I continue today to grow personally and as a photographer by studying with Lukas. He keeps pushing me to work on new projects that allow me to express myself. Less need for words, more opportunities for visual inspiration."