In this series ROLL THE DICE by Greek photographer Sofia Dalamagka, every image talks about the person. Human existence is hiding behind every capture. It concerns everyone who we are passing by at the same time, the ones that we meet randomly with a glimpse that we turn away afterwards. They are strangers but familiar in the same time. All of them are immersed in thoughts. They are searching for something? They are chasing something? Sometimes even their own selves. They are people with needs, desires, and fears. You can meet them at forgotten ports, in impersonal cities, on streets. They are connect through a deep loneliness and under the words that they do not dare to say. Are they seeking for joy? Recognition? Or maybe a taxi to go? Photography for Sofia is the mirror of the photographer. Personally, she can say for sure that photography is a way of existence, a kind of love that does not wear out as time goes by and describes her camera as an eternal mistress.
You sent us photos from your series Roll The Dice. Tell us how this idea started and what you want the viewer to interpret?
Roll the Dice is a poem by Charles Bukowski. He is my favorite poet and writer. I read that poem every time I get desperate. That poem was the main idea for the creation of these pictures. It talks about those who lose their courage, and find many obstacles during their everyday life. I want the spectator seeing these pictures to realise that it is important to remain humane and that everyone is alone in this world going through his own everyday battles.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and your background. When and how did you start getting interested in photography?
I started taking photographs as an amateur when I was 28 years old. It was some kind of love which still continues to give me that feeling until today. For about 2 to 3 years I took a small break. Photography was my 'saviour' when I felt totally blank inside, when I was questioning my own existence. Between falling and creativity, I consciously chose the second.
I try to evolve constantly by taking lessons, seminars, certifications of courses, by reading and studying a lot, by experimenting. Many times, success flirting with failure. And that's where all the magic hides, trying to overcome yourself and your expectations!
Do you have a favorite quote/lyric/saying that resonates with you the best?
Photography for me is the reflection of the photographer. “…all photographs are self-portraits” Minor
White said. An inner world emerges and becomes real through this. It deals with the irrational, the illusion and the subconscious. Photography is the memory. An experience. A persistence. A glimpse. A promise never kept.
Where do you find your inspiration?
In love, traveling, in a passing glance, in books, in the waves of the sea, in the sound of rain, in the smell of wet soil, in promises that weren't kept, in stories of lovers and friends.
Who are your favorite artists/photographers? Who has mostly influenced your style?
Francesca Woodman and her tragic end have affected me deeply as an artist and as a woman. Nevertheless, Daido Moriyama work with his dark nightly Contrast, Saul Leiter’s poetry and Vivian Maier’s deep irony about human existence spreading through all of her work were what sculpted the way I take for real and how I try to show the meaning of what I see.
Is there anything you want to express through your photography? And what are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?
Personally, I can say for sure that photography is a way of my existence, a kind of love that does not wear
out as time goes by and my camera is my eternal mistress. The only thing that I’m sure about is that I
don’t want to give answers, but I want to create questions. For me, capturing a moment should create
doubts. Maybe I want to do a social statement. Sometimes, I want to express all the feelings that I hide.
Sometimes I want to make the viewers question themselves, provoke or to disturb them. Even give them
some negative feelings because that is a way of a creating a connection with the picture you have taken.
Do you prefer to shoot alone or with friends?
I think of photography as a unique procedure where there is no space for babbling. It’s a secretive experience. If you are not a lonely wolf, you are not a photographer!
Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?
I have changed my perspective and style since i started to work with photography and I still continue to reshape my personal perspective without to totally change the identity of my work. Change is part of my personal evolution, we shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting, of taking risks, of change in general.
Where is your favorite place to shoot?
As much as I love traveling, I believe that familiarity is what creates images with meaning, a story to tell
and substance. Wherever I go I always end up taking pictures in the small by the sea village which I come from and live during winter. Mainly around the village port, where little stories are evolved, unnoticeable by others.
How does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?
On the street, or outdoors in general, I really like to be unseen by people that's why I prefer a quiet mirrorless camera. I like wide frame from wide angle lenses but I usually work with the usual 50mm lens which is closer to what I can see. There are times again when I like to focus on details that might describe a whole way of life or a personal story. I love cold colors and the way mirrorless cameras show the color palette, with that vintage feeling they give you as well as the filters they offer you like black and white film. All these helped me very much to improve my portfolio by creating a project with coherence.
What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years?
First of all I would like to finally carry out the exhibition I have been working on with another 26 women participating, with the title 'Under Negotiation' which I personally revised, but unfortunately was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is about the existence and women psychology and how every woman gets along with her body, stereotypes, motherhood, the pressure she has to put through with our worlds social standards. I dream of my first own personal exhibition, my portfolio is in progress. I hope that I will be able to have created my own photography team where I live which will show the cultural heritage of where I live and which will give the opportunity to Jung people to express through photography.
Are there any books that you have read that have inspired your creativity and that you would like to recommend to us?
One of the books that affected me also is the classic On Photography by Susan Sontag and the essay by
Vasilis Rafailidis, Fundamental Beauty.
Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?
Lately I have been experimenting with techniques mix media and double exposure, I have been trying to connect pieces of images into one image connected harmonically and even.
Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?
When I was a little child I would always remember my mother painting with oil paint on canvas, I still have the smell of the paint and the thinner in my memory. If I close my eyes I can hear the sound of the brush on the canvas. That was my first contact, and the most magic one, within the world of Art. I remember looking at her in awe and with childhood enthusiasm.
“When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…
I like taking photographs either way, cause it’s an obsession, a way of existence and the way of how people see the world. I revise exhibitions, write articles about photography, read about the work of modern and classic photographers and argue with my friends if a photo is eventually good or not.
All photos © Sofia Dalamagka
Interview by Melanie Meggs