streetportraits

The Menu of Life and what to order

The Menu of Life and what to order

The tricky thing with the Menu of Life is not so much WHAT to order, but HOW to order… The menu consists of all the things one can possibly imagine -therefore CAN have- but usually people think that someone must bring to them whatever they choose while they hold in their hands the menu of a self service establishment. Nevertheless, as a photographic investigator, it is my job (and my pleasure) to photographically investigate the efforts of my subjects to order. I always wish that they succeed, but I can’t intervene. You see, there are rules in my profession…

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Exploring Graceland

Exploring Graceland

Things had changed. A trip to Graceland wasn't a romantic fool's dream  anymore... You see, Graceland had passed in the hands of a mysterious organisation that made it invisible to this dimension -unless you had a very special map. And this map wasn't so easy to find. I was photographically investigating a courageous group of Graceland explorers who thought that knew where to find that map - I was after the map myself. 

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Comicdom Con Athens 2017 (It's not easy being a comic book hero -part II)

Comicdom Con Athens 2017 (It's not easy being a comic book hero -part II)

No, it's definitely not easy being a comic book hero... You have to live up to your loyal fan's expectations... On the contrary, it's wonderfully easy to be a comic book hero's photographic investigator. Because when comic book heros find themselves outside of a comic book they are subject to a certain number of restrictions: for example, they cannot use the 90% of their super powers for obvious reasons (one of them being that most of the people around them, actually believe that they see some weird guys dressed up like comic book heroes - which is very convenient). The only super power that is allowed in full force is the power to disappear -for the ones who possess it of course. Not being able to use their powers makes comic book heroes easy subjects to photographic investigators such as I, although this time I must admit defeat, since I lost 2-3 of them by disappearance. Ah well... maybe next year!

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Tropical implications

Tropical implications

Living in a tropical, exotic haven has serious implications for a photographic investigator who needs to be constantly on the move in order to be sharp and alert... makes her want to find refuge at all times to the nearest beach, while the truth is that there is no real refuge in any place of the earth -just occasional comfort... Some thoughts that crossed my mind while I was reflecting on the possibility to accept a long term engagement for a series of photographic investigations in Europe which, let's face it, is not an exotic place... My horoscope encouraged me to embrace change, so, I'm thinking about it... 

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Coffee & astrology

Coffee & astrology

Astrology for coffee is like sympathy for tea... a perfect match that doesn't exclude the presence of an occasional cigarette which promotes a deeper understanding of the planetary movements. Besides, investigating an astrology reader is always more fun over coffee. My assignment was to investigate the moment of realisation that the prediction were correct, and I think it went pretty well... 

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The Astrologer

The Astrologer

"It's not what you are looking at that matters, it's what you see" said David Henry Thoreau (I think he said it that way...) and I found myself agreeing with him every day. Especially while I was investigating a fellow photographic investigator who pretended to be an astrologer in order to investigate a spy who was posing as an astrology review publisher. She had an magazine editorial background so she knew her way into a publishing company. From the first moment her view (as well as her photographic evidence) was clouded by her past experiences working in magazines (which were very intense in a good and in a bad way). Are we really capable to look with eyes wide open what lies before us and see it clearly, without the cloud of prejudice, without fear of the repetition of past experiences and with good faith that we can deal with it, whatever it is, if we confront it with love? I was doing that with more or less success since I became a photographic investigator... Would I be able to do it if I were in her position, and had to go back to my old profession? I don't know... These are some of the questions that this investigation awakened in me... Will they ever be answered? As I was coming back home after my investigation yesterday, I "saw" me (or anyone else) in an old age, a little before dying, having all the answers I could get in that lifetime, talking to my younger self... "All that worrying was totally unnecessary, you know?..." I guess we all know that on a deeper level... To apply it in everyday life is the challenge. 

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Summertime

Summertime

And the living is easy... The leaving from Athens as well... I wasn't really investigating... Just enjoying that magical dreamy atmosphere, very characteristic of August... People getting ready for their summer vacation, other just coming back and others just dropping by before their next destination... Exchange of dreams, show of tan lines, friendly massages, bronzed legs, laughter, anticipation, the hope of the best holiday ever, impossible mathematic calculations in order to make money last... Just the old plain summer magic...

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Measuring beauty

Measuring beauty

I was hired again to investigate another strange group. After the love exhaling people of Santa Fe, now I had to follow the activities of a beauty measuring group in Denmark... There was nothing to it, really, all I had to do was to take shots of the beauty and of some of the people who were trying to measure it. I don't now if they succeeded, because they say it's not an easy task, but I was very satisfied with my work, which was the documentation of the process. And of the pure beauty, of course...

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I-Ching

I-Ching

The oracle was consulted because the situation was unclear. In cases like this an experienced photographic investigator asks help from her Higher Self through her favourite divinatory method. This time for me it was the I-Ching. The hexagram 31 it was then: "The Influence of the Strong Over the Weak". "All success in human relationships depends upon the proper attraction between persons. The leader is attracted to his followers and the followers are attracted to the leader. The strong are attracted to the weak and the weak are attracted to the strong". And the maxim: "When seeking advice, a person must remain open-minded and receptive". Suddenly it was all very clear. 

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Expressions II

Expressions II

Expressions can be revealing, but they can be deceptive too... But an experienced photographic investigator can never be misled... Because she knows the difference between investigating and interpreting... An investigation must always be conducted without expectations and without preconceived ideas about the subject... a good investigation is like the very first investigation... one can never know where it will lead. This way, the very notion of misleading a photographic investigator is automatically "self-cancelled". 

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Mister Minimal

Mister Minimal

Mister Minimal was Il Mister's twin brother and earned his living as a minimalist photography model. He was famous for posing with a camera and one day,  because he was so tired of just hold this heavy thing, he started to shoot as well -just to see what happens. It was a revelation. He was so good that he left his job as a model and moved to Rio, where his photography was very popular. He originally wanted to go to New York, but Il Mister was there, pretending to play tennis in the Central Park Tennis Club. It was common knowledge that Mister Minimal couldn't stand In Mister... My investigation took place just before his career as a photographer sky rocketed and I am proud to say that I encouraged him significantly... a photographic investigator can see the hidden talents of his subjects before anyone else can... 

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My name is Bon... Signore Bon.

My name is Bon... Signore Bon.

My investigation ended because of a misunderstanding that happened in Thailand. They were expecting James Bond and Signore Bon was desperately seeking refuge. You see, he also was a spy, but a coffee spy. He was ruthlessly hunted down by a demented coffee lord in Guatemala because he had stolen the secret of the most expensive coffee in the world. For years he managed to successfully hide his identity posing as a gondolier and a photographer in Venice. That's where I investigated him. I was working for a woman that was willing to pay me his weight in gold in order to get her hands on that coffee secret. And she wanted to keep him alive, which was very important to me - "live and keep them alive" was my moto... It all went well - or so I though. And just when I was sure he had fallen into my trap, il Signore Bon disappeared. I looked for him in vain. I even solicited the help of powerful underground characters of Venice like El Guapo,  Il Mister and  La Regina that had been my subjects in the past. Nothing. And then, one morning, I received a post card from Thailand. All it said was: "My name is Bon. Signore Bon". Intuitively, I opened the TV. In Thailand they were celebrating Mister Bond's arrival... I knew it was him. I packed my suitcase and went to the vaporetto station. And then I realised I was being watched. I knew it was too risky to ask for El Guapo and il Mister's help... It was obvious I could not follow Signore Bon to Thailand. A photographic investigator has to be faithful to her principles... "Live and keep them alive"... remember? Fortunately my client had payed me a generous amount in advance and I had already explained to her the risks of my profession. I headed to the airport anyway. In my iPod Christina Train was singing "I wanna live in LA"... Why not? I thought... LA it was then... and after a few months maybe Hilo, Hawaii... I always loved that place... 

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Caribbean flowers

Caribbean flowers

This time my photographic investigation was taking place in Martinique and I wasn't complaining… This paradise was once known as "Madinina", that means "island of flowers". And I found plenty. It was one of those "treasure hunt" style photographic assignments… in this case the investigator must find out where the investigation is happening and what she is supposed to investigate. The provided clue was "Caribbean flowers" and for me it was very easy. Having a life long affection towards exotic paradises, I knew all about their history and traditions. And a beer with one's subjects after the end of a long investigation was one of them… 

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Weather in London

Weather in London

The job totally depended on it… He pretended to be a performer and the only way to investigate him was to pretend I was a celebrity photographer. It always works. But to do so, I needed sunlight coming through a window before sunset that particular evening. So it all depended on the weather in London that day, because that's where my photographic investigation was taking place. When I saw the clouds parting I knew no force in the 'verse could stop this investigation. The weather in London was agreeing with my intentions... and for that to happen, they just couldn't have been my intentions… I just thought they were. That reassured me even more.

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Copacabana

Copacabana

Her name wasn't Lola and she wasn't a show girl... But an assignment that sends you to Brazil is always welcome. Isabel was an anthropologist who worked as a lifeguard in Copacabana... While I was investigating, the group Ordinarius was performing live their wonderful version of "Agua de Beber" and a salty breeze from the ocean was advising me not to start investigating before drinking my caipirinha.... When a sea breeze advises, I always listen... 

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Santa Fe

Santa Fe

I was hired to investigate a strange love exhaling group in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's members were practising love exhaling exercises, under the pretext of the widely encouraged act of smoking. Smoking was cool and "safe" whereas acts of love weren't. The method consisted in inhaling all the pain and misery and the dark shades of the world -or of the surrounding environment- visualising them transforming into light and exhaling then as pure love (although in the eyes of many it looked just like exhaling smoke). One of my favourite assignments, since I love learning new skills while photographically investigating… Which reminds me… I have to go practise my exercises now… 

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Ramona

Ramona

Life is a good mexican telenovela. I know, because I love them. So I can't help but noticing that it is based on the same fundamental rules: 1. truth always reveals itself 2. nobody is absolutely without a heart 3. desires come true but are never what you expected them to be 4. obsessions drain your energy so that you will almost certainly need a plastic surgery before the telenovela ends (if it's a long one) 5. beauty opens all the doors 6. in the end, balance is restored 7. it's not real, it's just actors, costumes, a play and a director. Having shared this revelation with you, I'll go back watching Ramona, a great mexican telenovela from the late 90's starring Eduardo Palomo (R.I.P. our beloved Eduardo…). Even the most impartial and dedicated to observation photographic investigator has her soft spots… (Another telenovela characteristic: even though you are just a watcher, you feel affection for the characters. Ramona makes me cry.)

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Sakura

Sakura

The cherry trees were in full bloom and beautiful sakura -cherry blossoms- was all that the eye could see. The sakura omnipresence was so real that it became surreal. My assignment had brought me to Kyoto and my subject was Maria, a fellow investigator who lived there incognito for the last 10 years. In any other place I would have recognised her by her zen energy and poise, but in Kyoto I had to look for the Woman Who Drinks Cappuccino. She was the only one - I am immencely grateful to my loyal helpers Juanita and Lupe, who never fail to provide me with smart clues in order to find my subjects quickly and painfully.  By then, I was at the end of a long cycle of investigations and I was really tired… I was thinking that maybe my work was over and my greatest desire was to leave. I met her while the beautiful sound of the traditional Sakura was filling my ears and it was the only music I wished to hear. A strange thought passed through my mind: all I could see and hear was sakura… if only I could speak it too… I opened my mouth and spoke incessantly for 7 hours. Was I saying my last goodbye to my subjects through the painful dance of my vocal chords? (A mexican brujo fellow photographic investigator had once said to me that a warrior investigator always performs a magnificent dance at the end.) I don't really know, I wasn't thinking, just speaking. I knew she was there to investigate me and i was confident she would not be able to… Not with her camera anyway. An experienced photographic investigator knows how to keep her secrets. The only way she could outsmart me was if she carried a tape recorder… Did she? If she did, I would come back only to find out if indeed there was sakura in my speech...

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