Andreas Paradise was born in 1969 in Athens, Greece where he still lives today. In 1988, he studied photography at the Technical Educational Institute of Athens, but some years later quit photography and worked in the financial sector. Then, in 2007, a meeting with Manos Lykakis and, later, with Platon Rivellis (founder of Photo Circle) reminded him that he had unfinished business with photography. Since then, photography has again been his first and daily priority.
1. What does “Street Photography” mean to you?
Street Photography is a way to comment on life. It’s a way of making the small details of the day-to-day that surround us important. SP is my way of looking at the world and at same time realizing myself inside the world.
2. When did you start doing it and why?
I originally studied photography at Athens University almost 25 years ago, but I gave up photography and my darkroom several years later. I started street photography 4 years ago simply because I liked the work of many great street photographers.
3. Are you inﬂuenced by the work of other street photographers? Who are your favorites (past and present)?
Yes, of course I am. As I mentioned, the work of great street photographers made me try this kind of photography. Ray Metzker, Garry Winogrand, Bruce Davidson, Constantine Manos and Martin Parr are photographers that admire. Trend Parke, in my opinion, will be one of the great masters of 21st century.
4. What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
I use a Nikon D700 and D7000. The last 6 months, I’ve been using an Olympus OM-D after I selling my Fuji X-100. The lenses I use are (equivalent in 35mm format) 35mm and 28mm.
5. Do you prefer to shoot in color or black and white? and why?
As far my street photography is concerned, the last 2 years I’ve only shot in color. I find it challenging to try overcome reality as we experience it in real life. As we all know, the real world for humans is in color (bees may have a different view) and not in B&W. I use B&W in my night street shots because at night color is not so important and the feeling in real life is almost like B&W.
6. How close do you get to your subjects and why?
I don’t believe there is a specific rule concerning distance. Most of the time I’m very close to my subject because of the wide angle lens I use, but it also depends on the scale and how much significance (or lack thereof) I want to give my subject relative to the environment.
7. How do you go about taking a picture? Do you ever ask for permission?
As far street photography is concerned (because I’m not shooting only SP), I never ask for permission. I want to find moments of truth in the everyday reality that surrounds me. I prefer to be observer of a scene, and not a participant. When asking for permission, you no longer have a subject but a model.
8. Have you ever offended anyone or faced any problems while on the streets? What’s the story?
I try not to offend people, but of course, sometimes this is inevitable. When someone comes in front of you out of the blue and takes a picture, people (most of the time) get curious as to why you are doing this.
So yes: many times people get annoyed, but after I take the picture, I explain politely to them that taking pictures in public places is not against the law. So far I haven’t faced any serious problems worth mentioning – only many small incidents.
9. Do you have a particular shooting approach when on the streets? (i.e. some photographers listen to music, others wear hats, etc.)
Nothing in particular. I just try to be as focussed as possible in life and in what is going on around me.
10. What’s your most memorable street photography experience?
I remember almost every detail about the shooting conditions of my favorites shots. I’m trying to forget the failures. The most memorable experience is that feeling of capturing a great picture and realizing when you go home that you really got it.
Unfortunately this feeling is very rare. Most of the time you find nothing back home.
11. When you photograph, how do you select your subjects and do you shoot with a speciﬁc theme in mind?
I don’t usually select subjects – I usually select places: areas where I feel that something interesting will happen or where the light conditions are appropriate to modify and play with reality.
12. Are you currently working on any projects? What are they?
When I’m shooting, I don’t really have any project or any pattern in my mind. The projects or portfolios come naturally when I’m editing my photos or when I’m looking back at my work. This way, there is a better chance of realizing myself, my obsessions and what my eyes look for on the streets.
13. Where do you think street photography is headed in the future?
I’m realizing that many photographers are trying to expand the term “street photography” in such that almost everything that is unposed will fit the genre. I don’t agree with this. In my opinion, street photography involves unposed shots in public places.
Another issue facing the future of street photography (maybe also related to the previous point mentioned) is that shooting on the streets will gradually become very difficult because of people’s fearful reactions of being recorded. If countries all over the world vote a legislation against photography in public places, this genre will only be available for viewing in museums [and no longer exist].
14. What’s your favorite city for street photography? Would you consider visiting Beirut in the future?
I live in Athens and most of my shots are from here. It is difficult to do street photography in Athens because of the urban environment and because of peoples’ reactions in front of a camera. The crisis made this last issue even worse than before. Thankfully, though, we have a great light here.
Six months ago, I went to Stockholm and had a great time shooting there. I was lucky to have great light conditions (not cloudy or rainy as usual is). I enjoyed the very late sunsets and very early sunrises
Beirut is one place that is on my mind. It seems very interesting for shooting and I would love to have the chance to shoot in your city’s streets.
15. What advice would you give the BSP community on street photography?
You are living in a very interesting part of the world. Each of you should try to document public life in a unique way and show the rest of the world as many versions of Beirut as the number of members there are in your community.