Dimitris Lambridis Photographer Thinkbabymusic Collective Interview Vice Lesley

Dimitris Lambridis

I grew up in Palio Faliro, greatest city on the planet. I got involved with photography at 15 by being the lousiest skater in a crew back in Nea Smyrni, that classic story of the guy who always had a camera on him, I guess I still carry one around most of the time, I sort of just fell in love with it, becoming an image junkie. I'd shoot hundreds of photos every time I turned that thing on, buying SD cards used to be my biggest expense in life until discovering hard drives.

You don't really think of these things at that age.

I'd be shooting everything my friends and their siblings were doing, or live concerts, football and rugby matches, travels, you name it. I'd just use any camera I could get my hands on at the time, lately though, I've been using a Pentax 67 with a wide 55mm lens on it, along with a Contax G1 with the 28mm. My early influence was August Sander, a revolutionary 1920’s photographer who shot very formal and repetitive portraits of people in West Germany. He was unifying them all, the cook next to the dogwalker, next to the lords, next to the shoe shiner. The fascist government at the time completely banned his book, finding his form for equality on which he had elevated an entire society on too insulting.

I eventually found myself taking pictures on the sets of various student films in New York City, I would see the cinematographers there setting up their own lighting so to recreate the realism they needed, it blew my mind, I really wanted to learn how to set up my own lighting after that; how you craft moonlight, or a strong sun coming through a window, there are endless ways.

Music has always also been one of my favorite things in the world, so it's a great joy to collaborate with musicians when I do, especially when the music is great and they're friends of mine. I surely don’t enjoy commercial or advertising work as much as creativity projects, but do like the logistics of it. The turnover is fast, you get to experiment, pay is good and the result is released soon after you’ve shot it. Overall, I try to have a purpose when I shoot, I want to be able to say things and have some idea behind what I'm doing, regardless of the type of project.

I’ve stopped shooting on digital, film gives me the restrictions I need to stay focused, then there's the general look of it and the ways I’ve learned to handle it. One roll of Medium format 120mm film has 10 frames in any camera, so you got to get out there and see what you're going to able to manage and get with it, that's the logic behind it.

That whole Covid experience changed me, though, it fucked me up and made me think; it matured me and broke me down. I didn't have one of those great experiences during lockdowns that other people had, unfortunately. I didn't always convey a narrative when shooting, but now I find myself wondering why and feel that shooting endlessly is a lot like babbling, I think it's pretty disturbing when people babble during serious conversations. We live in an era where this could also be a form of misinformation, doing it is more important than having something to say, so just jump in there and sort of wing it, being as true to yourself as you can.

At the moment, I’m currently working on an essay photo series most likely called “Mosquito”, it's a working title, my psychotherapy project. I've always looked outwards and far, aspiring to reach the edges of the world, I shot native American tribes and Icelanders in their homes. But during the quarantine, we were asked to stay within the 1,5m range distance, so I thought it was time to see what else was going on much closer around me.

So the deal is, photography’s an emotional map to my coping mechanisms, trying to embrace the insect bite and move on. I try to enjoy my time instead of chasing it, trying for a peace of mind.

Published: In Print Issue Nº 09—2021
Interview by Vice Lesley, Thinkbabymusic Collective
Photography © Dimitris Lambridis