Petros Kotzabasis was born and still lives in Komotini, a small town in the north of Greece, where he has taught photography since 2007, to students of the Democritus University of Thrace.
Petros Kotzabasis’s photos explore life around him and within him, using only the street life of the small Greek town where he grew up and lives to investigate and describe his own feelings and fears
Why did you choose this subject?
Every day I take photographs of “everyday life,” spurred by a childhood habit. I used to stand on our doorstep observing the street and silently making up stories about the passers-by for my grandmother, who took care of me. Now I try to create photographs that possess elements of poetry, and communicate with the viewers as I used to do with my grandmother: without explanations or messages, permitting total freedom.
What research did you do to make these images?
To make “photo number 6,” I set off early in the morning to a traditional fiesta that takes place on a mountain and lasts three days. I was planning to stay and make many photos, but when I arrived after two hours of driving, I opened the car door and took this very photo. It felt so complete and satisfying, I didn’t even get out of the car and drove back home.
Do your images help the viewer understand the subject in a new way?
My starting point is the phrase by the great Greek poet Odysseas Elytis that says: “With lime twigs you may capture birds, yet you never capture their singing. It takes a different kind of twig....” This singing is what I try to capture with my photographs.
What did you learn by making these images?
The procedure of taking pictures has an effect on me similar to psychoanalysis. I feel as if I am the one and only viewer of a daily play, of the split-second pictures that surround us, and my camera is the diary I use to capture it.