1. When did you first discover your love for photography and the violin ?
I can recall two significant moments, one when I was about seven years old and I told my parents that I wanted to start learning music and the other, in 2013, when I took a couple of photos at the 4th Athens Biennale opening and found myself documenting the exhibition for another two months. Between these two moments there’s a 23 year interval during which I started playing the violin –and, inconveniently, found out that you don’t just play an instrument, you actually need to practice a lot— I took up drawing for sometime, ended up studying music and then distanced myself from it when it became too restricting for my self-expression. Looking back, I don’t recall myself not loving music or any other artistic expression be it photography, writing or painting so, I wouldn’t want to pick music over photography or vice versa. I hold each of them very dear as they are both very basic ways for me to express myself creatively –perhaps this is why I love photographing musicians so much. I think when it comes to creativity, what matters most is finding an outlet, a medium; some don’t discover theirs early on and they need to experiment a lot until they find one that suits them, others shift from one to another, while others stick to one throughout their lives.
2. Take us through the mental and physical process of taking a picture:
What engaged me in photography was that I could depict the world as I see and observe it, so a studio has not been much to my liking so far. I start off by observing the setting I find myself in and then focus on the frame and techniques I could use to tell a particular story. This comes with a lot of experimentation and discovery –and it feels therapeutic in a sense, as I get to focus on the moment before the moment is gone. This is a solitary procedure, I can concentrate better when I am alone and can take my time to think; I sometimes find that being with a group of people can feel distracting –but this is a matter of personal preference.The best part in this process, is when I come back home and work on the material I’ve got and the most rewarding part is when I see that one shot I really like and which shows improvement. Of course, that doesn’t always happen, so I try to remind myself that I need to be patient and practice. There is always something new to learn. In that respect, there are many common elements with music.
3. Would you say that photography affects your stance on life in a broader sense, if so, how?
Photography has made me more open and receptive, it’s easier for me to talk to people, engage more and hear their stories. It has also challenged me to become more daring, to go out there and find new subjects. I still feel I need to put more effort into that however. It has driven me to learn more, especially when I want to approach social or cultural issues and also write, since I often like to combine pictures with text. I think my music training gave me a lot of tools that I can now utilize in photography, such as patience, focus or the very essence of practice itself, but most importantly I’ve learned to be less critical and use criticism constructively, which can be very hard at times.
4. If you could share one thing with someone who is struggling to "surrender" to a practice that brings them joy/inner peace, what would that be?
Hesitation and social pressure can be paralyzing so I’d tell them the one thing I tell myself all the time: don’t think too much, take the first step and it’ll silence all the noise around you.
More of Mariannas work here : http://mantis.is/a.seer/