Category Archives: Interviews


Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis

I have decided to take her bio directly from her website without any tweaks once it is well-written and explainatory about the life of this great and vibrant personality.

With her signature ICONBOOTH installation, world-renowned Dubai-based photographer, visual artist, and creative director Marta Lamovsek, captures the exuberance of Middle Eastern street life in the Emirates. The Central Saint Martins – University of Arts London alumnae works with photography, art direction, installation, film, and collage to celebrate the unrivaled grace of human vulnerability in Dubai’s most diverse locales. Marta’s mantra:

“It can be uncomfortable yet at the same time beautiful to connect with strangers.”

From her native Ljubljana to London’s high street, the self-taught Slovenian-born creative has worked with the world’s best for 20 years and has an extensive background in print publication. Her portfolio includes more than 70 titles, VICE UK, British Vogue, i-D Magazine, The Guardian UK, Le Monde France among them. 

Marta has also collaborated on iconic visual art for book and album covers, in addition to her very first book, retrospective take on photography. Marta has also collaborated with prestigious fashion houses, Burberry, Dior, Tom Ford, as well as high-profile celebrities like Will Smith. Dame Vivienne Westwood, the doyenne of British fashion, so admired the ailurophile’s work that she became a regular client.

The 2010 UK’s 15 Most Talented Emerging Artist Award “Rising Star” nominee has also held installations at Art Dubai 2017 and 2018, group shows and POP-UPs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and a solo exhibition at Dubai Design District’s 2017 Blue Cave Urban Festival. Her most prominent pieces are currently on exhibit at the Alserkal Cultural Foundation in Al Bastakya, Dubai’s oldest standing neighborhood.

No matter the subject, Marta’s deep-rooted passion for life, cultural diversity—and cats—seeks to masterfully weave the beauty of soul and mastery of craft into an entirely new space for urban contemporary art. One that makes everyone a superstar… an icon.

How did your background have affected you to follow your heart for the photography?

I grew up in Yugoslavia, the Socialist Republic Slovenia, at the time of my early childhood freedom of expression was not something I would remember being highly encouraged. There was a lot of “shhhh” hearing back then. I do remember a fair display of me being eccentric in early teens-having a half shaved head in the village-was “not appropriate” for a girl. I think this influenced me, I always believed I should do whatever my heart desired even though I didn’t know exactly what I really desired for a very long time. My childhood was not filled with lots of artistry moments, we lived by the forest and river and there was not much going on, except for watching birds, playing with cats and fishing with my dad. My parents were keen amateur photographers yet at the time I wasn’t interested in picking up the camera at all. I still don’t know what part of my background was essential for my ‘photographer’ to come out of the closet: I remember an early childhood period, I was drawing with colour pencils the different female characters, from super glam women, to masculine tomboy girls, I have no idea how this types of woman lived in my imagination (now thinking of it, it gives me a dejavu of RuPaul Drag Race characters)-but I’d make them while isolating myself (DIY) on the attic of my parents’ house. Then, building my own treehouse in a nearby forest, where I’ll be collecting shiny stones and materials, the fascination over Twin Peaks on television when I was 14 years old, all this happened and I think it mattered on a grand-scale of events.

Your studies in economics were a different field of this at the present time. Why you dropped your major and switched to the photography field?

I dropped something that was a decision made in a temporary sleepwalking insanity-I have never loathed anything more than studying economics and financial studies. This was the far-out as I ever was in regards with my purpose in life. But really, at 18 I hadn’t had a clue what I was supposed to do in my life. I woke up from the “clueless nightmare” a couple of years later at the age of 22, when I started with the love affair of my life: photography. It was in one single serendipitous moment when I saw a photograph on the wall of the coffee shop that I awakened and recognised: THIS MAKES ME FEEL ALIVE. I got my camera a week after and in a matter of months I was publishing photographs in a music magazine. I am still grateful to that day, the day I was able to catch that incredible important moment – and believe it or not, it happened in a split second, I saw the photograph framed in the bar, and it clicked: I received the message from God.

What was your exposure to photography before your studies? 

A bit of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin in the public library and some photography exhibitions but mostly photographs of pop culture idols, there was the rising Madonna. Her in the 80s and 90s-Everything!

Where does all this experience lead to? 

My self-expression was first explored through documentary candid style black and white portraits of my friends, I was part of the Ljubljana’s Bohemian Youth Culture, later on I aimed to be shooting fashion photographs which trough styled models and depicted locations allowed me to be telling stories I was passionate about and importantly raising emotions, all this both influences made me to later on become expressing myself through styled black and white portraits which I’ve made around at time and after postgraduate studies at Central Saint Martins College of Art.

Who were your early influences? 

My most important influence in the black and white phase was Helmut Newton, but in terms of mood and storytelling my idol was David Lynch.

Tell us about your life and work in London.

London had some highlights, I will never forget walking from the set of Pinewood Studios and Johnny Depp dressed as Jack Sparrow sitting alone in front of his trailer smiled at me and said “Hi” and me saying ‘hi’ back and walked past him while we were leaving the set of me being the 5th assistant for the Pirates of Caribbean promo shot crew there, shooting for Vivienne Westwood look-book and backstage where I first met her and despite saying something embarrassingly cliché to her, she had given me a compliment on my looks. London was everything between absolutely fabulous and being a starving artist. It was after Central St. Martins trying to live as an artist but the struggle was real, I found myself always shooting guerilla style on lots of forbidden (and morbid) locations. My final photographic portrait series Rocks Are Melting which landed me an Emerging Artist Award at Central Saint Martins was entirely shoot on different kinds of cemeteries in London. It was my first DIY project, and the love affair began…

What was your first big break to shoot for big magazine titles? 

My first fashion magazine cover was not big but it was significant, it was back in 2009, I remember I was discovered online and invited to submit a fashion story to W25Magazine, an fairly unknown New York e-magazine. I submitted the just shoot fashion story “Widows & Soldiers”, and when they published it, I realised they have put my photograph ON THE COVER. This was, the biggest recognition I have received till then (I was self-taught and it was before St. Martins and it meant a lot), I was proud especially because I just started shooting fashion: the cover of the magazine was a model (art directed as a widow) very Marlene Deitrich looking, long fake lashes with a black tissue wiping her tears. Have I mentioned that I always loved to portray drama?

Have you moved into fashion by photographing for editorial?

My very first shoot was shooting editorial for a friend who was a very talented fashion designer. Later on, those images were in Portfolio that helped me to be accepted to St. Martins College of Art.

Over the years, did you ever encounter famous people who were very difficult to shoot?

I have shot a couple of celebrities, I would almost say: the bigger the celebrity, the easier the shoot.

How do you find shooting landscapes compared to shooting people? 

I admire landscape photographs that can move me, from legends such as Ansel Adams and Sebastiao Salgado. You see, you can’t direct the landscape, it’s the pure art of seeing. You are just an observer. With people you are able to influence, interact, and control what part of a person’s character you want to portray. I do also believe that portraits are unconscious self portraits.

How do you define art?

Art is when someone is serving realness-his pure heart and soul out to the world with a bit of a technique personal to them. True art must change our perception, challenge our beliefs and make us ask questions but I personally also love all of this wrapped into a good looking package.

Did you work with people who projected negativity and you had had to stop the whole photoshoot?

It’s rare because I am normally able to prevent the shooting with this kind of individuals even take place, or if it does, I tend to transcend and transform the negativity into love. However, I am just a human, and not always my cup of patience and compassion is full and once or twice the person has been asked to leave the sacred portraiture chair or else someone could get punched in the face.

You are a great fan of still picture, but are you a great fan of motion picture?

My ultimate dream, in a Universe where this wouldn’t accompany dealing with a huge crew and long processes of pre-production and post production, I would be a filmmaker. Truth is, I have not been gifted with this sort of patience or enough big desire. The love affair of movie making has been brought to me by David Lynch’s cult TV show Twin Peaks in 1990, following the classics of his movies Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Blue Velvet. There’s something magical in some of those scenes, they are pure art and they have remain engraved in my consciousness forever.

What’s your approach to society and people?

I believe every single person can teach us something about the world and about ourselves. I mean it when I say: Every-Single-Person. Therefore, I believe everyone is relevant and should be treated with kindness and respect. I am religiously following this rule, and the benefits are: it brings me more inner peace, a feeling of unity and true joy and happiness even on an otherwise shitty day. I suggest everyone try it out without exception. Practicing kindness and compassion towards every single person in our society is good going to massively change your happiness levels and bring more charm to your character.

Do you love animals? 

I adore animals, but specifically I have a very special connection to cats-I speak to them every time I see one. No exceptions. It’s normal for me to have many times-a-day “conversation” with my boy cat named Chewy and he will be responding to all of my questions and statements with ‘meow’. Trust me, it’s happening.

Are you an advocate of the natural way of living? 

Yes, I love to buy everything that says ‘organic’ but let’s not be fooling anyone: I do not recycle properly, and I don’t produce any of homemade cleaning products. For me, natural living encompasses more “life by the nature and simple lifestyle”, I do myself a morning tonic (one grapefruit, one lemon, spoon of grinded ginger and spoon of an apple cider vinegar). I do love cooking from scratch, eat lots of veggies and I do avoid processed food. That said, again, I am a countryside girl who needs daily walks in the nature (living by the beach makes me sane), I would easily live in a comfortable sized van for a couple of months.

How would you envision yourself in a period of 10 years? 

A graceful woman which embodies inner peace, sparkling eyes, infectious smile, continuously purpose driven, beautifully bruised, wise and evolved, being of massive service to society and humanity.

Have you thought of traveling around the world, changing places frequently, photographing people the same way you do it at the moment? 

Travelling the world, being inspired by different cultures and growing as I go, yes I think of it and I was about to start my journey full on this year, but some travels had to be postponed-waiting for unpredictable incidents to stop in order to continue the dream!

What’s the ideal photograph for you? 

The one that changes your life for you to find why you are here!

Do you have any tips for an aspiring photographer who’s picking up a camera for the first time? 

Ask yourself questions like: what do you really really really care for? What do I want to say with my photographs? Why do I need my voice to be heard? Plus, most importantly: never listen to anyone who says you need to be doing what will bring you money, understand the difference between the mind clutter, current trends, financial needs and INTUITION. Intuition is guiding you to your life’s purpose, all the rest is more or less bollocks. Trust that you, you have a unique point of view about the world. Show the world that!

Instagram: martalamovsek

Facebook: Marta Lamovsek



Από την Κανέλλα Βόλλαρη

O Δημήτρης Κωνσταντόπουλος μας συστήνεται….

Είμαι απόφοιτος του 1ου Γενικού Λυκείου Μεσσήνης και του Ινστιτούτου Επαγγελματικής Κατάρτισης «ΑΚΜΗ» στον τομέα Τεχνολογίας Ενδύματος και Υποδήματος. Έχω επίσης κάνει μεταπτυχιακές σπουδές με εξειδίκευση στο πατρόν. Έχω συμμετάσχει σε σεμινάρια μόδας και πλεκτού ενδύματος το 2017 και personal styling το 2019. Επίσης έχω συμμετοχή σε fashion show by akmi ως dresser. Συμμετοχή σε fashion show του σχεδιαστή Ιraklis Pantsios και σε fashion shows νέων σχεδιαστών ως designer το 2018 και το 2019.

…και απαντάει στις ερωτήσεις των «ΠΟΡΤΡΑΙΤΩΝ»….

  • Πως ξεκινήσατε να ασχολείστε με την Μόδα από ποια ηλικία είχατε αποφασίσει ότι την θα ακολουθήσετε; 

Το ενδιαφέρον μου για τη Μόδα, ξεκίνησε περίπου στην ηλικία των 10 χρόνων, όταν πήγα για πρώτη φορά να ψωνίσω μόνος τα ρούχα μου και είχα την ελεύθερη επιλογή να φορέσω και να συνδυάσω τα κομμάτια που πραγματικά ήθελα και όχι να πάρω ό,τι  θα μου διάλεγαν άλλοι. Αυτή η διαδικασία μου άρεσε πολύ, τη βρήκα πολύ διασκεδαστική, δημιουργική και ενδιαφέρουσα. 

  • Υπήρξε κάποιος άνθρωπος που θαυμάζατε και ήταν το ίνδαλμά σας; 

Επιτρέψτε μου να γίνω λίγο καυστικός περί θαυμασμού και ινδαλμάτων. Καλό είναι να θαυμάζεις κάτι αλλά για να το ξεπεράσεις και να γίνεις καλύτερος δεν αρκεί ένας «θαυμασμός» ούτε απλά ένα «θα ήθελα να του μοιάσω». Πρέπει να έχεις αφοσίωση στον στόχο σου, θέληση και πάνω από όλα πίστη στον εαυτό σου και σε αυτό που διάλεξες να κάνεις.

  • Αναφέρετε κάποιες από τις αγαπημένες σας δουλειές και γιατί τις ξεχωρίζετε. 

Είμαι άνθρωπος του προγράμματος και γι’ αυτό θα τις αναφέρω με την σειρά. Έχω πάρει μέρος σε δύο επιδείξεις, η μία ήταν τα Χριστούγεννα του 2019 και η άλλη το καλοκαίρι του ίδιου έτους. Στην τελευταία μάλιστα, ήθελα να δώσω ένα άρωμα Ελλάδας και η οποία είχε μεγάλη επιτυχία και απέσπασα πολλά θετικά σχόλια. Αυτό τον καιρό είμαι στυλίστας στο κατάστημα Jenny Blond στη Θεσσαλονίκη.

  • Χαρακτηρίστε τον εαυτό σας με 5 λέξεις. 

Αφοσιωμένος, τελειομανής, εργατικός, αυθόρμητος, συναισθηματικός.

  • Με τι ασχολείστε αυτήν την περίοδο; 

Αυτή την περίοδο κάνω την πρακτική μου ως costumer designer και design and market consultor, στο vintage κατάστημα το οποίο σας προανέφερα, το Jenny Blond. 

  • Τα σχέδιά σας για το μέλλον.

Δεν μ’ αρέσει να κάνω σχέδια για το μέλλον γιατί όποτε έκανα και δεν πραγματοποιούνταν, στενοχωριόμουν πολύ. Οπότε θα απαντήσω πως ό,τι είναι να έρθει θα έρθει και απλά πρέπει να είμαι προσηλωμένος στον στόχο μου και να δουλεύω σκληρά.

  • Τι θα θέλατε να ευχηθείτε στον εαυτό σας;

Τι θα ευχόμουν στον εαυτό μου; Δεν το είχα σκεφτεί ποτέ, με πιάνετε λίγο απροετοίμαστο. Θα απαντήσω το προφανές, να είμαι υγιής για να συνεχίσω να κάνω αυτό που αγαπώ και επίσης αυτό θα ήθελα να το ευχηθώ και σε όλον τον κόσμο.


Από την Κανέλλα Βόλλαρη

Ο Στρατής Μπέης μας συστήνεται…

Γεννήθηκα στην Αθήνα, μεγάλωσα στη Ραφήνα και σπούδασα στη Δραματική Σχολή «Θεμέλιο». Τα υπόλοιπα θα σας τα πω παρακάτω…

…και απαντάει στις ερωτήσεις των «ΠΟΡΤΡΑΙΤΩΝ»….

  • Πως ξεκινήσατε να ασχολείστε με την ηθοποιία, από ποια ηλικία είχατε αποφασίσει ότι την θα ακολουθήσετε; 

Αποφάσισα να ασχοληθώ με την ηθοποιία και γενικά με το θέατρο, από πολύ μικρή ηλικία και το έναυσμα ήταν οι σχολικές παραστάσεις που κάναμε στο γυμνάσιο. Ήταν πάντα ένας χώρος που μου προκαλούσε δέος και θαυμασμό κι έτσι όταν τελείωσα το σχολείο, ξεκίνησα τις σπουδές μου στην υποκριτική όπου και αποφοίτησα από την Θεατρική Σχολή «Θεμέλιο». 

  • Υπήρξε κάποιος άνθρωπος που θαυμάζατε και ήταν το ίνδαλμά σας; 

Φυσικά και υπήρξε και μάλιστα όχι ένας αλλά πολλοί άνθρωποι τους οποίους θαύμαζα βλέποντας τους είτε στο θέατρο είτε στην τηλεόραση. Όσον αφορά για ίνδαλμα, δεν θα το έλεγα έτσι. Ήταν και είναι όλοι τους τόσο διαφορετικοί και μοναδικοί, πού δεν θα ήθελα να αναφέρω κάποιον. 

  • Αναφέρετε κάποιες από τις αγαπημένες σας δουλειές και γιατί τις ξεχωρίζετε.

 Έχω κάνει διάφορες δουλειές στο παρελθόν παίρνοντας από την κάθε μια ξεχωριστά κάτι διαφορετικό πού με βοηθάει για την επόμενη, όμως αυτές που ξεχωρίζω είναι η πρώτη μου παράσταση «Γιάφκα Πορτοκάλι» η οποία ήταν στο θέατρο Μινώα με τον Χάρρυ Κλυν όπου ήταν τιμή μου να βρεθώ στο ίδιο σανίδι με αυτόν τον άνθρωπο και η δεύτερη ήταν η συμμετοχή μου στο καστ της σειράς «ALMA LIBRE» που προβαλλόταν στο MEGA CHANNEL.

  • Χαρακτηρίστε τον εαυτό σας με 5 λέξεις. 

Μόνο πέντε; Με περιορίζεις, χαχαχα!!! αστειεύομαι φυσικά, νομίζω πως καλό θα ήταν να ρωτήσεις τους γύρω μου γι’ αυτό. 

  • Με τι ασχολείστε αυτήν την περίοδο; Γνωρίζουμε ότι εκτός από ηθοποιός, είστε και θεατρικός συγγραφέας. 

Δεν μου αρέσουν οι ταμπέλες γι’ αυτό δεν θα θεωρούσα τον εαυτό μου θεατρικό συγγραφέα. Έχω γράψει κάποια κείμενα που έχουν μεταφερθεί στο θεατρικό σανίδι και στα οποία τυχαίνει να έχω παίξει και ως ρόλος. Αυτήν την περίοδο παίζω στην παράσταση «ΜΑΝΤΕΨΕ» σε σκηνοθεσία Μαριάννας Κοντούλη στο θέατρο Άλμα κάθε Τετάρτη στις 20:30 και Πέμπτη στις 21:00 με τους: Γωγώ Βογάσαρη, Αποστόλη Κομποθέκρα, Πέτρο Τσιμπούρη, Χαριτωμένη Γκουράσα, Αχιλλέα Στέλιο και Αλεξάνδρα Χαραλαμπίδου. Μια μαύρη κωμωδία που αποτελείται από έξι ένοικους μιας πολυκατοικίας και ένα πτώμα το οποίο όλοι γνωρίζουν αλλά κανείς δεν το ξέρει…πως γίνεται αυτό; μάντεψε!! 

  • Τα σχέδιά σας για το μέλλον.

Έχω κάποια σχέδια για το μέλλον, τα οποία θα τα δείτε εν καιρώ. Για την ώρα μου αρέσει να ζω στο παρόν και να επικεντρώνομαι σε αυτό που κάνω τώρα. 

  • Τι θα θέλατε να ευχηθείτε στον εαυτό σας.

Τι θα ήθελα να ευχηθώ στον εαυτό μου χμμ… να έχω δίπλα μου ανθρώπους αληθινούς που να μπορώ να μοιράζομε τις σκέψεις και τα όνειρα μου.


Από την Κανέλλα Βόλλαρη

O Νίκος Αγγελόπουλος, μας συστήνεται…
«Δεν ξεχνώ για κανένα λόγο» 

Γεννήθηκα και μεγάλωσα στην Αθήνα. Από μικρός κόλλησα με την μουσική και η συλλογή κασετών κ CD έγινε η καθημερινή ασχολία μου.

Οι ήρωες μου είχαν πάντα μουσικά όργανα κρεμασμένα πάνω τους. (Κλισέ…)

Κάποια στιγμή χαζεύοντας τα τεύχη του αγαπημένου μου περιοδικού, απογοητευμένος από τις φωτογραφίες που έβλεπα, αποφάσισα να πιάσω τη φωτογραφική μηχανή στα χέρια μου και να απαθανατίζω ότι μου έλειπε  από τις φωτογραφίες των ηρώων μου. Οι συναυλίες και το να κάνω συλλογή με όλες τους τις κυκλοφορίες, να τους ακολουθώ και να φωτογραφίζω, έγινε μονόδρομος.

Τις ελεύθερες ώρες μου ζωγραφίζω και παίζω κιθάρα (λέμε τώρα…..)

Είμαι Ηλεκτρολόγος Εγκαταστάσεων, μια δουλειά με την οποία ασχολήθηκα λίγο στην αρχή της αποφοίτησής μου το 1999, αλλά δεν ασχολήθηκα ξανά ποτέ.  

Από το 2000 έως κ το 2002 υπηρέτησα στην ΕΛ.ΔΥ.ΚΟ το οποίο ήταν απίστευτη εμπειρία.

….και απαντάει στις ερωτήσεις των «ΠΟΡΤΡΑΙΤΩΝ»….

  • Πως ξεκινήσατε, από ποια ηλικία είχατε αποφασίσει ότι θα ακολουθήσετε τον δρόμο της φωτογραφίας; 

Άργησα πολύ να το αποφασίσω. Το 2010, ένα από τα πολύ αγαπημένα μου συγκροτήματα (ACCEPT) το οποίο επανασυνδέθηκε εκείνη την χρονιά μετά από μια 10ετια σχεδόν κ έβγαλε ένα απίστευτο δίσκο  (BLOOD OF THE NATIONS) και ο οποίος κατάφερε να τους φέρει κ στην Ελλάδα, ήταν η αφορμή. Δεν γινόταν να μην πάω και να μην στηρίξω την καινούργια προσπάθεια τους.

Φυσικά δεν είχα φωτογραφική μηχανή οπότε ζήτησα από τον κολλητό την δική του και έτσι έβγαλα τις πρώτες μου εκείνο το βράδυ. Από κει και μετά το χάος ….σε κάθε συναυλία με την μηχανή ανά χείρας.

Το 2015 κατάφερα να πάρω την δικιά μου φωτογραφική μηχανή και η συναυλία που είδα εκείνο το βράδυ (ΜΑΡΙΑ ΠΑΠΑΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΥ) με έκανε να πω ότι όντως αυτό θέλω να κάνω από εδώ και πέρα.

  • Υπήρξε κάποιος άνθρωπος του χώρου που θαυμάζατε ή ήταν το ίνδαλμά σας;
  • Ο κατάλογος είναι αμέτρητος αλλά θα μείνω στο τελευταίο λάφυρο…
  • Μαρία Παπαγεωργίου μόνο παντού και πάντα!!!!!
  • Δεν υπάρχει μέρα που να μην ασχοληθώ μαζί της τα τελευταία 4-5 χρόνια.
  • Είναι ο λόγος για να σηκωθώ το πρωί και να ξεκινήσει η μέρα μου.
  • Είναι ο λόγος για να την παλέψω γενικά.
  • Είναι ο λόγος να πάω για να “αδειάσω” στις συναυλίες της.
  • Είναι ο λόγος που το κόκκινο έγινε και το δικό μου αγαπημένο χρώμα.
  • Το βασικότερο είναι να την δω από κοντά και να μου ρίξει εκείνο το ρουφηχτό φιλί που δίνει και σε κάνει να την αγαπάς ακόμα περισσότερο.
  • Αναφέρετε κάποιες από τις αγαπημένες σας δουλειές και γιατί τις ξεχωρίζετε

AVATARIUM 2016 στο ΑΝ Club, από τις καλύτερες συναυλίες μου και ήταν η πρώτη φορά που κάποιος ανέβασε στην επίσημη σελίδα του δουλειά μου, οπότε έχει ξεχωριστή θέση στην καρδιά μου. THUNDER 2018, επίσης σε ένα από τα καλύτερα live της ζωής μου…η αναμονή 27 χρόνων, δεν πήγε χαμένη. Το υλικό που «τράβηξα», ήταν απίστευτο!!! Δε θα μπορούσα να μην αναφέρω το φωτογραφικό μου υλικό από την περσινή χρονιά που αφορά στη συνεργασία του Χρήστου Θηβαίου με την Μαρία Παπαγεωργίου, οι οποίοι με τίμησαν χρησιμοποιώντας δικές μου φωτογραφίες στην προώθηση της εν λόγω συνεργασίας τους.

  • Χαρακτηρίστε τον εαυτό σας με 5 λέξεις

Ρώτησα ένα άτομο που υπεραγαπώ 5 λέξεις για μένα και μου είπε… «ΣΕ ΕΙΔΑ ΣΤΟΝ ΥΠΝΟ ΜΟΥ»…αυτές είναι λοιπόν οι 5.

  • Με τι ασχολείστε αυτήν την περίοδο, που μπορεί να σας βρει κάποιος.

Αυτή την περίοδο ασχολούμαι με το πώς θα εξελίξω γενικώς την φωτογραφία και το που θα με βρει κάποιος είναι εύκολο σε οποιοδήποτε live της Μαρίας Παπαγεωργίου. Είμαι αυτός που την κυνηγάει με την φωτογραφική μηχανή.

  • Τα σχέδιά σας για το μέλλον

Τα σχέδια είναι πάντα ιδία κάθε χρονιά…

Να ακούσω όσο πιο πολλή μουσική μπορώ, παλιά ή καινούργια.

Να πάω σε όσες ποιο πολλές συναυλίες μπορώ.

Να βγάλω όσο καλύτερες φωτογραφίες γίνεται

  • Τι θα θέλατε να ευχηθείτε στον εαυτό σας

Κουράγιο θα ήθελα να του ευχηθώ γιατί αυτή την περίοδο το χρειάζομαι πραγματικά

Sahar Zand-a journalist who travels the world-her stories make history

Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis

(IG @iamvassiliosvitsilogiannis)

Sahar Zand is a young multi-award-winning reporter and documentary-maker who specialises in finding and telling unique stories that often fall between the cracks of the mainstream media. Fascinated by people, cultural change, and current affairs, Sahar’s solid journalistic instincts complement a natural flair for absorbing complex information, and presenting it in a refreshingly engaging and concise manner.

Sahar has worked across the BBC, Channel 4, and a range of other international broadcasters, and her hard-hitting journalism for Television, Radio, Digital and Text has taken her to far corners of the world. Young girls force-fed for marriage in Mauritania, murder of social media stars in Iraq, Afghanistan’s only secure psychiatric unit, Me Too in Bollywood, living with the dead in Indonesia, mothers in US jails, government’s crackdown on the press in Nicaragua, migrant ghettos in Denmark and horsewomen of Fantasia in Morocco are amongst some of Sahar’s recent projects.

Born in Iran, Sahar became a refugee at a young age, being smuggled across the world and living in various refugee camps. Finally, settling in the UK at the age of 14 with her mother and younger sister, she struggled with poverty living in council flats in Glasgow, Peterborough and London. She now chooses to pursue stories that speak to under-served audiences, uncovering stories from around the world that would otherwise remain unreported.

Sahar’s reputation as a disruptive, creative and distinguished journalist of the digital age has given her a prominence that regularly sees her giving talks about journalism, storytelling and film-making at festivals and universities around the world. Sahar is also a guest lecturer at a number of universities including the University of West London and the London School of Communication.

  • Website            
  • Insta                           @Saharzand5
  • Twitter                       @SaharZand
  • Facebook          
  • Did you face any racism?

The most recent and perhaps obvious case was whilst I was filming a documentary for the BBC called  ‘Denmark’s Migrant Ghettos’. I had travelled to Copenhagen to witness the country’s election, and  explore how immigration was shaping the campaign debate. For this documentary, I questioned the country’s politicians and migrants about some controversial government policies and the rise of Alt-right. 

One of the most controversial people I met there was Rasmus Paludan, a far-right politician who says all Muslims should be deported back to their “shithole countries”. I met him as he and his followers were burning several copies of the Quran next to the Copenhagen’s Muslim community, who were gathered to break their fast during Ramadan. 

Before I started to interview him, he pointed to my dark hair and name, asking me where I’m from. I said that I was a British citizen but born in Iran. From then on, every difficult question I asked him, he attacked me and my background, saying that I should be relocated to my “shithole country” of Iran because as a “Muslim” – which I told him I was not – I clearly don’t understand the basics of democracy and freedom of speech. The saying that “give an idiot a rope and he’ll hang himself,” was certainly true here, as my only intention was to show his true colours in my documentary.  

The challenges that I was brought up with, taught me from an early age not to concern myself too much with the things that I have little or no control over. Instead, I’ve been conditioned to just do my best with what I have, and can somewhat control.

My mother has always told me: “If you can’t get in through the front door, try the back door. If that fails, try the window. If that also fails, try the chimney.” This is exactly what I’ve done all my life, and  if some of the challenges, obstacles and even failures that I faced  along the way were a result of racism, I didn’t waste time and energy fretting over them. Instead, I remained persistent in pursuit of my goals, and tried other avenues or approaches when things didn’t work out.

As a result, my success can only be a middle finger to all those who tried to be an obstacle for whatever reason, including racism. 

Having said this, it’s important for me to also point out, I am one of the lucky ones never to have had any drastic experiences, and as we see on the news all too often, unfortunately, racism is still very real and can have devastating consequences; for its victims, and society at large. 

  • Coming to Europe, and settling down in UK, how difficult was it to adjust to another reality?

Escaping my parents’ political persecution, I fled Iran a few months after my 12th birthday, along with my mother and 4-year-old sister. I remember looking down from the plane window, watching as my city, my birth place, got smaller and smaller until it disappeared forever beneath the clouds. 

The plane landed in Denmark; the destination chosen by the smuggler who had issued our fake visas. We were put in a car, and as I looked out at the unfamiliar landscape, I was fixated by the sky; it comforted me that at least it was the same colour as it had always been. We were dropped off at an enclosure with tall brick walls covered with barbed wire. I looked at the other residents thinking they were zombies, staring at us with dead eyes. “Surely this is a prison” I recall thinking, but I was wrong. This was our first home outside of Iran.

Big canteens, confusion, food sanctions, fear, medical checks, clothes donations, my mum, crying. At some point I was put on a bus, leaving the temporary refugee camp for a permanent one. 

I was scared of every single person there: the Iraqi guy with the huge scar from his forehead to his chin; the Syrian with one eye; the Somalian woman whose face was covered under a burka; the bruised Eastern European lady who said she’d run away from her abusive husband; the young Palestinian who claimed to be a former terrorist; the big fat Turkish man with a huge moustache who never seemed to go anywhere without his shisha. All of them, every single one, terrified me.

Whenever the camp’s bus would take us on our fortnightly shopping trip to the nearest supermarket about a two-hour drive away, the locals would look at us the way I had looked at the residents on my first day at the camp; we scared them. I felt myself a burden, unwanted. And I was beginning to accept it, this new identity. My identity as a refugee.

Then Jeff showed up. Jeff was an old Danish man who started coming in to visit us with a camera. He didn’t understand me and I didn’t I understand him – but he saw us. He wanted to make a film featuring us the refugee kids, and hearing this was a turning point for me. A thought lodged itself in my mind: I didn’t have to be invisible. I’d go to bed dreaming about being on TV one day, and showing the world what I’ve been through. A dream of speaking, and being heard.

Initially it was logistics, boredom, and limited space which forced the other refugees and me to sit down and actually listen to one another. Our neighbours were from diverse backgrounds, ages, races, colours, and beliefs, and when you live in a close-knit community, your survival depends on communication. With all of us desperate to find a way to communicate, we developed a new language we called “Campie” – a mixture of Arabic, Farsi, Danish, English, and drawings.

When I started listening to the other asylum seeker residents, I began to find myself mesmerised by their journeys and stories. We may have been put away by the authorities, homeless, a burden, unwanted and invisible to the society in which we lived, but we saw and heard each other. Telling our stories made us feel like we mattered. I made detailed notes in my diary during these years in the refugee camps, so that one day I could tell the world about it. Those who had once scared me became my family; our bond made the hardship of our lives easier to bear.

When I found out that the man with the huge scar on his face had been murdered, I cried harder than I had when I learnt my granddad in Tehran had passed away.

But this new family, this new world, wasn’t to last. Every morning with my mum I’d go to the camp’s office to look for our names on the list announcing those whose asylum application had been either accepted or rejected. One morning, our time was up. We hadn’t been granted permission to stay and had to pack our bags. 

We had to start all over again. From scratch. We were exhausted. 

The next few months were hard. Hiding from border police, being smuggled from border to border, sleeping rough on the pavements of Europe, shaking from the cold, trying not to think about food because we hadn’t eaten for so long. We had learnt by this point to live life one day at a time, and our experience at the refugee camp had taught us to make the most of the little we did have.

After a few months like this, I was once again on a plane, bound for the UK. There, we were eventually granted citizenship. We were in a home that was ours and a country we felt we belonged in. 

This wasn’t the end of my story of course. My mother, sister and I lived on the poverty line around different cities in the UK, trying to learn English, with the emotional trauma of what we’d been through weighing heavy on us all. But the determination and self-reliance that had grown in me from my childhood experiences have built me into the journalist I am now.

I recently made Me, The Refugee for the BBC World Service, telling my own story for the first time. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever made, even after all these years, even after reporting from some of the world’s most hostile environments like Afghanistan, Iraq, Mauritania, Nicaragua and Syria.

That I now travel the world trying my best to give a voice to the voiceless by telling their stories is all due to the power I found as a child when one man came to my refugee camp and listened to me, and I in turn learnt to listen to others. I want the world to listen to the voices of people with different stories to us, and being given a platform like the BBC and Channel 4 to tell them is so important to creating a compassionate world.

  • Studying Architecture at the University of Kent is the opposite direction of journalism. What was that bug that was eating you up and turned you towards to journalism?

At 18 years old, I wasn’t bothered by much but being a normal teenager: parties, having fun, and of course, boys. I didn’t even know what Architecture was, until a bored and unenthusiastic career-advisor at my college suggested, based on the questionnaire I had filled out and my A-levels qualifications, that I should study Architecture at university. So, I went ahead with her advice and enrolled to study a topic that had never really interested me. 

Whilst still a student and during the summer break, I was “discovered” by the London-based Iranian Channel Manoto TV as a TV presenter. When I was on camera, I felt alive; I loved having a voice, a platform. At 20 years old, this was the beginning of my career in journalism. 

All this, however, came to a grinding halt when I lost my job at the channel a few months later, as I struggled to juggle my studies and the demands of the job. I was devastated, but I wasn’t going to give up on my newly-found passion. Although I stayed at university and finished my degree in Interior Architecture and Design, I taught myself how to film, edit, produce, write and all the other skills needed to get me working in the media. 

After university, I had to really start at the bottom of the ladder. I took whatever journalism job I could take; paid, or free. From runner, to researcher and guest producer, I did it all, for any channels or broadcaster that would take me. Slowly, and after a lot of persistence and hard work, I started writing articles for the BBC. This was followed by producing and reporting news packages, – often handling everything  from idea generation to filming, producing and editing – and then finally to making both radio and TV documentaries. 

How I got into journalism may seem like a coincidence, but looking back at my life, it seems like everything that ever happened to and around me was to prepare me for this career. 

  • What method do you use to analyse and interpret news and information received from various sources in order to be able to broadcast the information, or even go on the spot.

In the age of technology, we have a lot of information at our disposal, and people in the business of news want to spread it fast. In the race of not falling behind, accuracy can sometimes get jeopardised. Misinformation spread by journalists will be taken as facts, which can snowball and have serious consequences.

That’s why it’s very important to really fact check, and do thorough background research before publishing and broadcasting anything. This is up to the journalists and their teams. 

Different organisations have different criteria for fact checking. For example, the BBC expects any facts they broadcast or publish to have been verified by at least three reliable sources. On occasions when this is not possible, and we’re stating a fact or statistic, we have to be transparent and clearly mention who we’re quoting and where we got any piece of information from.   

Fake news is another thing to watch out for. The internet is awash with made-up news stories. It’s not a new problem, but the highly charged US election campaign forced people to pay attention. A while back I fronted a documentary for the BBC’s World Hacks called ‘The War On Fake News’ where I explored how different organisations are fighting back against what they see as a threat to democracy: the fake news epidemic. At the end, the conclusion was that it all essentially comes down to the education of the consumers, and for the public to be aware of the information they’re presented with.

  • What is the key to success when communicating with the public?


I became a journalist with the intention of using my platform to give a voice to those who don’t have one, and all I can do is to stay true to that goal. I do this by making content with my viewers in mind, respecting their time, intellect and interest. I really put myself in their shoes and try to make something that I would watch myself. I also take my audiences’ feedback seriously and often read their comments and suggestions on social media. 

  • How difficult is it for a woman to be in the media and especially covering unpleasant stories in dreadful conditions?

The experience of covering unpleasant and dreadful stories is the same for both men and women. What sets women apart is how we are treated by our colleagues and seniors in the office, the people on the shoots, and even the type of comments people leave on social media.

As a woman, I’ve always felt like I’ve had to work twice as hard as my male colleagues to prove myself in the office. On social media, I’m often subjected to the type of misogynistic trolling that my male colleagues never experience, like certain comments on my look, outfit, hair, body etc, and not my work or what I’m saying. And on the ground when on a shoot, there have been times when the men have ignored me and spoken to my male assistant, believing them to be someone in charge of me.  

Despite how women are sometimes looked upon in our industry, I feel that we are more than capable to do what men do, and even more. For example, being a woman has worked in my advantage many times in my line of work. In a recent documentary I made in Baghdad and Basra for the Unreported World programme on Channel 4, called ‘Iraq’s Social Media Martyrs’ where I investigated the murder of social media stars there, wearing a hijab helped me to blend it with the crowd, and therefore stay hidden from the spying eye of the violent militias. Furthermore, women and children often find it a lot easier and more comfortable to open up to another woman, especially when covering more sensitive topics like sexual assault. 

  • Is there a possibility a journalist to decide rapidly when his/her ethics are tested and cut to the chase?

I would never, ever abandon my basic principles, just to get a story done. As journalists, we have a lot of power, and with power comes great responsibility. This includes reporting on the truth no matter what, staying balanced and representing all sides of the argument, and of course, duty of care towards the people who take part in the documentaries. I would never, ever do anything that would put them in danger, or to jeopardise their position in any way. 

There have been occasions where I have had to abandon a story, because going any further with it would not meet my principles, even though I worked extremely hard for it and letting it go ended up costing me dearly.

For example, I recently went on a high-risk mission to Mauritania, where I went undercover to make a documentary about the small community of Christian converts, in a country where leaving Islam is punishable by death, after the government removed the three-day repenting period in case anyone gets caught. Once I got there, I realised that I cannot cover the story without running the risk of this community getting found out, which would put the lives of every single one of my characters in danger. So I decided not to broadcast the story.  

  • Have you ever thought of a brief hiatus in your career just to lay back, relax and reshape conditions differently?

Yes. Always. After every project, it’s important to take a pause, reflect, get feedback, learn from mistakes, identify strengths, and then take the next step accordingly. Especially for me, I have a lot of freedom regarding who I work for and on what stories, so it’s important to maintain focus on the direction in which I want to head. 

Furthermore, in my line of work, personal well-being and especially mental health can be affected severely, whilst at the same time being woefully neglected. I found this out after I returned from one of my trips to Afghanistan, where I was making a documentary called ‘Madness of War’. For the shoot, I spent weeks in the country’s only secure psychiatric unit where the most dangerous mental health patients were kept in dire conditions, some of them chained, and all highly sedated. It was during this trip where I was also in the same building where a suicide attack killed 12 people. It was only a few months after my return, when my editors at the BBC made me go see a therapist, that I was diagnosed by PTSD and depression. Only when I started my therapy did I really understand the importance of taking care of my mental health, and keeping it in check.

  • What do you think of social media?

The boom in technology has changed the way we consume and produce content. Over 4.33 billion people were active internet users as of July 2019; ( ) that’s over half the global population.

Nearly three quarters of the world receive their breaking news from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram, instead of traditional media. ( )

This is an extraordinary opportunity for journalism and news, and has led to a change of language in our content; not just in terms of vocabulary, but also in how we find and tell stories.

Content producers like myself are now increasingly trying to tap into the power of smartphones and social media. We’re now able to reach places and connect with people that may have been inaccessible in the past, allowing us to get a different perspective and a closer view on what’s happening, 

This network is much harder to control and censor. In oppressive nations like my native Iran, or in Nicaragua where I made a film about the government’s siege on the press, it didn’t matter that those with vested interests were trying to hide or manipulate the truth by controlling the media. Ordinary citizens were able to capture incidents and events on their smartphones, and share them amongst themselves and the rest of the world via social media. Without access to this rich pool of information and user-generated content – a lot of which was used in the film as archive – finding the story, or making of the film, may not have been possible.

Furthermore, the power-balance between content-producers and consumers seems to have shifted. With direct access to one another – enabled by social media – content-producers now have an unfiltered insight into consumer’s demands, sentiments and expectations, which will in turn shape our content.

The audiences have changed too. As soon as any content is available online, it’s accessible by far more people than ever before, and they can be anywhere in the world. This diverse audience is also more informed, alert and savvy, with an even greater demand for further information and analysis. 

With so much available at the consumers’ fingertips, the lifespan of a news story is much shorter than it used to be. A story can easily drown and get lost in the vast ocean of information constantly updating. It’s therefore arguably harder, yet more important than ever, for us content producers to hunt for exclusive stories, and present them in a way that stands out. It’s not merely enough for them to be accurate, relevant and timely, but they must also have a high impact, whilst being interesting and appealing to a wide range of audiences. 

The adage “the only constant is change” definitely applies to journalism. 

  • Your advice to a new reporter. 

I have never, not for  single moment, thought that I could single-handedly fix things that have been broken for such a long time. But if nobody knows about what’s going on, then nothing can change. That’s why our job as journalists is sacred. We have the platform to make the voice of others heard, to spread the truth, and therefore bring about real change. It’s therefore important to keep our reporting and content about the people and the subject we’re covering, and not making it about ourselves. We are merely a tool for the story to get told, not the story itself. If you’re after fame, fortune and validation, you’re entering the wrong industry. 

  • Your advice to empower women in countries where rights are not applied to.

On my travels around the world, and through the stories I have covered, whether in hostile and poorer places, or even the developed world, I often see that when people are having a tough time, the women are always up against it that bit more than the men. That’s why I often, but not exclusively, tend to focus on the experiences of women in my documentaries. 

I have been inspired, time and time again, by women who have been knocked down so hard that it’s difficult to believe they’ve gotten back up again; women who haven’t given up, and continue fighting despite all challenges. For example, the teenage girls I met in Afghanistan who were fighting the Taliban with music only all-female orchestra Or the Bollywood actresses going behind the camera in an attempt to get back control in the misogynistic film industry after the Me Too Movement. Even the women in Iran taking off their scarves in public as a part of the stealthy freedom movement.

These women are already strong, powerful and brave, with an extraordinary ability to endure injustice and pressure. One thing all these women have in common is that when they wanted change, they started with themselves, and that small step led to much bigger change. Looking at history, the biggest changes have always started with a single step, and I’ve been privileged to witness people taking these steps thanks to the documentaries I’ve made.

  • Your motto in life.

I have hundreds and which one I live by depends on the day and circumstance; today for example, and after answering your questions, it’s ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’


Από την Κανέλλα Βόλλαρη

Η Άννα Ασπασία Θεοδωράκη, μας συστήνεται…

Γεννήθηκα στο Παρίσι. Είμαι κόρη του Γιάννη Θεοδωράκη, ποιητή και δημοσιογράφου, αδερφό του Μίκη  και της Έλλης Κιούση Θεοδωράκη, συγγραφέα, δημοσιογράφο και ζωγράφο. Έτσι ήταν φυσικό και επόμενο να μπω κι εγώ στον κόσμο της Τέχνης και να πειραματιστώ χωρίς περιορισμούς.

Έχοντας ζήσει σε πολλές διαφορετικές πόλεις στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες, στην Ευρώπη και στην Πάρο, η ζωγραφική μου είναι έντονα επηρεασμένη από πολυπολιτισμικά ερεθίσματα ενώ η ψυχολογία της στιγμής κι η ορμή του αυθορμητισμού έχουν βρει την καλλιτεχνική τους ροή στον σουρεαλιστικό αυτοματισμό.

Αντισυμβατική, πρωτότυπη και τολμηρή στην σύλληψη των θεμάτων, φωτίζω κόσμους κρυμμένους μέσα στο φανερό και το αντίθετό του, με το υποσυνείδητο να περιγράφει την «πραγματική» εικόνα. 

Τα τελευταία χρόνια ζω και ζωγραφίζω στο atelier της στην Αθήνα, το Art Space «Plataion 56 Art» στον Κεραμεικό.

….και απαντάει στις ερωτήσεις των «ΠΟΡΤΡΑΙΤΩΝ»….

  • Πως ξεκινήσατε να ασχολείστε με την Τέχνη, από ποια ηλικία είχατε αποφασίσει ότι την θα ακολουθήσετε; 

Από μικρή ζωγραφίζω, ασχολήθηκα με σχέδιο μόδας και μακιγιάζ για την δουλειά μου για πολλά χρόνια αλλά παράλληλα ζωγράφιζα πάντα, ήταν μια ανάγκη μου που όμως δεν σκέφτηκα να την εκθέσω, αλλά περίπου πριν πέντε χρόνια, η Τέχνη και η ζωή αποφάσισαν να ασχοληθούν μαζί μου και άρχισα να εκθέτω τα έργα μου σε ομαδικές εκθέσεις, οι οποίες είχαν επιτυχία και ανταπόκριση από τον κόσμο, ειδικά στην Αμερική. Έτσι, αποφάσισα να ασχοληθώ μόνο με αυτό το οποίο και ήταν πραγματικά αυτό που πάντα με «γεμίζει» .

  • Υπήρξε κάποιος άνθρωπος που θαυμάζατε και ήταν το ίνδαλμά σας;

Πολλούς καλλιτέχνες θαυμάζω, αλλά κανείς δεν είναι ίνδαλμα μου, ίσως ο Νταλί κα ο Ιερώνυμος Μπος.

  • Αναφέρετε κάποιες από τις αγαπημένες σας δουλειές και γιατί τις ξεχωρίζετε.  

Δεν έχω αγαπημένες δουλειές και δεν μπορώ να τις ξεχωρίσω για κάτι, αφού για μένα, η κάθε μια συμβολίζει κάτι ιδιαίτερο, καλό ή κακό σε μια συγκεκριμένη στιγμή της ζωής μου.

  • Χαρακτηρίστε τον εαυτό σας με 5 λέξεις.

Λάτρης της ελευθερίας, ανυπόμονη, αγαπησιάρα, πεισματάρα, πιστή.

  • Με τι ασχολείστε αυτήν την περίοδο; 

Ασχολούμαι με τον καλλιτεχνικό μου χώρο στον Κεραμεικό, που βρήκα και έφτιαξα μόνη μου με ανακυκλώσιμα υλικά πριν από έναν χρόνο, ο οποίος εκτός από δικό μου στούντιο, είναι ένας χώρος ανοιχτός και διαθέσιμος για όλους τους καλλιτέχνες, ειδικά εναλλακτικούς που δεν μπορούν ή δεν θέλουν να εισχωρήσουν σε γκαλερί. Εδώ, τους δίνεται η ευκαιρία να εκθέσουν τις δημιουργίες τους και να κάνουν τις πρώτες τους ατομικές εκθέσεις που είναι ίσως ένα από τα πιο σημαντικά βήματα για έναν καλλιτέχνη.

Χαίρομαι πολύ διότι αυτός ο χώρος εξελίσσεται μέρα με τη μέρα και μέσα απ’ αυτόν, δίνονται ευκαιρίες στην Τέχνη και τους πιστούς  της, συχνά παραμελημένους  και σούπερ ταλαντούχους υπηρέτες της. Είναι πολύ σημαντικό, διότι οι καλλιτέχνες δεν έχουμε καμία συμπαράσταση από κανέναν φορέα ή χορηγό και επίσης, το αποτέλεσμα αυτής της κίνησης από μεριάς μου είναι για μένα την ίδια γοητευτικό και συνάμα ουσιώδες. 

  • Τα σχέδιά σας για το μέλλον.

Δεν κάνω συχνά μελλοντικά σχέδια, με αφορά το παρόν και το παρόν είναι στην Πλαταιών 56, όπου ελπίζω να είναι και το μέλλον!

  • Τι θα θέλατε να ευχηθείτε στον εαυτό σας;

Εύχομαι να μπορώ να είμαι δημιουργική, μέχρι την τελευταία μου στιγμή.


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