Their photos of Zurich go around the world on social media. Who are these photographers? What drives them? In our series, we turn the camera around. Today's focus is on Tom Karaiskos, who picks up his camera to capture lights, colours and moments, especially when travelling.
Tom, when did you start taking photographs?
I have had a passion for photography for a very long time. In the past, however, I always took pictures everywhere, especially with my smartphone. In 2015 and 2016, I started to take a more serious look at the subject and tried to consciously take good pictures on holiday. Then the death of my father in 2019 was decisive. We had difficulties finding a good picture of him for the funeral service. And that definitely made me decide to start taking pictures.
'Especially when I travel, the camera is my faithful companion.'
What happened next?
I got more and more involved and the passion picked up speed. Since then, the camera has been my faithful companion, especially when travelling.
Is photography just a hobby for you? Or do you also earn money with it?
It is mainly a hobby. Nevertheless, there are some projects in the pipeline. For example, some time ago I was on the Lofoten Islands in Norway with two photographer friends. We have now compiled the impressions, pictures and stories from this trip in a book. The first small series is now ready for printing and I hope that we will be able to sell it some day.
Are there any other books planned?
Indeed. Next year - Corona permitting - we're going to Iceland. Again, we mainly want to show our pictures, but also tell more stories, share more tips and tricks for a trip to Iceland. Nevertheless, photography as such will always remain my hobby. I can't yet imagine that one day I will be able or want to live only from my pictures. For me, photography is simply the perfect balance to my job. I can completely switch off when I'm taking pictures.
'There, I deliberately travel from place to place, from island to island for good pictures.'
What are your favourite subjects?
I mainly do nature and landscape photography. Cities and buildings tend to get in front of my lens when I'm travelling. In general, I have to say that I pick up the camera less often here in Switzerland than when I'm travelling abroad. For example, I go to my home country Greece once a year. There I deliberately travel from place to place, from island to island, for good pictures. Here in Switzerland, unfortunately, I often don't have the time. On holiday or especially on photo trips, on the other hand, I have enough of it and can wait an hour or two for the perfect light for the perfect picture, for example. Also as far as the equipment is concerned.
What do you mean?
When I go on a photo trip once a year - for example to the Lofoten Islands - I naturally take all the equipment with me, from the tripod to the filters to the drone. On these trips, the images are clearly the focus for me.
You mentioned the drone. How often do you use it for pictures?
Still too rarely, I must confess. But it's definitely something I want to tackle more in the future. To do that, I want to get my drone licence. Without it, it will be difficult in the future in some countries, including my home country Greece. But yes: I want to take more drone pictures in the future.
What is it about photography that attracts you?
For me, the focus is on the experience. What do I feel, sense, taste in this moment? For me, it is also very important in my pictures that there are rather few people. I prefer structures, landscapes. What inspires me above all are lights and colours. Playing with them - with sunsets or reflections - is incredibly fun for me.
'Of course, I've also messed up a lot of pictures because I forgot some detail.'
You said that you mainly take photos when you travel. Don't you get out of practice if you don't hold the camera in your hand every day?
Yes and no. When you finally work with the camera again after some time, the experience is much more conscious. I then have to deal with the different techniques again and again and learn an extreme amount in the process. Of course, I've certainly messed up a lot of pictures because I forgot some detail. I've stood in freezing Norway, had everything set and waited for the perfect light. Then you pull the trigger, look at the screen and think: "Shit, why didn't that work out as expected?" It happens. Adjust again, move on.
Name: Tom Karaiskos
Lives in: Aesch ZH
Photographer since: 2019
Camera: Sony a7III
Lens: Sony 16-35mm / f4, Sony 70-200mm / f4, Sigma 24-70mm / f2.8
Photo by Peter Hollos
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