Interview with Vassilis Pitoulis
Surely one doesn't go overboard when one says that your photography is quite erotically charged?
As far as nudity is concerned, societies have gone through different phases in the context of their respective eras. While nudity, in my opinion, conveys freedom of expression and beauty, in some societies it has been and is being restricted - or is even about to be restricted again or abruptly given negative connotations in a kind of morally charged rollback.
Either way, I think the sense of elegance and fashion in relation to nudity has been lost in some ways today. Whether you consider it pornography, erotica, or art, what was once accepted by society as a depiction of nudity can essentially, and especially today, be easily misinterpreted or mislabeled. The depiction of nudity has been portrayed by historians, sculptors, artists, etc. as an expression of the beauty and purity of a body. Nudity has been a source of inspiration for centuries and has been photographed since the dawn of photography. Everyone has their own opinion when they look at a photograph. Reactions are deeply rooted in the subjective experiences of the viewer. I believe that women in every shape and form are strong and beautiful individuals. In my opinion and that of many others, their very existence gives them an air of eroticism. With my photos, I am not trying to convey anything in particular. I have ideas and share them, and I like my models to express themselves as freely as possible during a photo shoot while I capture them at the peak of the action.
Do the women do what you want in front of the camera, or do you photograph what they want to portray?
As I mentioned earlier, part of my approach is to engage them in a kind of creative dialogue. I sketch out a scenario in my head in advance - a script of sorts. I then spend a lot of the actual session describing it to them, but then I let them act and express themselves in their own way. I spend more time explaining these scenarios than actually taking the photos. Sometimes I only take 5 or 10 photos in a session, and that's enough.
The women in your photos are portrayed elegantly, but sometimes a little tongue-in-cheek. How do you see women yourself?
For me, elegance is the most important thing about a woman. There is a fine line between elegance and its antonym. This line is drawn differently in people's minds. In my head, I play with surrealism when I think up scenarios. I might photograph a woman in everyday situations with underlying metaphorical assumptions. This can sometimes be ironic, but I never mean to be disrespectful to women or others. On the contrary, I believe that women are the driving force of the world; without them we would not achieve anything.
You photograph mainly in black and white. And why?
Black and white allows you to focus more on the actual message of a photograph without distracting the viewer. I see life in black and white.
How did you get into photography? What was the trigger?
Photography was my passion for many years. But life and the responsibilities that came with it did not allow me to devote all my time to photography. After a life-threatening health issue, I decided to quit my job and devote all my time to fashion/nude photography. It has now completely taken over my life and I have never been so happy.