Opposite or Next to?

An interview of the Visit Greece team with the photographers Dimitris, Petros and Konstantinos Sofikitis regarding the exhibition “Kerkini, Opposite or Next to” that was held at the Olympic Gallery in Marousi from April 13  to May 13, 2022.

1) What inspired you in order to conduct this exhibition? Is there more than meets the eye? Why did you choose the title “Opposite or Next to” for the exhibition?

It was an idea we had been discussing over the years. Our father first began with the entity “Onirama” (Dreaming) that started in the winter of 1999 and was completed in the winter of 2000. In the following years we revisited Kerkini often and for different reasons such for the filming of “The Weeping Meadow”, a film by Theo Angelopoulos, during which we found ourselves behind the camera on many occasions. In January 2019 we were informed by the wonderful people from the area that the lake had frozen over and the surrounding area had been covered in snow, a phenomenon which hadn’t occurred in over 15 to 20 years. This was the reason for yet another visit and the one which prompted myself and my brother Kostantinos to create an entity of our own. Each of us inspired from the experience of spending time at lake Kerkini. After seeing the lake take on such a different form, we were inspired to explore our own untrodden creative journeys.

In my entity with the balloon (Petros), the reflection shows a traveler who is called upon a never-ending journey with many obstacles and yet he always finds a way to overcome them and keep on going. His companion is a red balloon that represents his childhood memories. A companion who calls upon him to return to that age of innocence, when everything was calmer and simpler, so that he is able to choose his next steps wisely and continue on his journey despite the challenges obstacles.

In Constantino’s entity with the aerial images, one could say they mirror the complexity of people’s inner worlds. The complexity of the brain’s neurons, the endless branches of the nervous system, a woman’s womb, and more. One could suggest his photographs reflect his own internal disposition during that period but also the chaotic psyche of the human brain as seen through the eyes of the artist.For our father, as he himself has suggested, ‘Onirama’ ‘Dreaming’ is ‘a love affair and a personal journey to discover the ultimate journey. A lonely journey for the most part. Codes of communication become part of the protagonist’s past, perhaps they were never needed in the first place. They meet and travel whilst dreaming. Together and alone, perhaps they will cross paths at some point…’

‘Opposite or Next to’ is a poetic title suggested to us by proofreader Christina Kiparissa who studied and examined each photographic entity and our relationship as father and sons, as brothers, as children,as companions on the journey of life, of our artistic pursuits and how these have changed, evolved and taken shape over the years.

2) What prompted you to choose lake Kerkini and what inspired you to create this unique video? What does lake Kerkini mean to each of you?

We would say our long-standing relationship with the specific location and its people. A place that transforms with every visit giving us the joy of discovery each and every time. 

The video is a result of all the times we visited the lake. The footage was so beautiful and abundant that we had to make good use of it somehow!

A journey for Petros, a discovery for Constantinos and a memory for Dimitris.

Seeing the exhibition, the spectator can assume that each one of you has his own unique style and particular direction. If you had to characterize in a few words that direction, what would it be and why?

There is a common ground found in all three entities and that is an inner dialogue that occurs in every one of us. The result of which is conveyed onto the photographic paper.

4) Why would you choose to photograph Greece rather than another country?

Greece is our point of reference. Having travelled all over the world we realized Greece’s diversity has nothing to be jealous of from any other place on earth. Wherever we find ourselves we always have a desire to return home. For us the word home is not confined to a specific village or city, but to the entire terrain of Greece. However, we never say no to a new challenge and the opportunity to discover something new. Travelling should be one’s purpose as it is a way to break free from many barriers and stereotypes.

5) Which place would you next like to photograph in Greece?

Dimitris: anywhere

Petros: Ikaria, definitely

Konstantinos: It is already happening on all the inhabited islands of the Aegean!

6) What would you advise other photographers who would like to photograph Greece?  

Wherever they wish to photograph, they must give time to discovering the place for themselves – preferably on foot.