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Capturing The Essence of Place: A Photographer’s Journey

Photographer Marianna Asimakopoulou describes her film photography and how she uniquely captures a sense of place.

Marianna Asimakopoulou
Credit: Marianna Asimakopoulou

When viewing photographs, we remember the ones that feel personal. Beautiful landscapes and unique street scenes often evoke a longing to experience that place in that particular moment. So, how do photographers create this feeling? Marianna Asimakopoulou seeks to answer this question through her intriguing black-and-white photography. 

Marianna discovered her love of photography when she was very young, and her father greatly influenced her work. 

“There is a picture of me somewhere at age 4 or 5 with my dad’s light meter in my hand. It is impossible for me to talk about photography without mentioning my dad; being a photographer himself, he would always let me borrow his cameras and ultimately became one of my biggest inspirations.”Marianna Asimakopoulou

Credit: Marianna Asimakopoulou

As Marianna grew, her love of photography developed, and she enjoyed shooting images as she traveled with her family. She has had the opportunity to travel and take photos in many places, including the UK, Portugal, Turkey, Puerto Rico, and Panama. She describes her experiences:

“My favorite part about this kind of photography is learning about how other people live in different places. I’ve made stronger connections to people while traveling halfway across the world than with people I grew up with, and I’ve come to recognize more things about myself in the least familiar places.”

Credit: Marianna Asimakopoulou

Her travels continued through college, but she felt her portraits and landscape images did not capture the depth she had hoped to create. Marianna explains:

“For some time, all I would do was take these snapshots of people, mostly in foreign countries, going about their lives, without really knowing anything about them and without having anything specificly I wanted to capture. I was lacking a story to weave together all these images I had. Freshman and sophomore year of college, I started making more and more landscape images, partly because I started liking the quietness of no people in a frame, and partly because I was frustrated that I just could not be a street photographer in the traditional sense. I wanted to capture the essence of a place as best as I could, so I could remember what it felt like to be there.”

Credit: Marianna Asimakopoulou

However, after all she has seen, Marianna decided she loves photographing home the most.

“I love taking photographs of my family. For a very long time, I would almost never shoot when at home, probably because I had wanted to leave home for so long. However, once I did leave and then came back, I started seeing a lot more possibilities for honest images in the faces of the people closest to me. My sisters are my favorite people to photograph because I know they’ll never lie to my camera. I think they barely notice that there is a camera there in the first place, and even if they do, they are still not interested in being captured in a certain way.”Marianna Asimakopoulou

Credit: Marianna Asimakopoulou

Marianna usually shoots in black and white because she believes it is less distracting than color. She also prefers to shoot using film because she wants to feel more involved in the process of its development. These artistic choices cause her work to feel more intimate and allow her to use her work to tell stories in more profound ways.

Credit: Marianna Asimakopoulou

Marianna hopes her work will “inspire people to be more present and look for that human connection even in the most unlikely faces and places.” Since, in the end, our relationships with others are most important in life. As Marianna beautifully concludes:

“I still love taking landscape photos of different places I visit, but I think now more than ever, I recognize that a place without its people is only half the story.”

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Written By

M.A. Beckley is a reader, writer, and traveler - an expat with a lot of opinions. She is interested in anything relating to culture such as music, art, and history. She has taught English for eight years and is earning an MA in British Literature and Professional Writing.

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