PSC student Stavros Messinis was recently awarded the Ilford CCP Salon Best Photobook Design Award for his title "Dream State".
We recently caught up with Stavros to ask him about his recent success and his love of creating photobooks.
Congratulations Stavros. You must be very pleased with the outcome.
How did “Dream State “come about?
Thank you. Yes, the award was a wonderful surprise which I did not expect. I was just happy to present my work at such a great photography exhibition.
The "Dream State" started as a personal style development project at PSC. Working on this project, doing research, shooting, editing and presenting photos in the class and with the feedback I was getting, I believe I finally found a new way to express myself poetically through photography. This project is inspired by Surrealism, like my poetry. So, working on this project was an exciting experience.
Will it be a small or large print run, and can we find it online or in store?
This is a limited collector's edition of 50 numbered and signed copies and at this stage is only availableonline from my website: messinis-art.com
Why did you decide on creating a photo book rather than perhaps an exhibition?
I already present my work in exhibitions and with this project I wanted to try something different which I would enjoy doing. I love books and years ago I founded and operated a small book publishing company in Melbourne.
Master photographer, Martin Parr, said that the photo book "gives you an opportunity to live with the work and enjoy it, to take it in and soak it up. You wouldn’t get that with an exhibition or an online show, so it creates a relationship. It’s a tactile thing as well, so it’s a very appealing way of delivering a body of work."
I totally agree with that statement. I love the shape of the books, the smell of the ink and the paper, you can hold it, touch it, study it as much as you want... This is why I decided to go ahead with the photo book.
Are you planning on doing more photo books?
Certainly. I have already published two photo books, but they were more like exhibition catalogues. The first is out of print. The second photo book compliments the 4th edition of my poetic composition "First Spring” and includes two books packaged together. It will be officially launched next year at the Writer's Festival which is organised by the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture.
The "Dream State" though, is totally different. It is a visual poetic composition and the photos are intended as visual poems. The book has no page numbers, no photo titles, no explanations... I deliberately designed it in this manner – to allow the reader to interpret the photos and compositions in their own way.
Did you get a lot of assistance in your course from your tutors when creating “Dream State”?
Absolutely! It was as a result of the advice, support, encouragement and feedback of my tutors Neil Stanyer and Mark Harper and my exceptional classmates that I was able to produce the final product. I do not think that this publication would have been possible without their assistance.
How did you get into photography in the first place?
As a journalist and designer, I became interested in photography. I spent a lot of time in my small darkroom in Athens, Greece, developing films and processing photos. Later I focused more on using digital cameras and software. Currently, I still use film or try to recreate its aesthetics in my digital photography.
Where do you see your photography heading in the future?
I am really happy that I enrolled at PSC. Not only I was able to improve my photography skills but also to study with some very talented photographers and be inspired by their work.
I enjoy writing poetry and I consider photography as an alternative, universal, language in expressing myself. In conjunction with my studies I believe I will gain the knowledge and the experience to develop an impressive body of work.
My aim is to participate in exhibitions and photography festivals in Australia and overseas.
Read more about Stavros Messinis and how he combines all his passions into a unique practice.
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See more of Stavros' work on IG @messinis_art | Twitter @messinis_art | Web messinis-art.com